true customer tales: Rudolf Steiner

This is another of those things that happens often enough to have its own shelf in my memory palace.

A gal came in looking for Rudolf Steiner books.  He's one of those cats most people have never heard of who is used bookstore gold, being the founder of Waldorf schools, The Anthroposophical Society, and the father of biodynamic agriculture.  Any one of those feats would make him a good used seller, but put them all together and he's the Michael Jordan of new age esoterica.

So, she asks if we have anything by Steiner.
And amazingly, the boss had just imported a ton of Steiner from the warehouse.  Years ago his publishing house remaindered a ton of stuff to make room for new editions and we went whole hog on ordering.  Half went on the shelf, half went to the warehouse- it was the early days of internet selling and we were socking away a bunch of stuff we thought might work.

Anyway, they popped back up in the store. Instead of having nothing, or one or two books, we have an entire shelf full.

Excited, I direct her to the section- it's always fun when we actually have an offbeat title or author someone's looking for.

So she settles in and I go back to pricing.
After a bit she wanders back to the counter and says "there was too much, it was overwhelming!" and leaves without buying anything.


This sort of thing only happens with offbeat stuff.  If someone comes in looking for John Grisham or Stephen King and we've got it, they snap it up.  But sometimes with the offbeat stuff they're put off if you actually have it.

Maybe it's a variation of the Hipster Curse, where the obscurity of your passion is the main part of the attraction.  Sudden popularity, or in this case availability, dulls the savor.

1 comment:

fairoaks said...

She may have left the store because reading Rudolf Steiner can be overwhelming because his work is difficult and needs a previous understanding of terms he uses. To start at the begining read his Philosophy Of Freedom, which is the basis of all his other work. For anyone interested in learning about it a new online Philosophy Of Freedom Study Course is available at http://www.philosophyoffreedom.com . Its Free and includes videos, illustrations, and diagrams to help study the book.