There’s been a new trend this week: men are shopping more at the bookstore. They’re not coming in for holiday books, it’s too soon for that, they’re doing something better: they’re showing off the store to their friends.
I always take it as a compliment when a customer brings a friend to the store. When people take that kind of ownership in my store it makes me feel proud that we’ve done something right. Usually, women are the ones who take their visiting friends and family to the store and give them a guided tour. But the last few days I’ve seen at least two men bringing friends with them to show off the bookstore.
It’s always fun to see someone else’s tour of the store. What they focus on tells me a lot about what parts of the store they enjoy. In both cases the men giving the tour were older, probably in their 70s, and they were proud. One man spent much of the visit in the Vermont section, or the “regional” section as he referred to it with his friend. They spent much time talking about the wonderful books of Howard Frank Mosher and Archer Mayor. Then they walked down the adult aisle talking about history books. With a casual wave of his hand the man said, “That section is where Judy gets books for the grandkids.”
When someone cares enough about your store to want to share with either a visiting friend or friend who’s new to the area, good things happen. The tacit implication is we’ve passed muster. We are a store worth sharing, not a store you drive by with a friend and say, “Don’t go there, their selection is horrible.” I always listen to what my friends say about their local bookstore. Hearing other people talk your store in positive terms just makes me proud.
Both of the tour guides triumphantly told their friends one thing that was absolutely adorable: “This is where I got your birthday book.” And I swear they each stood up a little taller when they said that.