Today I became what I think might be the world’s first drive through used bookstore. I took a customer’s order, delivered a book, collected money, and gave change through a driver’s side window while the customer was sitting at the steering wheel. How did this come to happen?
A very nice little old lady lugged in a large bag of books for me to evaluate for purchase. Unfortunately, one half were book club and the other half had mutilated free endpapers (surely, a past owner’s overzealous attempt at removing their identity). The bag being big, and the lady being small, I offered to walk the unwanted merchandise back out to her car.
After dropping the bag in the open trunk, I heard a loud “Excuse me” from a women sitting behind the wheel a few cars over. Turns out that she had come to my store to pick up a copy of “The Seven Mountains of Thomas Merton” for her husband’s Christmas present, but her two young daughters were napping in their car seats. She explained that she wanted to come in - but didn’t want to wake her children - and didn’t want to leave them alone in the car - and was in a rush anyway, just trying to get get everything done. Of course, I told her not to worry, we could work things out.
I went inside, found the book and went back outside where she could inspect it. It was fine, so I brought her money and the book back in, rung it up, wrapped it, and put it in a bag. Using a loud voice, I made sure the other customers in the store were fine, then went back outside and gave the young mother her book, receipt, and change. She thanked me, rolled up her window, started her engine, and backed out of her parking space. The kids were still asleep in the back seat. I went back inside to wait on my other customers.