For Pete's Sake
Pete runs a second hand collectibles store. He specializes in books. My son and I were looking for a book store. I was directed to his store by one of the locals. “He has over 30,000 books in his catalogue. And he remembers every one of them. He is just across the road there.” So we walked across the road to meet Pete.
The shop is an old guesthouse, dating back to early twentieth century. It is steeped in tradition. Plenty of rooms. And open spaces. Covered in books. From floor to roof. Sorted in categories. Home-made labels identifying the category. As you enter it is easy to be overwhelmed with the thousands of books that are housed here.
We had spent about 10 minutes looking at hundreds of columns of books. It was then that I noticed an elderly man in the store. Looking at the customers. Observing what books they were picking off the shelf. This must be Pete. I watched him as he let his customers find their way. Let them get comfortable with all the books that surrounded them. Just like my son was doing.
“Would you like some help? What books are you looking for?” Pete asked my son politely. My son told him that he was looking for the Deltora Quest series of fantasy books written by Emily Rodda. Immediately Pete whisked him away to a column of books that included many Fantasy titles. He helped him find three.
Then he asked my son if he had heard of some other authors that were similar to Emily Rodda. When my son answered No, Pete pulled out another couple of books from the stack in front of them. He gave my son a summary of each one. He talked very enthusiastically about each book. He had obviously read them.
On the way to the counter, Pete walked past another book that he thought would be of interest to my son. He stopped and explained to my son why he thought it was so interesting. He mentioned other authors and how the books they had written were alike. He spoke a language that my son could easily relate to.
All of a sudden my son had 5 books that he could enjoy. They would inspire him with ideas for his own creative writing projects. As soon as we walked out the store we could here Pete ask another customer, “Would you like some help? What books are you looking for?”
A book lover helping other book lovers.
It helps when you start with empathy.
Image by Free-Photos