Friday, October 21, 2022

"Everyone can see you don't want to quit."

I'm going to start getting Social Security next month. I held off until 70 because, well, I could and because my income was so dinky for most of my career that it wouldn't have amounted to much if I'd started collecting sooner. 

I was talking about my retirement in the store and a customer said, "Everyone can see you don't want to quit."

Well...sure. I want to be actively engaged in something outside the house. I'm still really enjoying what I'm doing, more so perhaps than I ever have. Making money and having fun.

My "loner" formula for socialization is 70% Linda, 20% the store, and 10% everything else. The store may only be 20% of what I need not to feel useless, but it does need to happen. For me, isolation breeds isolation.  

I have to say, most of what I see in retirement doesn't interest me. Linda is perfectly fine with it, and more power to her and everyone else who is able to relax, but I feel totally at loose ends. I could start writing again, but that doesn't really fulfill the socialization part and I pretty much did that already. I don't golf, or fish, or pickle ball. Even traveling has limited appeal to me--it's exhausting and complicated.

But I still want a challenge in the "real" world.

I made a promise to Sabrina to sell her the store and I will fulfill that promise. I'm hoping she will keep me on board to continue ordering books and putting them away, but it will be her store and her decision. I won't regret it and I'm not looking back. I have to admit it will be nice not to have the constant pressure to earn enough money to make the store work. But I expect that I'll be just as anxious that it work for Sabrina.

Sabrina has stuck with me for 14 years or so. She deserves her chance, and if necessary, I'll get out of her way. Can I keep my suggestions to myself and my mouth shut? Linda kind of doubts it...and, I admit, so do I. But I do sometimes learn. It remains to be seen.

But I do have a backup plan. 

When I removed the used books from my store, I put them down in the basement. I already had a batch of overflow books from Linda's used bookstore, though most of that is probably junk. Whenever I get the chance to buy used books at a good price, I can't resist. 

So basically, I have the fixings for a used bookstore. I have many of the bookcases, a cash register, a couple of cabinets, and the nucleus of an inventory. 

I finally broke down and bought a storage shed, though it has yet to be assembled. So that's where all the fixings are going to be stored. 

My backup plan is that if I get too bored, I will open a little used bookstore in Redmond. It would have limited hours, maybe 12:00 to 5:00 Tuesday through Saturday. I would try to find another retired person or two to work the days I don't want to. If possible, I'd like to work no more than two days a week and also have enough time to go on trips. 

It wouldn't have to make much money. But it couldn't lose money. 

That's the trick, because I'm dubious of used bookstores' future. I think new bookstores are coming back, but used bookstores are struggling. 

Also, when I first started thinking about this, I was figuring that rent in Redmond would be cheap. Well, it's not only not cheap, but I think it's way out of proportion to how much money a Redmond business can make when rents are close to Bend rates.

I can't believe it, but I'm finally considering going online with my used books. One of the reasons I haven't done that before now (besides the fact that my store takes up all my time, as it should), is because I didn't think I had anything special. But I just bought a pretty cool collection of pulp magazines and tawdry cover paperbacks. Many are worth something on the "collector" market.

So I may have to finally knuckle down and figure it all out. That would probably be the factor that would make my opening a used bookstore in Redmond actually work. After all, I'd need the space to organize these books. 

I love the idea of starting a small store and turning it into something...again. I'm proud of Pegasus Books, because Linda and I did it with few resources and not a lot of help. I liked that I never had to depend on other people--the store either worked or it didn't work. 

Pegasus Books has filled its space and its potential. It can still grow, there will still be challenges and downturns, but overall, it is a mature going business. It's fun, but I wouldn't mind starting a new enterprise. 

Hey, you don't stop living after you hit 70. Until you do, of course.


Luci & Loree said...

Wonder if i will live long enough to make use of your new store... The idea is wonderful!! don't like that woman in Bend that took over Linda's place. Suppose if i don't, then Brian will be looking u up to download all the books i have stacked in my 4 huge bookcases here! But they all mean something to me. Altho, i have gotten past the point where i think i need to HAVE and keep every book i read. Many of the people i traded with have died. During COVID the library would not take them (only the one in Prineville would) so, that leaves me driving to prineville, taking a chance on getting angry going to the Bend store or the one friend i have left who reads... soooo a store in Redmond would be more than welcome!

Duncan McGeary said...

It's looking very likely that I'll continue at Pegasus for the foreseeable future. A used bookstore was feasible, but it was going to be work and stress for very little return. It suddenly occurred to me that if I could manage to keep Pegasus, it would be better. So I offered Sabrina, my manager, a substantial raise along with benefits, and she accepted.'s looking like I'll be there for some time now. I'll try to find a way to sell the pulp books I bought in a small corner of the store. They are rather cool, though I don't think the market is big for them.

It's a big relief.

Duncan McGeary said...

By the way, Big Story has changed hands again and I think the new owners are much more approachable. They seem to be doing a good job. You might want to check in again. :)