Wednesday, February 14, 2007

One year ago today, a blog was born.

We were all basically snowed in yesterday. The rain that fell most of Monday changed to snow just in time to completely cripple our morning rush hour. All of our schools were closed and most are today as well. Many businesses sent employees home early. Some malls even shut down, but not mine. Oh no. We stayed open until 10 p.m. and it amazed me that we had any customers but I guess some people are willing to take their lives into their own hands and brave the treacherous driving conditions to buy a new book or CD (ever heard of iTunes, people?).

One of our regulars was in the store tonight. We call him Sweatpants Dave. Bet you can't guess why. Anyway, he's a really nice guy. Smart and well-read. A little strange, but who isn't? I couldn't help giving him a hard time about being there last night. "Really, Dave? You had to come tonight?" His only response was, "I'm like a mailman." He stayed in his corner with his pile of books and magazines and iPod and for once he actually vacated his seat before closing time. Dave spends many hours with us, reading our books and drinking our coffee, but don't be fooled by his facade of loyalty. He is known to frequent 2 other Borders and one neighboring B&N. I've seen it with my own eyes. Knowing these other stores as I do, I'd like to think we're his favorite. I think I'll ask him next time I see him.

We have a lot of regulars, some that are only known to a small part of the staff due to the invariance of their routine, like the morning walkers or mall employees, and some that are known to all of us due to their excessive spending or remarkable personalities. There's Michael J. Don't call him Mike! He shares a name with an infamous celebrity and does not like jokes about it. (I can't blame him.) He and his wife are our number one customers - they're nice and they buy more than anyone else. There are the two teenage girls that somehow I've never actually spoken to that sit and study in our cafe with their laptops and iPods and pots of tea. There's the knitting group - almost all teachers - that takes over our cafe and has to be gently prodded out the door every Tuesday night. There's the sweet little lady that's confined to a wheelchair and sometimes falls asleep in it in Mystery/Thriller. I think that her apparent narcolepsy is a part of whatever condition put her in her chair but it has scared multiple other customers into thinking someone has died in our store. There's the large Eastern European family that comes in on Saturday nights and hangs out in Art until we close. There's the mother and daughter team that come in every Saturday and order lots of paperbacks. There's the mean lady that doesn't sign her credit card and then gets mad when we ask for i.d. There's the cheerful woman that comes in most Saturdays with long wishlists from soldiers serving overseas - she buys it all out of her own pocket and I always do what I can to find extra coupons for her. And then there are the countless Manga fans that come in for their weekly fix.

What's scary is that I've started seeing (and recognizing) these people outside of the store. A couple of weeks ago, I checked out an engaged couple that was buying a wedding magazine and I told them how I had just gotten engaged also. They were so congratulatory. So, the next night we went to Bread Co. for dinner (we are creatures of habit) and I was telling Jon about this nice couple as we waited in line. We sit down at our table and I look to the left and they were sitting 2 tables away. It was very Twilight Zone. Then last week, Jon and I were having breakfast with some friends at a restaurant about 20 miles away and one of our stranger female customers was sitting right next to me.

After almost 2 years at the store, it is interesting to see how our "Borders family" extends far beyond those on the payroll. It includes former employees that we've lost to other locations or companies, it includes the bartenders at our favorite after hours haunts (one of them is now dating a fellow bookseller), and it even includes some of our regulars like Dave. And for me, it's not just a virtual family, but a real one as well. Jon and I are actually the second couple to get married from our store.

Which reminds me, Happy Valentine's Day! Happy 1st Birthday to our blog! And yay us - we hit 5000 visitors today!

And I can't close without this short rant. This commercial is creepy and disturbing. Jon and I can't figure out who it is supposed to appeal to - men or women - because we both feel this way.

Almost forgot to tell you. Jack the Cat had a really good report from the oncologist yesterday. He does not think there is any cancer at this point. Yay! We'll hear more about Robbie tomorrow.


Megan said...

Happy Birthday Blog! Jo, other than the disturbing commercial, this was one of the best blogs I've read.

Sars said...

Happy birthday, my dear blog! I really am glad you were born a year ago. You do a great job of keeping us in touch and amused. Here's to another blogging year!

Mrs.Robinson said...

I must be a wierdo (this is not exactly news, of course) because I kind of love that commercial. I think that dance troupe is pretty amazing and I am totally envious of how fit and graceful the dancers are. I'm guessing they don't usually dance in underwear, but still, I'd pay to see one of their shows live.

I don't love them as much as my beloved Career Builder monkeys of course...