One of the great things about being a neighborhood bookseller is that little favors are easy to do. Several of our customers live in a nearby retirement community center and don’t drive. They call in their orders and we drop them off at the main building’s front desk on our way home. So easy to do, and it makes us feel even more connected to our customers. Sometimes regulars come in and get to the front counter, only to realize they’ve forgotten their wallets at home; no worries, we just treat their transaction as an account sale and give them an invoice to take home. People have dropped off puppies to stay in the cool bookstore on a hot day while they run up the street to the supermarket. We’ve often delivered “emergency” orders of books at schools for teachers who are too busy to run to the store on a crazy day. We’ve dropped everything else to read stories to cranky kids so their parents can browse in peace, we’ve made many a phone call to local restaurants and inns on behalf of overwhelmed tourists, we’ve stayed open late for desperate book buyers, and we’ve hung book orders on the store door handle for customers driving by hours after we close. There are a million and one small ways to help people out, and they make everyone feel better.
The good will goes both ways, as so many of our past blog posts can attest. Customers bring us flying pigs and baked goods, poems that inspire and babies who charm. They make us laugh and often share the highs and lows of their lives with us. So, whenever we can, it’s an easy thing to do something like drop off a book for someone who doesn’t drive. And if they ask nicely, we might just bring them something from the cafe/bakery next door.