Thursday, January 10, 2008
Bookseller Voodoo Tips & Tricks
Recently on the Bibliophile email list there was some discussion about bookseller superstitions and tricks for inducing sales during the blips and ticks of the economic engine. I do have some limited customer-retrieval abilities, as when I dust or straighten a bookstore shelf or two and customers immediately zoom into these books, but in order to fill the shop with bodies, make the phones jingle and the computers hum with Internet orders, I have a special Twelve-Step Program:
1) Wash the windows (front windows only!). A sure-fire cure-all for the bookman's blues. Once you go up a precarious ladder, lugging up window cleaner and squeegees, and, most importantly, leaving the phone behind, people will want your attention. Blocking the front door with the ladder to clean these windows gets instant results.
2) Inhale dust/mold/spider combo from old dusty box of books to induce hacking cough spasm. People will want to talk to you immediately.
3) Go to the bathroom.
4) Take a hoggish bite of sandwich or try alternate ordering of a hot lunch.
5) Precarious ladder gambit #2: Dust the ceiling fan blades.
6) Get to personal best score in computer solitaire or Free Rice vocabulary game.
7) Run to the furthest reaches of the bookshop for supplies.
8) Make a personal phone call.
9) Rip apart book shelf in high traffic zone and divide up into alphabetical stacks.
10) Chase annual bat in-migration with fishing net. Extra voodoo points for knocking top shelf books on head to garner customer sympathy purchases.
11) Water and remove yellowed leaves from plants.
12) Precarious Ladder Gambit #3: Replace the light bulbs in the fourteen-foot high ceiling fixtures.
Sometimes just a few steps are necessary, but during the months of April (tax time) and between Christmas and New Year's Day a vigorous run through of all twelve steps* may be required. Individual results may vary.
*Because the Book Trout loves all of you who read down to the end of the posts, I will let you in on the super-secret, thirteenth and most occult step of all for inducing book sales. Play a Screamin' Jay Hawkins CD on the stereo at an unreasonable volume. You won't be able to wrap those books fast enough.