Thursday, July 24, 2008

Books

Recently I was at the Yonge-Eglinton mall, which houses a big, bright, shiny Indigo bookstore. I have done my fair share of shopping there. But the bookstore that I find hardest to resist is a scruffy little hole-in-the-wall that's located underground in the Eglinton subway station. I have a very hard time walking past it without going in, and once I'm in there's no way I'm leaving without two or three new books.

I justify it by the fact that it's a discount bookstore, offering 50% off the suggested retail price. The fluorescent red price stickers seduce my inner bibliophile.

You can tell how long a book has been there by how dirty it is. The air quality in the subway station is poor, thanks to the constant crowd of buses idling at any of a dozen or so bays just down the hall. All the black, sooty particulate that belches out of their tailpipes finds its way into the store and settles into the pages. After I've been browsing in there for a while, my hands look like I was just fingerprinted at the police station across the road.

It's actually really disgusting and I can't explain why I'm not more put off by the filth. I think at some level I'm convinced that the dirt is only a superficial mask for unknown treasures. Others may be put off, but I'm going in for the gold!

I bring my selections to the cash, where the owner types up the prices and tries to lure me into buying one more book for an additional discount. I usually decline because I've already got enough to carry all the way home. The owner then pulls out his ever-present tool of the bookstore trade: a vacuum cleaner. With the upholstery attachment, he carefully vacuums my books, sucking as much soot as possible from the cracks in the binding and between the pages.

Now that's customer service! Has any bookstore ever vacuumed your books for you? I didn't think so.

12 comments:

whatigotsofar said...

You know, I've never been in that bookstore. It's always closed whenever I'm at that station. (1AM after pubbing with my friends.)

Warped Mind of Ron said...

A bookstore with a vacuum hose... Canada really does have everything!! I need to visit!

Claire said...

What a cute touch.

I looove books :-).

Cxx

Karen said...

That is a cute story. I also love books.

Keera Ann Fox said...

Ack, one store I can't go into without getting lost for hours/leaving with a purchase: Bookstore. To heck with shoes. And purses. I don't get the attraction. But books - ! And stationary - ! Drool...

But I've never had my books vacuumed. OTOH, I've never bought dirty books. ;-)

jameil1922 said...

he'd sure better vacuum those books! disgusting!!

unsigned said...

I've never been sucked off at a book store...

San said...

Come collect another award for your trophy case, Spark. It's over at my place...

San said...

P.S. They've never vacuumed my books. Does sweeping out with a broom count?

Tink said...

This post could be IN a book. While I was reading I could actually smell the soot. Beautifully written!

Dianne said...

I love your sooty little bookstore. They're doing the best they can with what they have to deal with and I love that :)

And as Nana always said - 'there's clean dirt and there's dirty dirt'

Plus - don't ya just love dirty books ;)

Sparkling Red said...

WIGSF: Now you know what you're missing. Somehow I doubt that you're tempted to go in.

Ron: Yes, we have all the amenities. ;-)

Claire: If I had a big house, I'd line every wall with full bookshelves instead of paint or wallpaper.

Karen: You must have trouble finding time to read with your crazy work hours! Although, didn't you say you have some time off now?

Keera: I must say that I am sorely tempted by shoestores too. The only thing restricting my purchasing is storage space. Phooey on small closets!

Jameil: Yeah, I don't think you'd like it in there. It's not a place for the fastidious!

Unsigned: No? What about at the library?

San: Why thank you ever so kindly!
Er, I'm not sure what you mean by sweeping books. You'd have to have very small books or a very big broom.

Tink: Thank you! :-)

Dianne: That's exactly it - it's clean dirt. And the owner is such a nice guy. I like giving him the business.