Walmart is fascinating. Shopping after ten is an experience that you both can’t miss and never want to happen again. The opposite can also be interesting. Mom and pop stores do exist in the Netherlands, but in a different form. My favorite encounter with an American mom and pop store was last summer. During our car rides I had seen a small book store a few blocks from miss Missouri’s apartment. I had determined it was at most a fifteen-minute walk, so I decided to check it out. After a solid forty minutes of walking in the intense Missouri heat, I arrived at the book store. It was at a small store strip, one of those places where several smaller stores and a ridiculous amount of parking spots are placed alongside the road. The book store is cramped in between a Subway sandwich shop and a shady nail salon. Note that book stores for me are like malls to a stereotypical teenage girl. Sometimes, my neck hurts on Sunday just because I’ve been reading book titles in a 90 degree angle all Saturday.
The store was small, to any standard. It didn’t help that too many book cases were actively occupying too many square inches. While I spent hours browsing the books, I started wondering how the guy that owned the store could ever pay his rent. I walked around for a long time and nothing else happened in the store. Nobody walked in, nobody called on the phone and the owner was not actively selling books on the internet, but rather getting high on his own supply. I decided on three books and wanted to pay. The well-read man got up from his chair, strolled to the register and added up the prices for the books. In the middle of this process, the phone rang. He looked at me as if he wanted me to tell him what to do. He answered the phone, looked up a book in his system and then told the tele-client that he did not have the book he was looking for. When he had hung up, he looked at me again and shook his head in disbelief. ‘What do you know’, he said, ‘it always gets busy when I’m just having a customer.’
Do you have a favorite book?