I have a favourite second hand book store. It is within walking distance of my home. They make great coffee. They serve tasty, affordable food of the savoury and sweet variety. They have comfy couches and big tables to sit at. They always have books I want to buy and I rarely leave empty handed. They have an awesome facebook page which makes me want to visit them all the time. I am always ‘liking’ their status updates.
But when I get there the experience is often tainted by THE grumpiest owner ever, who must be allergic to smiling and I always leave desperately wishing that she would flash me her pearly whites. Just once.
Don’t get me wrong, she’s no Bernard Black. But either way, I don’t feel very welcome in her presence, which is a sad state to be in when you are in a small local business struggling in tough financial times selling second hand books.
Perhaps it makes me a very needy customer for wanting a smile with my customer service? I should be satisfied with my book purchase and hot coffee? I should just keep hitting like on their facebook updates? I should just quit trying to feel good and spread the love by exercising facial muscles in the company of strangers?
A smile costs nothing. It would hardly add to their business costs. But still, I won’t judge. What do I know about running a second hand book store cafe?!
Incidentally, not only did I smile last time I was there but I even laughed out loud. Wolfie and I popped in to purchase his one and only birthday present from his parents – a mint condition copy of Babar’s World Tour. When funds are tight you have to prioritise, you grow out of clothes, but never books. As we were paying for our purchase the guy behind the counter asked –
“Is that Fox?”
“No, it’s Wolf” I replied. “Wait, what did you say, sorry?”
“Oh we have a regular customer who has a baby who looks just like yours and his name is Fox. I thought it was you guys.”
So Wolf has a doppelganger named Fox! What are the chances?!
Anyway I will leave you with some Babar as I dream about smiling at strangers all around the world…
“Pack a sweater, a bathing suit and a pair of pyjamas. Wear comfortable shoes,” Babar said to his children one morning. ” Your mother and I have a surprise for you. We are taking you around the world!” “You will see places different from Celestville and ways of life that are different from the one you know.”
– from Babar’s World Tour by Laurent de Brunhoff.