Something bookstore folks don’t really ever talk about are light bulbs. We are so dependent on them for everything at the store. Obviously, all retail places need them, but you don’t realize how much until you lose two in one section and suddenly your young adult section is as dark as a cave. And it always seems that bulbs go bad in one section all at once. This past week or so we lost not one, not two, but five! Two were from young adult and the rest were scattered about the store, causing small pockets of dimness.
Confronted with needing to buy a replacement case of bulbs (at a usual cost of almost $100), Elizabeth went to our local lighting store, and started placing an order for our usual 50 watt halogens, when our lighting rep suggested trying the new LED bulbs. We had tried them years ago and found the light to not have the retail pop or sparkle of the halogens: things were bright, but dim and the same time. It’s funny how bad lighting can make things look dingy. Frank was touting the wonder of these new LEDs so much, and we totally trust him, so she ordered a case and got spare halogens to tide us over. I got a call that the case had come in yesterday, so I zipped over to pick them up, credit card at the ready.
Frank handed me the case and said, “These will change your life.” I’ve never thought a light bulb could that, so I nodded and smiled. He handed me the bill and I saw the first line. Total cost per bulb: $29.99. I thought, wow, this better change my life at thirty dollars a pop. It came to just about $180 for the case. Then Frank, who was clearly waiting for the big reveal, said, “Keep reading.” I scanned the invoice to discover that yes, these bulbs were that expensive, but because they’re energy efficient, putting out the same brightness as a halogen bulb, while only using 14 watts of energy, the state of Vermont gives you an energy credit for buying them. An instant rebate in the amount of $150 was applied and I tucked my credit card back in my wallet and gave Frank $25 in cash. I saved just over 83% on the case of bulbs. I left there smiling from ear to ear.
I replaced all the bulbs immediately and I must say, not only are they brighter and make the books more sparkly, they give off far less heat, so the store doesn’t get nearly as warm. We will slowly switch out all the old lights to the LEDs and use the money we saved to buy more books.