A customer at Printed Page today saw a Perry Mason mystery, “The Case of Too Many Murders,” and asked aloud what constituted “too many murders.” We agreed that even one is too many unless you’re talking about the people who call about our cars’ extended warranties.
A young woman who collects old books settled on a 19th century book on manners and another on child care. She said what appeals to her is finding writing in old books and was eager to share stories of things she’d found. Book people are bound by a universal need to talk about their finds. It’s one of the pleasures of bookselling.
A Stephen King fan saw a copy of “The Shining” and asked if that was the one about the pet cemetery. No, I answered authoritatively, that one was “Pet Semetary.”
Things got hectic. People were streaming in. At the height of the rush, maybe a dozen people were in the store. One guy hauled in boxes of books he wanted to sell. A woman asked if we were hiring. Others stood patiently by for me to ring up their purchases. The phone was ringing.
As I was trying to wolf down my lunch, a woman asked if we had a bathroom. The iron-fisted regulators at the city insist that we have such a facility, so I told her we did and she could use it. After ten minutes or so, she emerged and said rather sheepishly, “I pooped, and it won’t flush.” Thinking fast, I quickly looked out the door to see if I could see the woman who asked if we were hiring. No luck. So into the bathroom I went to do what I could do. The woman left — without buying anything — but soon returned. She couldn’t find her phone. That would explain things.
A young man asked if we had any books by MFK Fisher, and was so excited that we did that he didn’t buy anything, either. But plenty of other folks were more cooperative.
As closing time approached, I thought maybe we’d had all the customers we were going to have. That’s when a woman stuck her head in the door, looked around, and asked: “Do you have a bathroom?”