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Damn those shoplifters!

I used to have friends who shoplifted. Never criticized them so I'm not going to be smug and huffy about the thieves that hit us. But they make days in the shop more complicated.

It has been over a year since Gordon pulled all the compact discs out of their cases and put them under the counter to prevent people from walking away with them. We probably put that off too long. It is an unwelcome hassle especially at busy times.

It isn't unusual for shops to have their more expensive stock behind the counter. With philosophy books we do that with books we'd ordinarily have on the shelves. Philosophy is off in a hidden corner and had become an easy target for people who steal books to resell them.

And we've bought stolen books. A guy bought in a bunch of Loeb Library titles. A couple of days later we got a call from The Gothic, Duke University's bookstore asking if we'd been sold a bunch.

Early on a man brought in a couple of stacks of rare African-America history, he hadn't even removed the prices of the shop he'd stolen them from. Having worked there before opening Books Do Furnish A Room I recognized Bill Loeser's handwriting. We paid the guy a few bucks, called Bill who was glad to get them back and reimburse our small out-of-pocket expense.

Most surprising was the day a friend of a guy who'd been selling us lots of good CDs and books. Most of the music had been his. His friend had been stealing the CDs and selling them. The thief moved out of town (never discovered where the books came from).

A small group brought in stacks of really good art books. Sometimes they'd come back with the same books again the next day. A group of junkies was robbing - well we never knew who they were robbing - a book warehouse? Reluctantly we had to tell them to go away. I did get to know one well enough to learn he was a junkie.

We've come to reject people whose holdings seem to be too good to be true once you factor in everything about their demeanor and frequency of appearance.

The other day I found a small stack of cassette tapes in the drama. Someone had pulled all the tapes out and left the cases. Thought we had some sort of anti-theft hardware I guess. At least without the cases he'll never be able to sell the tapes when he tires of them.

Recently someone walked into the shop's office and toted out a few cases of backstock compact discs. Left them sitting on the boxes of back-issue comics. Planning to come back perhaps. Now we keep the office door closed.

[Listening to: Breath In You (Tekara's M & M Dub) - Paul Oakenfold - (5:35)]

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