Thursday, September 20, 2007

So far

It is now 12.30. So far today I have been asked for advice on the following:

1) Can you recommend an internet Cafe
2) Can you tell me whether it is ok for a vegetarian to drink milk, as there may be fatty deposits in it. (Chap thinking of becoming veggie!)
3) I need somewhere to live, can you help me find a flat
4) Who invented the Blitzkrieg ? No book required - just a name
5) Can I borrow an old map - I just want to see if a pond was in Fordingbridge in 1800.

I promise I haven't made any of these up - all this morning too.

Not just me

It isn't only me !!!

I was in Waterstones the other day (I know - just looking at recently published titles - honest Your Honour), when I overheard the following.

"Hello, can you point me to the sellotape, and the children's toys please"

"Children's toys madam, we don't sell children's toys"

"Why not, you should do"

"No, we sell books madam"

"Why don't you sell children's toys?"

"Because we are a bookshop, why don't you try Woolworth's opposite"

"You mean this isn't Woolworths.... Well why didn't you tell me?"

So other bookshops do get them as well.

A little Vague

"Hello,I was watching an interesting programme with Simon Schama on the History Channel last night. He was talking about the history of Wales, and carrying a book. Can you get me a copy of it please."

Now people, you just KNOW that he didn't have any clues about author or title. The only extra bit of information I managed to get was "It might have been a Penguin"

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A little unsure

Lady phones up.

"I saw your advert... Are you interested in books?"

Resisting the urge to make sarcastic replies about hating the damn things, I tell her that it depends on the books and ask what sort they are.

"Ohh I don't know"

"Well what Subjects"

"I don't know... all sorts"

"Erm, hardback or paperback ?"

"I don't know"

"Well how old are they?

You know what's coming "I don't know"

At this point, I have got a little bored, so I tell her that they are not really the sort I can sell, and that she should probably give them to a charity shop.

"So are they not valuable then ?"

I can't resist it.. I have to answer with "I don't know".

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Peter Rabbit and the detestable fraud

Thought I had blogged this one a while ago - but have checked and apparently not!

The day before this happened, Antiques Roadshow had uncovered a Peter Rabbit first edition, and valued it at several thousand pounds. As a result, I sat quaking in my little shop, waiting for the deluge of Peter Rabbit first editions to come flooding through the doors. Actually, I only had 5. Four people were perfectly civil and quite reasonable about their books. (See I CAN be nice about customers) Then there was this one ......

Woman (Aint no lady here honey) of a certain age (the certain age was approx 65 if I am generous) stomps into the shop in her wellies and hacking jacket, She was obviously pretty wealthy judging by the cut of her jib. (She had a sailing boat moored up outside). and exclaims in a loud and rather posh voice.

"I have a first edition Peter Rabbit I am willing to sell you"

"Are you sure it is a first edition, there aren't many around"

"Of course I am, it was brought for my grandmother as a child... I know how much they are worth, so don't you try to con me"

The book in question was bought out, and placed down for my perusal. I could see immediately (Cos I am ded clever) that all was not as it should be. (The plastic laminate cover was an immediate give away) so I asked a few further questions.

"You are sure that this is the same book your grandmother was given"

"Of course I am, don't be ridiculous"

"You didn't buy another copy to read at some point, to protect and older one"

"No, this is a first edition, and don't you try to rip me off, I know it is worth several thousand pounds"

She was irritating me by this point, so I decided I couldn't be bothered playing any more.

"Madam, this book was not given to your grandmother, unless she was already quite old when she got it. This book was published in 1984. There is an ISBN on the verso of the title page, and a barcode chip. ISBN's were not introduced in this country until 1971 (See how much you learn on this blog!!!!) and computer barcodes were certainly not around in Victorian England. To make it even more certain, there is a printing date of July 1984 just here (showing her the offending date at the back of the book). This book is a modern copy not a first edition, and is worth about a pound.

A bony grabbing little hand came out in a flash "Well just give me a pound for it then"

Now do you think she A) got a pound of me for the book or B) got verbally thrown out of the shop with a Paddington stare following her ?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

blaggity damn soddity

Most irritating man came in.

He emptied a plastic carrier bag onto the desk - just tipped it out. In there were a few book club books with torn wrappers, a readers digest, a couple of paperbacks and a couple of very shagged ex-library books with the price 50p pencilled in them. The whole lot was dirty, dishevelled and useless (I little like him - boom boom).

"How much are you going to give me for these" (Not a great way to open negotiations anyway)

I explained that I didn't buy paperbacks, book club, readers digest or shagged library books, and that we are an Antiquarian bookshop.

"Well where can I sell them - its hard work getting money for books these days, the other bookshops turned them down - I thought YOU would buy them".

Further irritated that I was the third place he had visited with this croc of shite I told him that the only place for these was a charity shop.

"Why should I give them to charity? I paid good money for these"

I pointed out that the highest price he had paid was 50p and that he had the benefit of reading them, and suggested that if he didn't want to pass on the benefit of them, he should just throw them away, as there wasn't a bookshop in the country that would buy this sort of book.

He stormed out of the shop, mutterering about how we had wasted his day going round the book shops with them.

Am I being unreasonable in thinking that such people are horrible little cheap, tight, dirty swines, who deserve locking in a room of cash, which is just out of reach of their greedy little clutching hands ?

Bless 'em all....

Many a cross word was spoken !

Bloke walks into the shop and presents me with a slightly crumpled book of crossword puzzles, which he hopes I will purchase from him. In my nicest voice, I decline his generous offer (Well not so generous - he wants my cash).

His reply is to ask "Why wont you buy it, my wife has only done some of them - there's plenty more for someone else to do"

What do you say to that ? Come on - how can I reasonably respond ?

(I stuck by my declention by the way).

Sunday, September 02, 2007

The Youth of Today

Bless Em....

Three kind souls, who felt that my shop needed a bit of a change, decided to smash the window and do in the bookcase before running off into the night.

Apparently they were young teenagers a little under the Affluence of Inkerhol.

Now I am the last to complain about people canning it a bit on a Friday night - but I'm not convinced they need to break my windows after.

That, however, is not what I am blogging about.

Next day, I had to clean up and get rid of the glass.

And endure EVERY person over 40 in town coming in to complain about young people, about night time in town, to mutter about how they should be strung up, executed etc: By the end of the day, I wanted to go and get drunk and hang out with the kids, break a few windows and tell the old gits to get lost etc etc.

I should be grateful that they are concerned enough to come in and sympathise with me. One day, one of them will actually buy a book and so put something into the "Window Restoration Fund"

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Long time coming

4 hours.

4 (yes FOUR) hours

That is how long Mr Boring sat in the shop and talked at me yesterday.

This chap came in, and had a little look around the shop. Pleasant enough, but was interested in things which weren't really grabbing me - and was telling me about them at great length

(Imagine a slightly nasal accent and slow voice) "Yeas, of course the velocity of the SP54 a type engine was considerably greater than the SP53 but it did suffer from a distinct lack of power on the upward rail stretches on the West Coast Line which I would venture to suggest limited its value to the GWR - wouldn't you agree"

Having looked around, he didn't actually decide to buy anything, but just parked himself in the chair in the front room, and talked at (yes at) me from 10.20 am until 2.18pm.

He gave me false hope by announcing that he had to go several times, but they never amounted to anything.. he just kept going on and on and on and on and on and on.

Fortunately I was able to tune him out, and so I continued to process orders and place books online. At one point he asked me if I minded him wittering on to me, and I replied, No, as long as he didn't mind me ignoring him. He pointed out that I wasn't ignoring him and we were having a lovely conversation (I think that one was about UFO's being the probable cause of crop circles, although the merits of the electro magnetic variation theory did somewhat attract him) Eventually he left, wishing me a happy week until his return next week

Oh yes - he comes in once a week to the big city on the bus. Whimper whimper sob sob.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Ranty Rant Rant

No humour today sadly.

I have been keeping a tally of the number of people trying to sell books over the last few days. Since last Thursday morning (That's six days including a sunday!) I have been offered 63 lots of books.

In this same period, while averaging 12.6 offers per working day, I have averaged 5 sales per day. So at least twice as many people are trying to get money from me as purchase books.

Some people would be grateful for the opportunity to acquire more stock. Not me ! I would if it they had the slightest potential to be stock. Of all of these books, I have purchased one. (Yes one). The rest was comprised of the sort of junk that a charity shop would turn away. Mouldy hardback reprints of bookclub books. Tatty novels with wrappers half ripped off, plastic bags stuffed with dirty creased paperbacks.

Having tried hard to create a shop that is clean and tidy, with high quality stock (lots of it leather bound and antiquarian) in neat wrappers where appropriate, protected in removeable film..... you get the picture.... these books just feel insulting to me.

I would like to be generous, and think that people don't know the difference between a valuable book and a paperback, but that doesn't even seem to be true. When I decline their stock, they often comment that they are on the way to the charity shop with it, and just thought they would try and get a few pounds first. So they know that they are pretty worthless. Or there are the ones who either have no idea of economics, or are just greedy. When I point out that I don't buy paperbacks as I sell them for a pound or two, so it isn't economic, they reply that that is fine, two pounds a paperback will be adequate. Even when I point out that this would mean I was giving them more than I would actually sell the book for, they don't seem to get it!

I think the thing that annoys me more than anything, is that NONE of these books come from me in the first place. People buy these tatty relics at car boots and charity shops, then expect to make a profit by passing them on to me. Greedy greedy greedy...... Did I mention how much I dislike greed ?

Ok enough rant - thought for once I would just vent my feelings a little, and live up to the blogs name!

Sob sob sob

Friday, June 29, 2007

Jewellery stuff

Woman walked in this afternoon.

"Have you got any rings"

"Rings madam?" says I (Come on then - what would you say?)

"Yes, rings - the charity shops are closed - I need some rings and don't know where to go - I'm new to Salisbury."

"This is a bookshop Madam."

"But I want to buy a ring."

"How about a jewellers madam."

"Do you think so ? - I'll try that then"

And she walked out.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Ever hopeful

Chap calls me out to his house. He had sold me a couple of boxes of books a while ago, for which I paid £100. It should have been about £70 but he gave me a sob story about decorating the house before his wife got out of hospital.

So I went in again, these are now the tail end of his collection, and not particularly special. I offered him £50 (and that was probably generous).

"Oh dear" he said "I thought you always paid £100 for books, and I need a hundred to pay for some more decorating, so can you make it £100 please".

I resisted the temptation!

Psychic Booksellers

My friend in Cornwall has quite a few Cricket books. How much are they worth ?

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Wasted Journey

A sweet little couple visited the shop from Totton today. That's about 45 minutes drive away (For me - probably took them a couple of hours !) They came in and announced that having seen the shop on TV - it had taken them a while to find as they couldn't remember the name of the shop or the street. While the lady of indeterminate years sat a wheezed for a while - her husband eventually came to the point. He had that particular slow and nasal voice, that has convinced me he is probably called Malcolm or Dereck.

"We thought you looked as if you liked books on the television - so we thought you might like to buy some gardening books from us"

"What sort of gardening books?" (Said I, full of energy, enthusiasm and vigour).

"I don't know really.... different sizes and colours..."

"erm... Well how many, and do you know the titles"

"Oh four of five books. One mentions begonias in the title...."

"Ok, well you've driven over from Totton - are they still in the car ?"

"No... we thought we would drive over and see if you were interested - if you want to see them, we can come back with them another day..."

"Well, possibly, I hate to cause people special journeys... Do you often come to Salisbury ?"

"Oh no.... We've only come to see you ...We'll go home again once we've got our breath back..."


Friday, March 30, 2007

Bus shelter mentality

I arrived at work at 9.30am this morning.
(Please to remember that the shop opens at 10am).

Man is stood outside peering through the window.

"Ah, at last....About time"

So I let him in, excited by the prospect of seeing some more books
(people who queue outside a closed second hand bookshop early in the morning are ALWAYS selling rather than buying).
He rushes in, and pulls a stool up to the counter and starts whittering away.

I carried on turning on lights etc: trying to open the shop, when he asks me when I am going to stop doing things and listen to him. So I sat down, and asked how I could help.

"Oh I don't want anything....I'm not going to buy anythng .... I have to leave the hostel at 9 am and have no-one to listen to me, so I thought I would come along and chat to you....."

I inwardly sobbed to myself.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Fount of all knowledge

Young man comes into the shop.

"I want to buy a book to learn stuff"

"What sort of Stuff"

You know .... I want a book to teach me things - can you recommend a book that will give me knowledge"

"Knowledge about what exactly ?"

"Oh everything ......I brought my mum a book for Christmas .. It was on Naturamony"

"Naturamony ?"

"You know - Bones and stuff"

"Ah, anatomy ..... Is she a nurse ?"

"No she works in a cafe... But i liked the pictures of bones and stuff.....

"Has she read it ?"

"She's looked at it... Don't think she's read it. ....... David Ike is good isn't he - he talks a lot of sense - who would have thought the royal family are all aliens"

"Well there are some who would question whether everything David Ike says is true"

"No its true, I saw it in a book - he says you have to wear blue to be safe from the aliens. Thats the sort of knowledge I want to learn"

"Ah sir, you will be needing our paranoid consipracy theory bollocks section then"


I have been abused with many insults in my short life. Mangy mutt, tatty dog, useless hound etc: etc: But now I have been called a Media Whore - I am deeply insulted.

However, following my tv piece - I have had my first ever item of fanmail ! A nice lady in Havant wants to send me a book to pass on to a good home (I had hoped for biscuits or treats - but a nice letter and a book are better than nothing!) and Fred Dinage said I was a lovely Mutt !!!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Too much information ?

Guy comes in - also the worst for drink (Must be a day for it), and asks if I buy books.
"Sometimes", say I "What sort of books are they"

"Oh I don't know, all sorts" He replied "How much will you pay me for them"

"I would have to see them, it varys from a pound or so, up to a few thousand, usually the former"

"But you must be able to give me some idea - can't you guess?"



Old chap looking distinctly dishevelled, and somewhat worse for drink wanders into the shop.
He asks where the Dylan Thomas is kept.
I show him the appropriate area, and start to help him look for some.
After a few minutes, he comments, "Oh well, I'm not going to buy any, I'm just coming in to shelter from the wind and rain."

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Too expensive ?

The gentleman in this afternoon was nothing if not optomistic.

First he spent 20 minutes looking through a £120 book on local history (lots of money - but it is charity and council records and accounts from 150 years ago - printed at the time for the official record etc: Not a common piece!!)

Secondly, he came up to the counter and announce "Yes, I think I shall take this one off your hands.... Discount for cash ?"

Much as I detest haggling, I have little choice, so I ask him what he had in mind, and he offers me £10.

When I finish choking to death, I point out that he is looking for a rather large discount. Of course he had thought that the book was £12.

At this point, he doesn't seem at all perplexed. "Never mind", he said, "Can you just photocopy the pages I want then please...."

Sadly, I was forced to decline.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Silly Boy

Student walks into the shop.

" I am a drama and film studies at the local college.

We want to film a fight scene in a library, but the college won't let us use theirs. Could I borrow about a thousand books for a week or so. I'll bring them back. "

Now guess whether I said yes or no to him.......

Silly Woman

A very silly woman came into the shop.

I knew that she was very silly when she asked "Do you have all sorts of books or just particular ones" (it took me a while to get it.... Or rather it took me a while to realise that there was nothing to get!)

She then says "Oh they are very expensive aren't they!" I replied that some of them are, and asked which she meant, and she said that the paperback she was holding was £1.50. I said that wasn't much, and she told me that she never pays more than 50p in charity shops for books.

I asked her to tell me which charity shops, as I would go there and buy some at once, which reminded me that unlike them, I had to buy all of my stock, pay my staff, market rent, rates etc: Eating occasionally would be nice too.

She left.

Saturday, January 27, 2007


Man walks into the shop and farts.

Thats it.

Doesn't even look embarrassed - he is still here, just looking at the books - pretending it hasn't happened.

It is now horrible and smelly in my shop - he is still here. Do I acknowledge the fetid production of his nether regions by lighting an incense stick - or do I hold out and hope.

It's no good - the incense is calling.... I can't go on....... this may be my last post......

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Genuine Rant

Ok - so this one isn't an amusing anecdote. Nor are they rest you are probably thinking - but I don't care (mentally sticking out tongue. Now there is an emoticon in need of invention).

I was assisting the local Oxfam this morning. Those who know me will appreciate that Oxfam are not my favourite charity - but never mind. As I arrived to chat to their assistant manager - who also works in my shop, and as they are throwing out the unwanted donations / rubbish, I assist in moving the sacks. There are 32 sacks of waste. As I am moving them, it is obvious that several of them are books and magazines, others are full of china, glass etc:

When I mention to him that he still isn't recycling this stuff - he just grunts a "Oh it's too much effort - we can't be bothered. If you care that much write to someone" This is a week after I had explained to him that he could get FREE salvage stickers from the council, and that all he had to do was seperate the stuff out and stick a sticker on the bag. Aparrently there are no policies for the organisation to make them recycle.

Seeth seeth seeth. Is this a sacking offense ? It would be in my shop! I am outraged (but sadly not suprised) that a corporate charity that claims to be so PC and there for the poor / oppressed / third world, can really not care about the environment or recycling basic stuff that they throw out.

They shan't be getting any more donations from me!!!

Do people listen

I arrived at the shop at 9.45am this morning. The shop opens at 10am - there was already a woman stood outside in the rain - so I knew she would be trying to sell rather than buy, and that I wouldn't want it. (No-one has EVER queued up outside to purchase, and the quality of the books from those who do wait are ALWAYS appalling).

As I come in, there are very well spoken mutterings of "about time, I have been waiting in the rain for ages"

"Well I don't open until ten" I reply, but she barges past anyway, with a "20 minutes I've been stood there. Now - I've to sell you some books"

"What sort of books" quoth I, with a heavy heart and dripping coat.

"Oh, I don't know - all sorts - my aunt has died, and I'm clearing them out - there's thousands of them."

"we only buy certain kinds of books...."
"there are hundreds of pristine Readers Digest condensed volumes and paperbacks."

"I'm sorry" I reply "We don't buy Readers Digest or paperbacks - I just can't sell them....."

She interrupts with a "I don't expect a fortune for them, a couple of pounds each will be fine, there's a lot of beautiful book club boos as Well"

"I can't sell those either I'm afraid. It doesn't sound as if there are any there for me."

"Nonsense - I'll drop them off, and you can look through them all, pay me for the good ones, and then you can dispose of the rest."

Stifling a more appropriate response, I explain that I don't do that, as I would be flooded with unwanted books in the shop. If she wanted to drive past with them in the car, I could have a quick look and buy the odd one that was suitable, but I didn't hold out much hope.

"Oh no" she replies - "I can't be bothered with that - then I would have to dispose of the rest of them"

And with that she swept out of the shop.