Of customers and bags

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I used to enjoy watching one customer tug his comics a couple of inches away from me after I totaled them. At first I was puzzled, eventually I realized that he didn't want me to put them in a paper bag. Then I made a point of putting them down away from the cash register and myself. To let him know that I understood. After a time I just left them where I would for any customer. By then he'd come to trust that I wouldn't grab them and shove them in a bag.

One woman always brings her own used bag. I'd probably respect that if she weren't a tad creepy.

I always bag comics unless asked not to. Unless you stack of used books and CDs isn't unusually tall you have to ask for the bag. That always seemed the used bookshop customer when I was on the other side of the counter. Used bookshop owners as a class are probably parsimonious. It is rarely a path to wealth. And we don't think of ourselves as retailers in the fashion of the people who sell candy bars and bras.

Fearing that I'd be thought saying something invidious I've never blogged about this before:

After years of seeing the pattern but dismissing it I'm fairly sure that if only on West Markham Avenue in Durham North Carolina that black people are more likely to ask for a bag than white people. I can imagine a few tortured sociological explanations but would just about as soon be tortured as pretend to be a sociologist.


I have a friend who owns a used bookstore here in Omaha, Nebraska. I don’t think he has ever actually purchased bags—customers bring in their spare bags for him to use, some bring their own canvas bookbags for shopping, and a lot of people prefer to take their purchases unbagged.

Parsimonious? Oh, sure, but as you said, most people in the used book business don’t get rich.

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Pansexual Sodomite
Used Bookdealer
Of customers and bags
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