Thursday, June 29, 2006
It's All About the Customers
We attract the world’s best customers. How, this continues to happen I don’t know, but we do. I think it’s a sort of magic, a divine alchemy of the spirit. For sure it’s more than plain dumb luck, as it’s happened repeatedly ever since we opened up shop. Our customers are kind and forgiving when we make mistakes, lavish in their praise when we get it right, funny, interesting, and amazingly constant. Though we’ve never met a single one in person, an email from Zippy in Israel, or Zee in New York, a phone call from Wendy in California, or Norman in Kentucky never fails to produce a little zing of pleasure. I am so grateful to them all, not only because of their faith in me and their repeat business, but for the joy they bring from all over the globe.
Sometimes these wonderful customers have even sent us presents. Once a beautiful handmade, leaded glass angel nightlight arrived from Virignia. Another time a red plaid tin of black licorice came from Pittsburgh, via the Vermont Country Store. And a winter afternoon’s darkness was brightened by the surprise of four delicate brass, filigree bookmarks from Korea. They’ve sent books, photos from their fishing trips in New Zealand, bookends from Paris, and the video Stone Reader, which engrossed and delighted us every evening for a week. Not only did we watch the film, but all the add-ons too. Lisa from Brooklyn thought we’d love it and she was right.
Our customers have also given us untold amounts of useful information and advice. When I broke my arm, Michael from Oregon came up with a brilliant suggestion for acquiring inexpensive help. And when I needed to know whether or not to spend a hundred dollars on a drop-dead pair of vintage Hattie Carnegie earrings, Pat from Missouri, an antiques dealer, checked them out online and told me to go for it – NOW. They’ve also taken an interest in our family. When our youngest daughter was abducted and briefly kidnapped at gunpoint this past year at college they calmed my spirit, sent me their prayers and good wishes, and rejoiced with us in the outcome. Ditto for the long months we waited for our first grandson to be adopted from Korea.
Over the years we’ve sold books to great museums, famous authors, a senator at his yacht, Ivy League colleges, and even to a maven of manners and etiquette. While we enjoyed the thrill of brushing up against the lofty and important and appreciated the business, when all is said and done it’s the golden old faithfuls and the quicksilver enchantment of those who come by only once, but leave behind a piece of themselves, that remind us how very blessed we are to be booksellers.