Sunday, January 28, 2007
In a bind (of sorts)...
What to do.
You see this place above? It's Capitol Hill Books; located just outside the Eastern Market in southeast DC. For those unfamiliar, Eastern Market is an indoor/outdoor market servicing all your fresh veggies, meat, flora, and baking or cooking needs. It a great place where families run kiosks of every kind. You can get a fat old hot dog for $1.50, and a pound of thickly cut bacon for $4.00 (and this is serious shit, this bacon. No messing around whatsoever.) The market is a wonderful place to futz around for a couple of hours, get what you need for dinner or the week, and take it all in over a pint or a cup of coffee or tea. CHB is next to it; one of many small restaurants and shoppes to be enjoyed. It all makes for a great Sunday afternoon.
When you go in CHB, it's exactly as it appears from the outside, and pretty much as you would hope from an old used bookstore; the place is simply festooned in books. The front window is as the whole place is. Wherever there isn't a human body or a tiny bit of carpet to walk on, there are books. Thousands of wonderful books strewn over three floors to get lost in. I love it. I love to get lost in the cramped aisles for hours, searching out the next great read. I spend roughly $50 per month in $3.50-$6.00 books, and I love it. There's only one problem.
The owner is a jerk.
Well, I presume he's the owner. He a gentleman of some age, and every time I have ever been in there, he's sitting just inside the door, reading something; so, I presume he is Morton "Jim" Toole, as the card he hands you reads, the owner.
Why is he a jerk? When you walk in, he doesn't say hello. He doesn't say welcome, or any other sort of salutation. He doesn't even bother to lift his head from his reading. He simply says, "fiction's upstairs, reference is downstairs." That's it. It would be cute in a curmudgeonly way if he was an actual curmudgeon. He's not. He's a jerk, and I hate giving him my money. My father works too damn hard at giving people the best possible experience in our family camera store to take care of his family to patronize some, well, "Toole" that can't bother to give you the time of day when you are trying to support his establishment.
I am right, aren't I?
Here's the problem; there aren't too many other used bookstores of the ilk in DC. From a product delivery standpoint, his is excellent. I am right in wanting to cease patronizing him for the shabby way he treats his customers, right?
In the meantime, I will wrestle with this moral issue. If anyone can assuage my concerns, speak up, please. Also, if anyone knows of a good used bookstore in DC that cares when people come in, please let me know. I need a new one.
Oh, and here are a few recent books I've read that are worth checking out.
Lives of the Monster Dogs, Kirstin Bakis
Dirty White Boys, Stephen Hunter
A Death in the Family, James Agee
The Exorcist, William Peter Blatty
The Church of Dead Girls, Stephen Dobyns
Johnny Got His Gun, Dalton Trumbo
They're kind of all over the place in subject matter. All good stuff for different reasons, though.