As his friends make their way home from a Friday or Saturday night out, Son gets on his bike (not in the political sense, I think) at 3.40 a.m. and cycles the six miles to work. His part time job at the weekend is selling books for the big bookshop chain at our local airport.
They open at 4.30 in the morning. By then Son will have gone through security like everyone else, which can include taking his shoes off to be X-rayed. And no drinks, just as for passengers. Drinks have to be bought at airport prices.
If the air conditioning in the shop worked it wouldn’t be so hot, but it doesn’t. One of the passengers passing through (who only happened to be an airport director) was so enraged by this that he took advantage of his position (apparently not allowed) to threaten Son. Good work, as it’s clearly Son’s fault that it’s hot, and all sixth formers are quite capable of repairing air conditioning systems. Especially when alone on duty with a queue of shoppers.
Company policy appears to be that staff mustn’t recommend books. They favour not displaying the books in the best way. (Son sold more books than ever, the morning he arrived to find water damaged books from a dripping ceiling, and simply piled them on the floor as a first measure.) And whenever the till doesn’t cope with plastic card chips, staff are supposed to not sell the customers their books.
It’s an interesting and different concept, isn’t it? (Almost like the Swedish state owned off license shops that have a duty to dissuade customers from buying their goods. The idea really appeals to me…)
Anyway, Son sometimes sabotages these rules by giving advice, even occasionally recommending a book (you didn’t read that here!) or displaying books in such a way that they catch the customer’s eye.
I believe customers in so called travel shops are particularly good ones, as they buy more than those in the high street. Perhaps the extra revenue could cover a new, working, till and even pay for an air conditioning engineer? And if there’s any money left over, consider free drinks for staff.
I can tell from the Guardian Review that summer is here. Wouldn’t know it from the weather. It’s time to discuss holiday reading matter.
It’s all very well having the likes of Martin Amis list five books, and probably very long ones at that, to carry them through their holiday. What I want to know is, if you could only take one book this summer, which one would you choose?
I am re-organising my holiday dates, so I expect to have finished Harry Potter when it comes to going away. So looking at my current most urgent pile, I’d probably pick Mary Hoffman’s City of Flowers. It’s long(ish) and has had a long wait.
But I hope you understand that my suitcase will be full of books. Interesting exercise, though. And so difficult I’m relieved it was only an exercise.