Our local independent bookstore, Pages for All Ages, held their going out of business sale beginning today at 10 a.m. I happened to have a flexible morning, so I went over there at 10 after hitting the gym. And stood in line to get in. It was swamped; and I'd be tempted to say, "Where were all of you before when it mattered?" but I could tell that most everyone HAD been here before. It just wasn't enough, I guess.
Many of us had gift cards purchased for Christmas or Hannukah; we all wanted to cash in on those. But it was more than that; this was a local independent going down, and those of us who could wanted to be there to say goodbye.
The lines to purchase our discounted books and merchandise were long, but we had no idea how long. I got into line around 11:45. By 1:30 I had become friends with my line-mates: a school librarian, two college students, and a woman named Gail. At some point we realized the utter foolishness of standing in line for hours to get a 40% discount (50% for CDs, 70% magazines). Surely our time was worth more than that. But by that time a curious line psychology had set in: once you've been waiting in line to 1.5 hours, you're willing to stick it out because by god you don't want to say you wasted an hour and a half in line for nothing. So you stick it out for twice that time, and more.
One good Samaratin brought in a plate of cheese to share:
By 3:30 we discussed getting a bottle of wine from Friar Tuck's down the street. By 4:25 I was checked out, having spent my gift card and then some, and the day with some complete strangers that I now think of as line friends. Think about it: I didn't have to stand in line this long to see Obama in Springfield when he announced Biden as his running mate. Sigh.
Goodbye, Pages, our last major independent bookseller. We'll miss you.