Thursday, February 08, 2007

A True Story...

We have a lovely little book/pamphlet in at the minute called One Eye Grey. It's an homage to the Penny Dreadful and is just perfect for the nether regions of Waterloo.

A bloke walked in the other day and asked for a copy. We sold him one and had a brief chat.

"You're up against it I suppose. I mean look at that" he said, pointing to a copy of Sarah Water's The Night Watch. "You can get that for half price in Waterstone's at the minute."

What can you say to that? Nada.

"Those are signed though, Sarah's great...lives locally..." he was out the door.

Oh well.

Next day he's back.

"Can I get one of those signed copies of the Night Watch now?"

Of course we only have one copy left. It's in the window and it's not signed.

"We do sell books from time to time you know" I say.

"Yeah, I suppose you do" he says. "I'll take it anyway, even though it's not signed."

I raise my eyebrows.

"Well I went back to Waterstone's. I asked if they had it and they said "Yeah it's upstairs" I just thought to myself, you know what? I don't want to buy it from you lot, I'm going to go back to that little shop where I got the penny dreadful - so here I am."

I smiled the gormless smile that I save for joyous occasions. And then we had a great chat about hidden London, Iain Sinclair, Psychogeography, dispatch riding...

Why shop at an independent when you could save money shopping at Waterstone's or on Amazon?

Why indeed...

BTW plenty of signed copies of the Night Watch in stock now. Thanks Sarah!


  1. A friend of mine makes his living running a shop that sells (principally) classical music, but jazz and “other stuff” as well. The big stores, opening up large music departments, come and go, but his stays. I think it is because customers come into to his shop and can ask him for advise: specific interpretations, a gift suggestion for a friend who likes this one piece of music, and even, I’ve seen it with my own eyes, “I can’t remember the composer but the piece sounds something like this” and there begins a very questionable, but brave attempt to hum the piece so my friend can recognise it. And, in all these requests, my friend does manage help or offers them very good alternatives, and never ever responds with “It’s upstairs”.

  2. I bet if you agreed to trade yesterday's customer's book for a signed copy, you'd win a customer for life.

  3. Sarah also signed plenty of paperbacks in Waterstones branches(curiously enough) too.

  4. Anonandonandonandonandonandon

    Your comment makes a nice addition to this post for once.

    Hey people, can you guess where Mark (anon) works?

    Do you think he's a happy camper?