i miss black fridays. i would never participate as a customer, but they used to be a gas from the other side of the counter. i worked in a barnes and noble for 10 years in edxchange for a dental plan, and aside from the immediate access to a surfeit of books, the holidays are the only time i miss, the adrenaline rush and the moments when you get to rescue people. a large part of the populace only visit bookstores during the holidays; entering a big box bookstore like a middle aged man lingerie shopping. they want to get what they came for, but have no idea how to find it and would rather not spend any time looking. i would gather a huddle of 5 to 7 customers all displaying blank helpless faces and lead them off like a mother duckling. my circuituous route was designed to deliver one customer at a time to the appropriate corner of the store; doubling back to pick up another batch of ducklings. a holiday customer would come in clutching a scribbled note with some vital piece of information missing. when i’d say, “sure, we have got that. right this way.” their face goes from panic and helpless to relaxed and thankful, and for a few moments they consider you a genius. but i do wish i had a nickel for every “how do you find anything in here?” comment.
i am sitting here hoping that cyber monday yields enough sales to pay a bill or two before the holidays. it’s always nice to start the new year by exchanging new bill collectors for old.