Saturday, May 8, 2010

Day in the life, part 2.

Day in my boring ass life, part two.

Get to work. Hit one and a half lights and had to do a u-turn at alley because they're doing fire drills. Uses up 2 minutes of my four minute margin, so arrive at two minutes before 11:00. Clouds have moved in -- which I know from my landscaping days is pretty typical Bend spring weather, threatening clouds which almost never actually rain.

Find a wine cup in front of my door -- '1st Friday' last night; they are actually pretty good at cleaning up after themselves.

First guy in the door will get to help me haul out the book table. I've been forgetting to do that right away, lately, so I need to try harder. Think I'll do some vacuuming of the dust that's accumulated at the bottom of the boxes...Find a religious flyer in amongst the books --

***Young family comes in; I keep cleaning the books after greeting them. Sort of recognize them, from way back. Dad asks 12 year old boy is he sees anything, he shrugs and says no. This will be repeated innumerable times today; I don't understand it, but try not to let it bother me anymore...Hear the Dad say he stopped "collecting". Bought a 1.00 dice.

***Mom and 2o's son, son looking for magic singles. Carrying a Powells candy bag, which is also something I'll see innumerable times this Saturday. Mom looking at books. He buys 3.00 worth of singles. Mom buys 10.00 worth of used books, they're from Baker City and own a business that makes entertainment rides. "Wow. A business that actually MAKES something..." I say.

***Mid-20's guy; my prime age, looking at graphic novels. Shanghaied him into putting the table out....Girlfriend comes to drag him away...He buys new Corben HELLBOY for 3.50

Decide to make new signs for sale table. Bargain bins are usually so forlorn looking that they aren't attractive, and I want to try to avoid that; by putting good books out and keeping them clean.

Pay off a couple of bills before the mailman arrives. Had Linda make me some 1.00 signs off the computer. 'Plasticize' them with tape, cut them out. DC, Marvel, and Image are are printing 1.00 comic reprints of important titles.

***Mom, Dad, young boy and girl, looking at Pokemon, Mom looking at books. Dad asks for a book "Like" DIARY OF A WIMPY KID. I try to turn him on to BONE.

Kid buys Pokemon, Dad buys BONE, smaller kid buys Indiana Jones action figure. Give them a MOUSE GUARD/FRAGGLE ROCK and TOY STORY comic free. Good for the Dad.

***Regular, guy. Buys two DVD's, a bunch of comics, and outspends everyone else in the first two hours.

****Middle aged couple. Wander around, leave.

***Dad and two young kids. Dad offers to buy ALIENS VERSUS MONSTERS book; kid refuses.
Sigh. Dad buys a Disney book. Give them a MOUSE GUARD comic.

****Middle Aged couple, asking about the Jack Sparrow in the window. Son is "channeling" the pirate. They buy it, but leave it to go get a birthday card.

***Young couple. Looking for history books. Immediately leave.

Decent start to the day.

Have to make reorders today or tomorrow. Not sure. Being here, I can make a more accurate gauge of what we've sold but I get interrupted; at home tomorrow, I can do it without it at my leisure. Will wait until 3:00 to decide.

1:00. Eating lunch. Slow patch; vacuum front of store. Check for next week's inventory; usually not up until late Sat. but sometimes I get lucky.

***Older gent. Looking at card supplies. Buys 5.00 worth of boxes.

***30's guy. Goes into comic section. Buys 55.00 worth of back issues -- works seasonally for Forest Service, and says they've already had two fires this year. Wind knocking tree into wires and woman doing controlled burn that gets uncontrolled.

***card guy. Sometimes buys a Beckett. otherwise....he buys online. Yep, leave.

***20's guy. Because he looks a little lost, but my type of customer, I give him my Stewardess presentation: "Used books in front on that side. New books on this side. Graphic novels and comics in the back on that side. Games and toys and cards in the back on this side." He bought a new copy of THE STRANGER, by Camus.

***A regular. One of my oldest customers, who has pretty much quit buying anything, except two titles that never show up. Can't get him to look at anything else.

***Guy asking for Dark Angel comics out of Portland. "Dark Horse?' I ask. He needed them for a publication that was doing a story on the Portland comics scene. Bought a STAR WARS, AGE OF REPTILES, BUFFY AND HELLBOY. Talked to him for awhile, and he bought a new copy of GO DOWN, MOSES, by William Faulkner, for himself.

***While talking to above guy, another guy made a quick loop and left. Typical if I don't give catch them and give the book (Stewardess) spiel.

***Guy bought 5.00 bag of "polies" (comic bags, I figure out).

***A comic shelf guy. Bought one comic off his shelf, and STAR WARS: DARK EMPIRE graphic novel.

2:30. Day half over. Reading the above list makes a very stark case for why Saturdays wear me out so much. Mostly people I don't know, who spend small amounts; as opposed to the regulars I get throughout the week, who pretty much know what they want and tend to spend much more. 30 people so far. I would've thought more, but there have been slow patches. I think Jasper is perfect for Saturdays. Heh.

Put a Darth Vader cutout in the window to take the place of Depp. Realized I'm taller than Darth.... That's just wrong.

Listening to CD's my employees bring in -- because they're mixes, don't always know who I'm listening too. Figured out after days, that one of them was Pink Floyd (never was a fan); and on comes the James Bond Themes. Cool.

***Regular. Likes art books, but knows what he likes, and sometimes buys and sometimes doesn't. Looking at Philip K. Dick books. Bought 3 comics and a bottle of Tru Blood.

***Mom and older daughter, asking for game Robo Rally. Fetched my ladder, brought it down, and handed it to her and heard her say, "This is the one I ordered..."

***Two gothy teenagers. Looked at the Twilight Graphic Novel and said, "Oh, my gawwwddd."

***Mom and two older girls. They asked the prices on a couple of books, put them back and left.

***Regular. Looking at comics. Wants to talk Iron Man movie. Haven't seen it, not all that interested in seeing it. I can predict every element without seeing it. Much more interested in movies like Kick Ass and Watchmen and Scott Pilgrim, than your everyday superhero extravaganza. Spidy/X-/Hulk/Iron man/ starting to blur for me.

***Mom and older daughter. Things have slowed down to people browsing and wandering around downtown.

***Father and son. Looking for Mother's Day cards.

***Guy buys two books from sale table.

Gives me a chance to do my reorders, so I think I'll start and see how it goes. Then again, looked at the list and it's three weeks long. I think I'll wait until tomorrow. Haven't really seen a real regular today, the kind I'm used to talking to.

***Young couple. Leaves. They come back and ask some questions about boardgames. Buys Seafarers extension, which I'm pretty sure is the wrong thing, but cheaper than the right thing...

***One 30 something. Asks if we do subscriptions. He has thirty years worth of Amazing Spider man's, but let subscription lapse. Buys the last four issues.

***Two teenage girls. One gets excited by Twilight Graphic Novel, I offer her 20% off. She stands there and appears to read the whole thing. Puts it back. Other girl asks for Banksy art. "Who?" She giggles. I google, and I see his art. Cool. I learn something new every day. They buy manga and Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy.

***Middle aged woman. Seems to run out the door; not sure what that was.

***Young guy and Mom. They leave. 'Browsing' feeling has just been oozing off everyone in the last hour.

***Regular, who sometimes spends a bunch. We can hope. -- Spent pretty good.

NOTE: In hindsight, the last real customer of the day, around 3:30.

***Young couple. Looking at books. Gone.

***Father and two boys. Gone.

***Father and son. Gone.

***Mom and daughter. Looking at young adult books. Gone.

***Mom and small boy. Asked about Star Wars standups. Quoted price. Gone.

***Young couple asking for D and D basic set. Tell him I don't think there is such a thing. Tell him about Player's Handbook. Gone.

***Young guy asking for "Old" comics. "What era?" "60's". "Don't have any. I think that's why nature created the internet..." Stays for an hour and half. Ends up spending 49.90.

***Three teenage girls. Asked the price of my Ugly Dolls. Gone.

***Mom and two small girls. Looking at the Ugly Dolls. Gone.

***Woman buys 1.00 book from table.

Day just seems to be dragging. Haven't had more than half a good conversation all day.....I'll be glad to hand this day back to Jasper next week. Wow. Saturday really is a different kettle of fish, even more obvious to me now that I've been away from this day for a month or two. Just different, not necessarily bad, I guess. Lots more browsers, less regulars. More price resistance -- which implies they are used to buying from discounters. The sales still add up, just from the sheer number of people, and maybe I should be happy to make money off people I don't usually make money from.

But I prefer weekdays and regulars, I think.

Ended up just below average, about 76 people. Not great, not horrible.


That's all folks. Evening is mine.


Les said...

The DnD guy was probably looking for the Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set.

Pedro Hemes Valdes Ortega said...


I have an idea.

Take 1&2 above record it and then give it to the FBI and Janet Reno.

Next time there is a Branch Davidion standoff with some 'christian' group. Rather than incinerate the children, have the FBI and TEAM-RENO just keep playing your tape of the above over&over.

I guarantee everyone will come out.

Same-Same, with Islamic terrorists, just keep playing the above tape, and the terrorist will spill the beans.

Duncan McGeary said...


How come I didn't know that?

It's too easy to convert "out of stock" to "out of print" ---- to "out of mind....."

Duncan McGeary said...

You're welcome.

Leitmotiv said...

I thinks it's funny to see myself in some of your customers. I'm definitely a browser. I don't have much money to spend. Yet, I'm lured in to periodically check up on stuff to see what I'm missing out on.

I've tried getting into weird off the wall comic series that later on sputter and die soon after I begin buying them: Lenore, TMNT, and others that I've forgotten the name of over the years. It's really burnt me out on comics.

Also, I find that I don't enjoy comics as much anymore, especially when its an adaptation of a book. I find the artists rendition doesn't appeal to me, and often seems too cartoony/campy or one-dimensional.

The other thing is, I don't have much money to spend. Being a part-time worker, a full-time dad, and the chairman of the caving club in town really puts a toll on what I can do for "extra" entertainment.

That said, I have bought Settlers of Catan from your store, and "Song of Susannah" by Stephen King recently. Which is funny, because after I bought that Stephen King book, I found the exact one used at The Open Book. Had I seen that one first, I would have bought it over a new copy. I usually don't like buying new books! I like used ones, especially paperback.

I do have lots of used books that I want to buy, but can't seem to find them at your store, or Bookmark, or the Open Book.

I don't consider myself the average consumer though. I've always found that I have an eclectic taste, even in a store that is made up of eclectic tastes, such as yours.

I always feel a little ashamed for wanting to come in and browse but never buying much. Unfortunately, I don't collect cool toys anymore, I got burned on comics one too many times, and the other stuff I like, but I just can't justify doing much with it once I purchase it. Even movies, I usually watch once and trade. There's only a handful of movies I ever want to watch repeatedly.

However, I do foresee myself coming in and buying a sealed deck of Magic for a one-off duel with a coworker or two. But beyond that I can't afford Magic's outrageous prices. There's no way I could buy much of those cards.

I may also buy another board game. Perhaps that HP Lovecraft themed one. Depends on what my family will tolerate as "family friendly." They tend to be a little paranoid for Christians.

Duncan McGeary said...

I need to try to remember the Golden Rule here, because I don't buy very much either. I can't hardly blame the customers for browsing. Better than the store being empty, and who knows, they might buy something later.

I've gotten much better over the last year or so.