Secondhand Bookshops are Disappearing, and not Just in Your City

About twenty-five years ago, I did volunteer work in a struggling used bookshop in San Francisco.  Eventually, the store went out of business, but I was happy to keep paperback shelves stocked for customers who read everything from pop fiction to ancient history. I went through a meticulous process with each book.  First, I inspected the book carefully to look for damage or highlighter/underlining marks, and unfolded a few dog eared corners.  Then I wrote the price in large numerals with a #2 pencil that wasn’t too sharp.  Then each book was shelved exactly where it belonged. Whether the book was … Continue reading Secondhand Bookshops are Disappearing, and not Just in Your City

Being Honest is Worth the Trouble, but it’s Still Trouble

This morning I went through an annoying formality which I hope most of you would also be willing to tolerate.  A $45.00 item which I bought online has shipped, but the charge for it has disappeared from my bank record. Initially, the charge was visible when I made a checking inquiry, and I thought everything was fine.  However, after I went through something complicated with a different order placed with the same retailer, the charge disappeared. I thought I’d get it cleared up this morning, by using the shopping site’s Customer Service chat feature.  The person I communicated with was … Continue reading Being Honest is Worth the Trouble, but it’s Still Trouble

Shop Local For The Holidays

The title of this post should have an asterisk next to it.  Then, the bottom of the page should have the words, “If you can afford it.” It isn’t easy doing things right.  Most of us can’t buy everything from a small retailer who must mark up prices to pay overhead.  We fall back on chain stores or online shopping sites, which in the long run don’t support the local economy. If you want to be an apologist for online shopping, there are legitimate positions you can take.  Those companies create business for the USPS (which needs as much business … Continue reading Shop Local For The Holidays

The Guilt Merry-Go-Round

Having an honorable life isn’t always easy when you buy used merchandise.  You don’t know where most of it came from, meaning you don’t know whether it was stolen before you got your hands on it. Some people look the other way — whether the goods are new or used — and refuse to pass up a bargain on something they want or need.  They may inspect the item and hope there are no bed bug eggs in it, but they don’t think about legal or ethical problems in the supply line.  They buy new items from the back of … Continue reading The Guilt Merry-Go-Round