As if a bookstore doesn’t brighten the world all on its own, I made a glorious attempt at public humor yesterday. It’s story time!
“Oops, I did it again…” Yeah, I’m dancing like Britney!
It wasn’t an “oops” at all. It was a deliberate act of disobedience to my spending plan!
I meant to just have lunch and maybe get a few things at Costco; important things like tequila and a new pair of shoes. And then it happened. Someone suggested the bookstore and a cup of coffee.
Damn. My weakness.
“Ok, sure. I’ll just look around. I could use a cup of coffee, maybe a cookie.”
We walk in and start browsing.
“Oh, look! That book of poetry I was planning on getting!”
No, you don’t need that. You just got his other book.
“I could use a few novels. What’s this? A book about letters going missing, and Neil Gaiman says, “Glorious.” Yes, please!“
“Buy one get one, get one 50% off.” That’s just begging me to buy it. What else looks interesting…
And were we go. You know how this ends, right? You’ve been there.
You know what I really wanted to look for? A new hard copy of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. That is my dad and I’s book. I can’t remember if he shared it with me or the other way around, but we both loved all of Douglas Adams, and I’ve read the whole “trilogy” several times since high school.
I’m about to admit something terrible, so hold on to yourself.
When we made our big move out to the desert…gulp…I purged many of my books. I know! I’m sorry! We were hiring a mover and the less we had to move, the cheaper it would be. I lost a lot of books in that battle. I still question my judgment. Why THOSE books?
But I digress.
I’ve been meaning to re-read all the Hitchhiker books and I have them on my Kindle, but… What can I say? I love the physical paper in my hands! Mine! All mine!
Add that to the pile.
Now I’m in the second most dangerous section of the bookstore, science fiction. Oh, what’s this? Ray Bradbury? Philip K. Dick? Dammit.
“That’s it! No more! We’re leaving!”
I hear a voice behind me, “But let’s just take a look over here.”
“Didn’t you promise me coffee and a cookie?”
There’s a line at the register. I haven’t seen that in a while.
“Um…excuse me. Are you in line?”
“What? Oh! Yes! Sorry, I was sidetracked by sparkly things in the cue!”
“I hear that. Happens to me all the time.”
I move up.
“I can help the next customer on #1!”
I skip up the counter, plopping down three books. “Hold on, there are more coming!” My friend lags, also distracted by sparkly things.
“Do you have a membership?”
“No, but can I get a percent off for being pleasant?”
She laughs, and I continue.
“What if that were a thing? We can all give any customer a discount for being a little nice and attentive.” I sigh. “Might start a revolution.”
I pay for my books…choke…that was unintended…and head to the coffee counter. While I wait, I take a picture of my hoard and post it on Instagram.
On my drive back into the desert, I start to think about my idea. What if we did have a system like that? I call my while I drive and tell him all about it. At first, we’d get points just for smiling, or reacting to each other as if we weren’t NPCs, but then we’d get used to that and start vying for favor. We’d hold doors, compliment each other. “No, after you, please. I insist.”
It would escalate to spending our time in line thinking of clever retorts and anecdotes to gain more points at the register. Sounds beautiful, doesn’t it?
My brother had another idea about saving on car insurance and state registration for getting good points and charged more for getting bad points. We could all have a QR code on our bumper and people can scan it and give you points and reviews. Like Yelp but for drivers.
Of course, there would be that person that just gives everyone they see bad points because they’re a jerk and have too much time on their hands, but the system would see that and delete them.
I have this all worked out. Please contact me for details and we can create a whole new system that encourages people financially not be a…person of ill repute. (That’s me trying to be polite. Man…it hurts my soul.)