books: bookmarks

I just found a fortune cookie fortune someone used as a bookmark.
It reads


Man, they were thisclose to the greatest Engrish typo of all time.

People use all sorts of stuff as bookmarks, although uninteresting scraps of blank paper are far and away the most common.  I've found Opium Dealer Tax Stamps (circa 1925), Iraqi folding money with Saddam's face on it, nude snapshots, green stamps, grocery lists, playing cards, newspaper clippings (usually related to the book or the author of the book), bible tracts & one time a ribbon of condoms, thankfully still in their packages.

Customers always ask if I'm looking for money when I flip through their books, but I'm just checking for loose pages & highlighting.  Contrary to urban legend hardly anyone hides money in books- I found a $20 one time, and the boss (with 40+ years in the biz) once found a crisp $100 bill, but that's it.

The largest monetary find came from one of our longtime regulars, Paulette.
She led a merry, globe-trotting life in another age, but is now a frail widow who stops by several times a week as dictated by the city bus schedule. She used to drive me crazy- she's always putting stuff on hold, but she's not sure if she has a copy or not and wonders if she can call us later if she has it and we can put it back?
Eventually I got enough therapy under my belt to realize she wasn't accosting me, she was just lonely- now we get along famously.

Anyway, a while back we bought a large library from a retiring professor, an avid reader and collector his entire life with an emphasis on foreign languages and the classics, which also happens to be Paulette's main areas of interest.  In the process of meticulously inspecting one of his books she found an envelope containing $300.

Paulette is old school- even in the reduced circumstances of a pensioner living on public assistance, counting pennies to make sure she can cover bus fare, she marched up to the counter and turned the cash over to the boss.

He tried to persuade her to take it- no dice.
He tried bargaining- you take half, we take half.
He tried giving her a $300 store credit in exchange.
She wouldn't hear of it.

Eventually he took the money, having run out of other options.  We do what we can for her, or rather we do what she'll let us do- she won't accept discounts, so we have to try and sneak them past her.
And I don't take her books off hold any more, at least not without checking with her first.

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