The Peepers Are Here!

Josie Leavitt -- October 4th, 2010

Oh, it’s that time of year again: when tourists flock to Vermont to see the leaves of autumn. Their arrival marks a shift in buying habits. Were it not for them, this would be a slow time of year. A time to gather yourself before the rush of getting ready for the holidays. The peepers, as they’re called (I’m not really sure how that term got coined, but it’s cute, so it’s stuck) are classic tourists. And every tourist, it seems, wants a memory of their trip.

It’s our job as a Vermont bookstore to be fully stocked in our Vermont books. There are lovely books of covered bridges which I couldn’t keep in stock yesterday. Two separate parties came in within minutes of each other each seeking the book. The first group got my last copy. The group of ladies from Texas seemed devastated, but I called another store in the area and had them hold it for them. The women were stunned. They’re from a town in Texas where they don’t have an independent bookstore. They browsed and bought a mass market romance that I’m sure they didn’t really need, but I felt like they were returning the favor.

Another set of peepers had come all the way from England and they were flying pig collectors. We have four shelves by the register where we display some of the flying pigs customers have given us. I kept trying to explain that none of those was for sale, that they were gifts. This woman just didn’t care. She was good-natured about it, but a little relentless. I showed her the flying pigs we had for sale, but no dice. We talked about mysteries and she had this look on her face. Finally, I asked her what was going on. She said our flying pig statue by the front door would fit in her suitcase. She collects flying pigs and wouldn’t it be great for me to give it her. I raised my eyebrow and said, “Seriously, leave the pig alone.”  I tried to get her to talk about how beautiful the foliage is and she just wouldn’t have any of it.  She just kept coming back to the statue. Her friend finally dragged her out of the store after they bought a short story collection.

When I closed up I checked the front door. The statue was still there.

5 thoughts on “The Peepers Are Here!

  1. Dinah Stevenson

    I wonder whether David Wiesner’s picture book TUESDAY or THE THREE PIGS, both of which include flying pigs, might have served as a useful distraction.

  2. Mary Quattlebaum

    Would she have been happy if her friend had taken a photo of her with your pig? Then she could frame it and tuck it amongst her flying pig collection. Or better yet, have the friend take a picture of you and the collector with the statue? (I offer this only because sometimes kids will get very attached to a particular prop at a book talk and want to take it–much like your lady!Suggesting to parents that they take a photo of kid, prop, book, even author 🙂 can head off disappointment and tears.

  3. Peggy

    The aspens are in their splendor here in New Mexico. Here’s a poem by Richard Garcia for you.

    The clouds pass

    The clouds pass in a blue sky
    Too white to be true
    Before winter sets in
    The trees are spending all their money

    I lie in gold
    Above a green valley
    Gold falls on my chest
    I am a rich man.

  4. Peni Griffin

    Well, that’s blinking rude – asking for a present! I don’t understand why people don’t feel they can admire something and carry it away in their heads – like the foliage. If you’d given it to her and she’d gotten home, she probably wouldn’t have ever looked at it again anyway.

    At least she bought something.

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