Tag Archives: local bookstores

The Chair Rests

We’re back on schedule! Jack blogs on Wednesdays.

Today I sing (well, type) of chairs and the strange mechanisms of Jack and Wendy’s mind.

No, don’t worry; this blog remains family-friendly….

We’ve been here six years now and until recently kept a set of wooden chairs in a bathroom cupboard, where they took up valuable storage space and were bloody awkward to get when we have events (and that’s often).

The other day, in a fit of “I must have this space” more than “Eureka!” I just distributed them around the odd corners of the bookstore as a temporary measure. Right after this, the “brass monkeys” weather (if you don’t know that saying, google it; this blog remains family-friendly) brought folk in whom we’d never seen before, passersby just looking to get warm. They bought a cup of coffee and obviously felt they should act appropriately in the store, so they sat down in the chairs and read books.

Eureka. Why didn’t we think of this sooner?

Many of our older customers have trouble bending to the lower shelves, and the chairs offer support. Plus, being a mishmash of thrift store finds, they just make the place look cozy and welcoming.

Having lived as husband and wife in four houses before we arrived here, I can now state with authority that neither Wendy nor I have any nesting instincts. It took until we were almost ready to move from each place before we finally got things organized to our liking—or even in a way that made any sense! We moved offices to every room, main bedrooms to every room, guest bedrooms to every room; Wendy once tried to move a kitchen into a bedroom.

In other words we’re just not good at forward planning – or any kind of planning. But we do serve a great cuppa, so come on down and browse. We have chairs out.

Young Owen tests a comfy chair

Young Owen tests a comfy chair

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Filed under animal rescue, Big Stone Gap, bookstore management, humor, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA

Bouncing off the Bars

People can get priggish or preachy about the whole “shop local” thing, but it really does have a positive impact. I bought a hank of homespun wool from a friend for $25; she spent $15 at the local craft shop and $10 buying books from me. I had supper at the buffet across the street; the craft shop owner bought cupcakes from the local bakery for her son’s birthday. “Follow the money” as ’round and ’round and ’round it goes, keeping us in business for ourselves–and each other.

What if I’d gone to Walmart instead and bought $25 worth of Red Heart–which would have been a whole 28 oz. more of crocheting material?

More yarn, less community. Thank you, but I’ll make my friend a scarf instead of an afghan for Christmas.

Jack and I shop local, but we once made a pact that we would not buy anything at Walmart unless we couldn’t find it after a week of trying elsewhere, and gave up after about 10 days. We needed a picture frame, and nobody sells them anymore, except specialty ones in Hallmark (a locally owned franchise).

So we’re not sticklers. Jack once read me excerpts from a book called The McDonaldization of Society, in which the author divided people into iron cagers, rubber cagers, and free-rangers. Iron cagers shopped for the cheapest or most convenient thing, without thinking of its impact or consequences except to them (money and time) in the short term. Rubber cagers tried to buy things from local providers before chain stores (local franchises are not chain stores in my mind, btw) and generally made purchases based on their carbon footprint and what they considered fair treatment of those who produced the item.

The sad point of the book was that free rangers–those who swear they will DO NO HARM, grow their own food, spin their own cloth, etc–cannot be completely free if they live in a developed nation. It’s impossible. (And if they live in a developing one, that’s just called “daily living.”)

Still, as that author pointed out, rubber caging is better than nothing, and every little bit helps–or at least slows the crash and tumble that economic or environmental disaster historically bring. So Jack and I aspire to bounce off the bars of uninformed choices every chance we get. Boing! It’s kinda fun, actually, to plot one’s way out of the path of least resistance, and surprisingly inexpensive. Bet you know a local crafter who doesn’t even have a shop; a little stuffed-to-the-gills “junk” store somewhere on your town’s side streets; even a service store that would do a gift certificate if you asked them.

Boing… this is kinda fun… boing….

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Filed under Big Stone Gap, book repair, folklore and ethnography, humor, small town USA, VA