May 1, 2016

Tales From The Bookshop | They're In My Sock, Quick Lets Go! | Empty Boxes

In this series called Tales from the Bookshop I'm retelling a bunch of unexpected events and strange interactions that happened to my wife and I during our time working in a bookshop, many of them left us wondering if we were in an episode of The Twilight Zone.

They're in my sock, quick lets go!

When my wife and I were offered a full time job at a Christian bookstore I thought I was in heaven. Even though we didn't get paid very much* at least I would be around books and the types of people who enjoy reading. This was going to be awesome, at least that's what I initially believed.

It didn't take long for 'the scales to fall from my eyes', as I should have know from my time working as a pastor, Christians aren't perfect and some still needed a long way to go.

One of the first things that disappointed me was an incident that happened several months before I started working full time at the bookshop.  It was finding out that Bibles were one of the most stolen items at a Christian bookstore, the more expensive it was the bigger the target it had on it.
Remember these?

If you're interested W.W.J.D wristbands were the most stolen item. Can you imagine that? Looking at the W.W.J.D wristband and thinking:

'What Would Jesus Do? Ummm.... would He steal this wristband?  Nah, he'd steal 5.  They're in my sock, quick lets go! '

This tale happened before I even starting working in a bookshop...

Empty Boxes.

I had time before my next meeting, so I dropped by the Christian bookstore to see if anything new had come in.  As I walked in I noticed the manager was noticeably agitated and hard at work moving the Bible section that was right by the entrance down to a section close by the counter.  I found out that several expensive leather bound bibles had gone missing, only no one was sure when they had disappeared because the presentation boxes that they came in were still on the shelf.  What seemed to have happened is that someone had come in and removed the bible leaving the presentation box on the shelf, making it look like the Bible was hidden behind the counter.  It was only noticed when someone wanted to purchase a bible and it couldn't be found in it's box or out the back.  'This has happened before so I'm moving the whole Bible section down here were I can keep an eye on them' says the manger.  'It's happened before? Who steals a Bible?' I ask incredulously.  'Its not uncommon and happened a lot when I was in Sydney, didn't think it would happen out here in the sticks' the manager says.

I headed off to my meeting. The venue this meeting was held had a resource centre attached to it and they also sold Bibles.  So after the meeting we're walking through the resource centre and I start telling them of the Bibles that were stolen over at the Christian bookshop.
'So what happened is that they took the Bible out of the box and left the empty box on the shelf making it look like it's still there.' I tell them.
'What are they doing about it?' Asks the Office Manager
'Well, they've moved all the Bibles closer to to counter and away from the door.  They're also opening the boxes, by taking the lid off and placing it on the back, so you can see the bible inside. Like this...'
I pick up the nearest Bible box, which read Genuine Leather Study Bible only to find it empty.
'This one's empty... and this one, and this one too!'

Turns out that the resource centre had their expensive Bibles stolen as well. The next time I saw the Office Manager of the resource centre she told me that she had contacted the other shop which sold Bibles in our town to warn them of what was happening, only to find that when they checked all their Bibles in presentation boxes were empty too.

It was so disappointing. This just makes it harder for small book shops like this to say in business to service the area.

Did you have any strange requests or interactions which happened while you were working in a bookshop?  I'd love to hear them.

* Our official title was missionary, so we were expected to raised our support and money from the Christian community.

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