I walked into work a few minutes late yesterday to a totally full store. I caught the eye of my staffer who nodded that she was okay. I pretended to be a shopper as I saw no customers I knew. It was a lovely and novel way to experience the store.
The first thing I noticed were just how many small children were in the front of the store. The aisles were full and each of the kids’ sections had kids. The picture book section was strewn with baby socks and shoes and coats, but no actual babies. The babies were all over the store, adorably teetering or crawling around sections looking for siblings and parents who had found some books of their own to look at. I know I’m a sucker for a cute baby, but cute babies making cute baby noises just about kills me.
One little tot, no more than 11 months old, had found her dad and was being carried around with one sock dangling from the only foot that had clothes. She kept burbling “Ah.” No one was quite sure what the “Ah” was in reference to, but she kept “Ahhing” for the entire time her family was shopping. It was like every book cover elicited a response. A toddler had discovered the gift section and just kept exclaiming, “Oooh. My. Nice.” with every toy she picked up. She picked up a car bath toy and started saying, “Mom” and changed it to, “Dad, come see.”
Teenagers in the young adult section were largely self-sufficient. They only approached the register to order the next book in the series. One ordered a Nancy Farmer book and a young man wanted us to have book two in the Cherub series, which we did, and gave to him. His guttural response, “Sweet,” told me he loved this series. He was probably 13 and that was the only thing I heard him say after that, because he was reading.
Sundays at the bookstore are often full of families browsing and just enjoying. There’s no rush to the day and many people just come in to take a look, talk about books and then move on with their day. And that makes me very happy.