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27 November 2007

Report From The Trenches. [More:]Today around 5:30 (a half hour before the buying counter closes at the Famous Indie Bookstore, we had a line out the door of people waiting to sell us books that I had to unload. The guy at the head of the line..well, he looked he was going to a party dressed as an Upper Class Twit: yachting blazer, lavender corduroy pants, black slippers with embroidered pitchfork-brandishing devils on them, pink-checked oxford shirt and a fucking ascot for crying out loud. He had about 15 bags full of art auction catalogs, picture books of yachts and horse racing at Saratoga, and shit like that. After him was a homeless dude from one of the missions nearby (Salvation Army's national headquarters is nearby, too, so we got a lot of them) who I see almost every other day, with one bag full of paperbacks that looked as if they'd been run over by a car. He was a guy anywhere between 50 and 200 years old with rheumy eyes, a resigned expression, and dirt on his clothes so thick you could have drilled for oil in it.

Both of them reeked of gin.

Holidays in retail. It's an adventure.
If it's not already too late to do any good, make sure your immunizations are current, jonmc.
posted by paulsc 27 November | 19:56
Please tell me you got a pic of the yachting blazer and lavender pants and the slippers.
posted by iconomy 27 November | 19:58
Better than reeking of Dessert.
posted by netbros 27 November | 19:58
Of course, the customers are only half the fun, Neil: the head buyer, who I work with all day, is a little graying pitbull of a man (see this incident) who I've seen yell at (no joke) nuns, blind men and midgets on crutches with equal vociferousness.

I also ran into Russ, an old manager of mine from a different bookstore in a different state roughly 9 years ago. I'm amazed he rocgnized me, since I was a lot hairier in those days. He's a genial cat with an immaculate white beard and a full head of white hair, so we used to call him Obi-Russ Kenobi.
posted by jonmc 27 November | 20:05
First time I've ever heard of a bookstore that has trenches... I've known a couple retail operations that could've used them...
posted by wendell 27 November | 20:27
New York, wendell, it ain't LA.
posted by jonmc 27 November | 20:28
Is it like that Steely Dan song?
posted by ikkyu2 27 November | 20:42
If it isn't it should be.
posted by jonmc 27 November | 21:17
Steely Dan?
...that fearsome excavation on Magnolia Boulevard
(That ditch out in the valley that they're digging just for me)

Interestingly, I lived way too much of my life within spitting distance of one part of Magnolia Blvd. or another. (The street is actually interrupted in a couple places, including the 405 Freeway which it was not allowed to cross), and at more than one occasion there has been a "fearsome excavation" there, including what became the last mile of the L.A. Metro Rail Red Line Subway thingy.

Which is totally irrelevant to anything, but I thought I'd mention it anyway.
posted by wendell 27 November | 21:21
So, based on your description, I'm pretty sure the first guy was Austin from the first season of Project Runway.
posted by Miko 27 November | 22:05
Actually, this guy was about thirty years older than that Austin fellow and somewhat the worse for wear.
posted by jonmc 27 November | 22:13
What's for dinner? || Was that a wolf?