An Old Kind of New

Well, the racing season is going in full blast and we are finally reaping some of the rewards from it. It’s been a long time since I had an actual line form in front of me at the register, but when it finally happened last week, I was reminded of what it used to be like. I couldn’t help but feel a sense of excitement and newness, even though it was really, just very old. It’s kind of like when you have something for a long time and then get tired of it and stick it in the back of your closet only to forget about it, and then find it years later after you’ve long since forgotten about it. It was that kind of new feeling. It reminded me just how much I love meeting new people and helping them find a different perspective on life through the books and gifts that we sell at our store. Sometimes a book or a gift is really more than just that. It could be someone’s perfect gift, or greatest moment, and knowing that I am able to help them ascend to that makes me feel special and productive. I have a lot to be grateful for in my life, and I have never held back my love or appreciation for my bookstore. It really has given me more than I could ever give it.

Forced Vacation

Due to the sidewalk construction in Del Mar that is happening literally right outside our door, we have been unable to open our doors at all this week since Sunday. We hope that the construction will be complete by Friday afternoon. The only interesting thing that came out of this was that we (Mom and I) got a sort of mini-forced vacation out of the deal though as time goes, we have not truly used it wisely. Mom got sick with a bad cold and has spent most of it in bed getting better and I have been running mundane errands and watching too much TV for the most part. I did however manage to stick my nose in a book that I actually read a while ago, title “Invoking Angels.” I know many of you want to stop reading right now because you think I will go on some religious rant, but stay with me here, because I promise I won’t. Religion and politics are two things I personally believe should not be lectured about. Everyone is entitled to feel how they feel and I have no plans on trying to change anyone’s mind because I wouldn’t want anyone trying to change mine, not that they could :) Regardless, the book is written by a Rabbi who focuses most of his writing on how to invoke guardian and archangels through different forms of meditation. Over the past several months, I have actually practiced these meditations on several occasions and to say that I have experienced interesting phenomenon would be an understatement. I invite everyone, no matter what your religious views are to look into this book, if only because it may prove to be a unique learning experience. I’ve always been the type of person to try to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. Not because I want to think like the other person, but simply because it might help me understand where they’re coming from and perhaps even affect my life in someway as well.

Anyway, today is Thursday, so it will be back to work for me very soon. I look forward to seeing everyone this weekend. I hope the weather stays nice and sunny like today.

Stealing Has No Price Limit

So, a while back I wrote about how this recession has sparked a shoplifting spree and I always knew that I would follow up on that blog, I just didn’t know when and today seems to be the perfect day.

A customer came in and started looking at some bookbuttons that we have, which are basically magnetic bookmarks. She found a tennis one that she really liked and got all excited that she saw three hanging on the hook. “Perfect,” she said. “One for each of my friends.” As she took down the first two bookbuttons, a look of disappointment washed over her face. “Uh oh,” she said, looking over at me. “There’s one missing.”

I walked over there not sure what she meant by “one missing,” and that’s when I saw it. Someone had actually taken off one of the book buttons and left its packaging empty, hanging in the very back so no one would notice. The lady decided to buy three different book buttons for her friends, and I took the empty wrapper to the register with me and tossed it aside onto the counter. I wondered who would take such a small thing as a book button. It only costs $5.99 plus tax.

So, last year it was cashmere scarves, and understandably so since they cost well over $60. But this year, even though book sales are being eaten by gourmet dogs, people are still finding a need to mark their place, I’m just not sure if it’s just in a book or in life itself. Either way, there’s got to be a better way of doing it then stealing.

Gourmet Dog Food Eats Away At Book Sales

So, I finally figured out where people are spending their money. It used to be that folks came to the bookstore and bought a few books and maybe a gift item or two, but for a while now, business has been slow and I just blamed the economy. But it turns out that its those damn gourmet dog food cafes. Just the other day, a lady came in with her german shepard, a beautiful dog by the way, and asked me how much an angel was in the window. I told her the price, and she said she really liked the angel, but she wanted to think about it. In the meantime, she said that she was going over to Three Dog Bakery. A gourmet dog bakery just across the street and of course she never did come back for that angel.

So there you have it, the dogs take it again. It’s really a good thing that I’m such a dog lover, but gourmet dog food, even I couldn’t have thought of that.

Recession Sparks Shoplifting Spree

According to Yahoo news, this ongoing recession has sparked an out of control shoplifting spree:

“TheĀ global recessionĀ isn’t just making jobs scarce and spending money tighter – it’s also turning more people into thieves. According to an annual survey released Tuesday, incidents of shoplifting rose by nearly 6% over the past year, representing nearly $115 billion in losses for businesses. And one of the more surprising findings: a growing number of new shoplifters are outwardly reputable, middle-class people who are walking off with French cheeses, quality meats, cosmetics, mobile phones, clothing and other goodies that they feel they need to maintain a quality of life they can no longer afford.”

As startling as this may seem at first, it isn’t really that surprising. If shoplifting existed before the recession, then hard times would only cause more people desperate to maintain an unachievable lifestyle to resort to measures that they would normally never stoop to, including stealing.

And, it’s easy to convince yourself that stealing a scarf or a pair of earrings just once or twice isn’t really going to hurt anyone and you have wanted them for so long. Who’s to say you haven’t earned it, especially now when you’re working so hard and getting so little, if anything in return. But, just consider this one little fact: you may not be the first person to steal from that shop, and after you leave, there may be others who do the same. So, a $20 gift stolen five times over, has just cost the shop owner $100, and because sales are down due to this recession, the shop owner is already at a loss, even before any theft has occurred. And, if the shop owner can’t make rent, they are forced to cut back their hours and their loyal staff, and then more people are left unhappy and desperate, and the cycle continues.

People often lose sight about what the holiday season is really about. As a shop owner and an avid shopper, I have learned that whatever significance the days ahead hold in your life and heart, the most cherished and sought after gifts will not be the ones you steal, and perhaps, not even the ones you can buy.

 

Transitions

There have been many days that I have spent sitting in my bookstore with only the hum of the traffic outside to keep my thoughts company. It is easy to get discouraged in moments like that, when it seems that the whole world has abandoned it for something else, or something better, but really they have not.

All these lulls have also given me the opportunity to really think about who I am and focus my thoughts on what else I want to do in my life. For two years, I have been just a bookstore owner, but recently, I have found that there is more to life than that, even if that is a wonderful part of it. It really is only a part, maybe a big part, but still just a part of who I am.

Before buying my bookstore, I was a writer. Actually, I never really stopped being a writer, I just stopped writing for a while. It became so infrequent that I actually feared that I had lost the talent of writing that I once proudly boasted about. But, as soon as I was able to cast my fear aside and really commit myself back to writing, I found that it all flowed out of me just as it had before, only now it was different – surprisingly, it was better! There was a new depth to it, a stronger meaning that most of my writing lacked a few years before.

So, the time that I took off, those years when I claimed that I was no longer a writer because I had not written anything, were just a transition period. I was growing up. I was learning about who I was in relation to myself and to the rest of the world. So now, as my bookstore finds itself in a new stage brought on by the recession, I know that it has not been forgotten or misplaced, but rather it is going through a period in its life that it will one day come out of and be stronger and better for having gone through it.

A day in the life of…

So many people I meet always marvel when I tell them that I own a bookstore. For some, it is an unrealized dream, while for others still, it is simply a mystery that they are eager to know more about. Of all the small businesses, I think that a bookstore is actually one of the most romantic and worthy sought after ventures. However, with the Amazons, Borders and Barnes and Nobles of the world constantly expanding and multiplying, it is becoming harder and harder to stay afloat, especially amidst the current economic situation of our nation. Still, as long as my love for the business and my respect for the bound written word inspires me I will continue to persevere.

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