There's a guy who comes in sometimes who's a pill- myopic, arrogant and eager to share his (usually misinformed) opinions. He occasionally buys stuff so I humor his eccentricities. His comments today left me literally slack jawed with amazement.
I'm at the counter pricing, nearly buried in books- the cupboard behind me is invisible behind a wall of stuff awaiting pricing, there are boxes and boxes of donated stuff at the end of the counter awaiting sorting, the counter itself is stacked with the books I've already priced, and at my feet is the growing stack of weekend buys. You could open up a small shop with the ammunition stacked around me.
So the Pill wanders up with his bag of candy- he always has a bag of candy from the shop across the street, Swedish Fish usually. He chews them loudly, openmouthed, and issues his statements around the mouthful of jellied fish. And he says,
"So...today I'm going to see if you guys ever really get in any new books."
Surrounded by new books, I goggle at him.
"You know, I think the economy, it's really making all the bookstores slide down, I don't think they're really getting any new books in."
"Ah...we're DROWNING in new books." I manage to sputter out.
"Huh..well, we'll see!"
You know what happens when the economy tanks?
People need money. When they need money, they sell their stuff.
Like, their books.
We're seeing way more books than we ever have- we're not overstocked because we aren't selling stuff, but because for the first time in my career we're seeing and buying more good books than we can sell. We've tightened our standards over and over, but we're still neck deep.