Tag Archives: running a bookstore


Jack’s weekly guest blog post, in which he sinks ever deeper into senility -

We sell a few books each week on the Internet through Half dot Com, an online marketplace where you can buy and sell books, videos and CDs (a branch of Evil Bay). When one of our listed books sells, we get an email saying which it is and who it has to be sent to.

A few days ago we got one of these messages and I couldn’t find the book. I asked Wendy if she’d seen it. As it turns out, she’d just finished reading it, so we figured it was probably down in our basement apartment. No luck! Finally Wendy turned it up hidden in among the ordered books waiting to be picked up by local customers.

Meanwhile -

Wendy, knowing I’m a fan of Alexander McCall Smith, had picked up one of his books for me from the local library (I blogged about it last week) and, now that I’d finished it, I’d laid it aside to be returned to the library.

Yesterday morning I had two early tasks. I had to package¬†for mailing three ‘kitty afghans’ that Wendy had crocheted to raise ‘spay and neutering money’¬† and I had to package the aforementioned ordered book. I then walked over to the post office and sent them both off.

Except -

When Wendy got home she picked up the now only too familiar ordered book and waved it at me – “Haven’t you mailed this yet?”

Uh, Oh – - -

Yes – that’s right! In all the kerfuffle of getting the three afghans into a compact box and getting it all taped up and addressed, I’d stuck the book into its envelope without double checking. If I had, I’d have seen that I was mailing the McCall Smith LIBRARY BOOK by mistake. So I’ve sent the buyer a crawling apology by e-mail, explaining what happened, and included a similar note with the correct book, which finally went off by parcel post this morning.

And, yes, I did double check this time, and triple checked, and – - -

I wonder if I’m going to have to buy a McCall Smith on Half dot Com to take back to the library?


Filed under bookstore management, humor

We wear our wings of silver – - -

Jack’s weekly blog post, in which he ponders the power of memories to support friendship.

We had a visit today from a friend who has also been a fairly regular customer. Mike was recently ‘let go’ from his newspaper job and therefore has more time to come into our store. When he arrived our schizophrenic regular was also here and we all ended sitting down together while Mike waited for the cafe to start lunches.

The last time I mentioned our schizoid friend (let’s call him Chas) involved a similar situation, but with a visiting musician buddy (let’s call him Greg, since that’s his real name).

But back to Mike -

Mike and I enjoy a shared passion for model airplanes (or aeroplanes, as I much prefer) – in his case plastic display models and in my case the flying variety. In my misspent youth I built and flew both free-flight and u-control types and couldn’t afford those fancy radio controlled ones (in those days the radio equipment was expensive and so heavy you had to build models that were almost as big as the real thing!). U-control is where you stand in the middle of a circle holding a ‘U’ shaped handle attached by two wires to the model (controlling the elevator, making the model go up or down) while the plane flies round you at anything from 60 to 100 MPH. I suppose I should admit here that Mike’s models tend to survive a great deal longer than mine!

The most recent model I built. A 1912 Nieuport Monoplane. Safely hanging from the bookstore ceiling!

The most recent model I built. A 1912 Nieuport Monoplane. Safely hanging from the bookstore ceiling!

We found that special ‘sweet spot’ of conversation when two followers of strange pastimes dive together into that pool of shared enthusiasm. Mike extolled the virtues of different brands of plastic kits while I recounted how I’d re-discovered flying models just 10 years ago. I described my wonderment at miniaturized multi-channel radio equipment and the move from oily, smelly engines to electric motors. We waxed eloquently about Spitfires, Lancasters, Seamews and Hurricanes, as well as Mike’s predilection for the ancestors of the Hurricane – Hawker’s classic biplanes of the 1930s, the Hart, Hind etc.


As we went at it, I suddenly noticed that Chas was sitting like a spectator at a tennis match – head moving back and forward and a look of complete contentment on his face!


Two friends could lose themselves for an hour in a warm fuzzy place and Chas once again felt included.

How cool is that?

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