Wednesday, July 8, 2009

operation happy camper

is under way. We broke up the journey to and from camp with a stop for lunch and then again for ice cream at two mom & pop joints along the way. At both the service was excellent, friendly and caring. A far cry from the impersonal customer service one receives at the chain places where the battle cry remains scripted, followed by "Do you want fries with that?" Again a good reminder of why I enjoy the locally owned and operated. The owners care about what they do and who they serve. Their investment is so much more than the minimum wage teenaged employee.

Our local indie bookstore, 113 years old, is going out of business. It pains me to no end. I wonder about the people who work there, who struck up relationships with the regular customers, who recommended books based on what they knew. Last night was the first of two special sales for their long-time customers. The store was packed to the gills. I kept thinking Where the hell have you people been? If you'd have been shopping here with so much enthusiasm, this store wouldn't be going out of business. NOW this place matters to you, too late. The woman working one check out line worked slowly, despite the crowd, chatting up the customers. I knew she was trying to make these last days at her job last before she ends up at a franchise somewhere selling books or whatever else to the nameless masses shopping at the strip malls all over the city limits. And downtown another storefront will grow dusty behind the For Sale or Lease sign hung in the window.

It's a sad thing to say goodbye.

16 comments:

  1. So sad about the indie bookstore. It's happening all over.

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  2. That's so sad about the bookstore. What a disappointment.

    Pete and I were just talking this evening about the different local shops we adore and would miss if they ever went under -- the organic butcher and fish shop, bakeries galore, my beloved gourmet chocolate boutique, the running shop, the outdoor sports shop, the water sports shop, many bookstores, and more.

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  3. so sad about our bookstore. love those indie shops.

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  4. There is something to be said for the shop that specializes in some quintessential something rather than being stuck with no option but the bland convenience of local Megamart #4356.

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  5. It IS happening all over, and has been for the past 30 years, thanks to the chains. They are real close to having things all their own way now, having forced everyone else out. And the Waltons and those like them get richer...

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  6. That makes me so sad too! I only buy books from the little local bookstore--it is so important to support those that make a living doing what they love.

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  7. That sucks. I hate losing a good local store and it's happening all too often these days.

    Two of my favorite local restaurants have had to call it quits, and now I'm stuck w/ sub-par pancakes and soggy fries.

    -Abby

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  8. Ohhhhhhhhhhh, it's so sad to see those indies die out - it just makes me . . . sad

    :( :( :( :( :( :(

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  9. Oh, this makes my heart hurt. I love tiny little bookstores...and I hate to see them close. They have such a wonderful smell.

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  10. oh man.....118 yrs. old? local? bookstore?? sounds perfect! I simply do NOT understand why people don't shop local....I really hope they know how they crush more heavy than the condemned building!

    shame shame!! on those who don't buy local........

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  11. I know. I'm mourning, too. I've bought so many good books there, and gifts, too. My favorite bakery went under last January; right after Amigo's birthday. This bakery baked my wedding cake, 25 years ago! sniff. sniff. Must find tissue...

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  12. ...the publishing industry has been in trouble for quite a while now...yes, it is sad. The relationships between publishers, wholesalers, and retailers - indies AND chains - have been problematic for years and years. I will always love a printed, bound, book...I buy what I can at the actual book "store" - the retail storefront - but more often than not I end up buying my books, Cds and DVDs online.

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  13. Our local is still going strong. They bring in 2 to 3 authors a WEEK, so they're pretty well know and liked. I can go in with the vaguest recollection of the book I want to buy and the staff will know immediately just the book I was thinking of. Marvelous!

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  14. I'm left crying for you and the bookstore: "Noooooooooooooooooo."

    And the unfortunate thing at this very minute, because I'm so hungry, is that I WOULD take fries with anything.

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  15. Mmm-hmm. It reminds me of that scene in You've Got Mail (or The Shop Around the Corner, I suppose) when Meg Ryan is closing her store. Makes me cry every time.

    Gotta support the mom and pop stores.

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  16. Sniffle. We said good-bye to The Hungry Mind (and later named Ruminator) several years ago. I still have ghost pain.

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Spill it, reader.