A family from Bangalore south walked in to the store last weekend and our interaction went a little like this.
We ask the folks if they need any help, they say the kids are looking for books, we ask the kids if they need help, they smile and say no they are fine. The son picks up a second hand copy of the super awesome The lord of the rings trilogy J. R. R. Tolkien. The price of the book was about fifty percent of a new copy. The man asks for a discount (which is fine, we explain our policy) he then says that is too much in a day and age where books are sold by the kilo.
Under normal circumstances that statement would have been enough to have us flip the fuck out, but somehow that did not happen.
I ask the man if he saw a sign in our store that states we sell by the kilo, he smiles and says that I need to be aware of market conditions. I explain to him that we are proud book sellers not traders and we would shoot ourselves in our heads after gorging out our eyeballs with satay sticks and shut down the store before we do books by the kilo (yes a little excessive, we have introspected on this kind of book sale and for lack of a better word find it repugnant). The man then relents smiles and says he is a little obsessive while buying and the wife chimes in that he is. She also mentions that she is not against buying an excessive amount of books just they need to be organized and not all over the place, on the coffee table, a couple in bed, a few in the bathroom… (get the feeling I am witnessing some sort of raw nerve and try to placate by saying that my house is exactly like what she described, but a lot worse.)
They then consider a library option and the hubby is for it, but the wife says that it would not be practical as they live in the south of Bangalore and would not be able to make a regular commute. Well, send your kids by the public transportation system, no I am not ready for that yet. Send them, it will make them independent, which might be better for them. She then says that no she is not ready for letting her kids go (which is an understandable motherly thing, right?). On the library option she says it is not practical and is against anything impractical. I begin to warm up to this family while the kids silently, blissfully read while my evenings entertainment unfolds. The wife mentions that they are a member of a library which is kind of a chain and she says that the collection is somehow lacking. To which we retort that it is quite expected for a corprateorized system to fall into a prefab format and thereby be limited, we on the other hand embrace chaos and buy books from our customers to maintain an eclectic mix.
Then the wife drops a bomb, she says that one of the first things that her hubby said when they got married is that she should not unpack her things from her suitcase to the cupboard, as the cupboard would be reserved for books. The husband bashfully asks if he was actually so horrible back then.
The husband then buys the book, we give a discount as clearly they are book lovers and deserve a little more love from us booksellers.
p.s. If you are looking for a discount, we have a policy and do not make exceptions, normally. 🙂