Things I Won’t Miss When I Leave

Josie Leavitt - December 15, 2016

As many of you know, at the end of the year I will be retiring from the bookstore to pursue the next phase of my professional life. That I will miss the bookstore, my customers and the family of my staff is beyond an understatement. I can barely think about my life post-Flying Pig without tearing up, or in some cases, just flat-out sobbing. There will be several more heartfelt posts between now and the end of year but today I thought I’d list some of the things about bookstore life that I won’t miss. Booksellers, please feel free to add to this list in the comments.
– The endless wait at the counter while someone decides if they really need a bag.
– Customers who call in a special order request in the morning and then come in the same afternoon expressing dismay that the book is not in yet.
– Customers who stand right next to me sighing, as I rip open box after box of a distributor order looking for their one book.
– Eating lunch at 4 p.m., every single day.
– Publisher emails on the 20th of the month threatening me with credit hold if they don’t receive my check by the 31st.
– Having three double shot lattes before noon in December.
– Any document that says “This page intentionally left blank”
– Irritation that only Ingram puts the content list on the outside of every box.
– Multiple daily robo phone calls from Ashley at the Google Network.
– Publisher emails on the first of the month that tell me I’m hold because they have not received my check yet.
– Ribboning packages. I do it but I’ve never really liked it and often still hurt my thumb.
– People who are surprised that the book they ordered, The History of the Penis, is in fact about penises.
– Customers trying to return books they’ve finished but didn’t enjoy.
– The endless hunt for that book with the blue cover that someone heard about, once two years ago, on NPR.
– Someone asking about a book we had a display in our old store 15 years ago.
– Parents who are mean to their kids.
– Baker and Taylor boxes.
– Not being able to sleep in December because of the lattes.
– Cardboard cuts.
It’s been a wonderful 20 years, truly. This list of irritants is nothing compared to the total joy I’ve had at the store. Please do add other little things that are maddening about bookstore or library life.

5 thoughts on “Things I Won’t Miss When I Leave

  1. Leslie Hawkins

    Well said, Josie!
    I don’t have your issues with ribbons, but I am right there with you on all the rest of these. Why is it always Ashley, and why does she call SO often? Is a bag really that big a decision? And things that are only mildly amusing most days get a little more annoying in the crazy couple of weeks before the holidays, like, for instance, the customer who keeps looking through the pile of books on the counter, arranging and rearranging them before we can even get our hands on them to ring them up…before gift-wrapping them…while there’s a line….
    I haven’t made it to Vermont to visit the Flying Pig yet, but I will miss seeing you at trade shows and conferences and will miss your voice here on the blog. Be sure to check in once in a while and let your old bookseller pals know how life is going out in the wide world!

  2. Melissa

    I usually don’t get people pondering whether they want a bag or not. My pet peeve is the customer that stands there watching me put all their items in a bag and hand it to them. Then, and only then, do they say, Oh, I don’t need a bag like they are doing me a huge favor! The favor would be telling me you don’t want the bag before I start putting everything into one!

  3. VickeyB

    Dear Josie: I would like to title this comment “Things I WILL Miss When You Leave.”
    I am not a bookseller or librarian, just a book lover. And, since I live in pretty much the exact opposite corner of the country from Vermont (San Diego, Ca), I have never been to The Flying Pig. But, I read and enjoy “Shelf Talker” every day, and particularly look forward to Mondays, when I can usually be sure of finding a new post from you.
    I love your tales of book store life, your staff and customers, the trials of competing against Amazon and other voracious “machines” trying to grab every dollar spent by every consumer on the planet. I have tried to become a better customer to small businesses in my area thanks to thoughtful posts from you. I have found some stupendously good books thanks to recommendations from you. I have enjoyed many a funny, pleasant start to my week thanks to your humorous looks at book selling, small town life, and just life in general.
    I wish you very well in your future; but, I wanted you to know that you will be greatly missed by people you have never even met.
    Thank you,

    1. Josie Leavitt

      VIckyB, thank you so much for your very kind words. I’m so happy that Mondays were eased into because the blog. I often feel like the blog goes off into the world and I don’t get to know how it was received, or if it made someone laugh. Thank you for letting me know. Have a very happy holiday!

  4. Stephanie

    I will miss your bookstore adventures! I’ve been vicariously reliving my bookstore days through you. Wishing you the best!


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