This weekend the Housing Works bookstore was having a 30% off sale. I wasn't sure of their regular prices (I was only in the store once, for a BookCrossing meeting), but this seemed worth checking out. Except for the fact I have too many books.
The store is open until 7 pm. Yesterday, I couldn't get it together to get there in time. Today, I was also running late but figured if I limited my shopping time, I wouldn't go crazy. Also, there was the physical limitation of what I could carry (I was prepared to take a cab home).
I got to the bookstore around 5:30 this afternoon, armed with some tote bags within a tote bag to help carry. As many of you have seen, my regular purse is a soft attache which I wear on my shoulder (I still haven't replaced it with the nicer tote I recently bought). When I entered the store, I was asked to check my tote bags (understandable) as well as my purse (whaa? It's not THAT big).
I did not want to leave my personal items and valuables behind, so began removing them - lists of books wanted (13 pages) and books already owned (19 pages) which I needed in order to shop; wallet containing $92, receipts, IDs, and a $95 theater ticket; change purse with a broken zipper containing 15 coins; 2 Metrocards and a New York Times employee ID; a card holder with more IDs such as insurance and museum memberships; keys.
Emptying all this out, I realized I'd need, well, a bag to cart it around. I would not be able to consult the lists and juggle all these loose items, especially since the coins could easily fall out of the change purse. It would be easy to lose these things as well as my keys if I had to carry them around along with the books I would be buying.
So I said, "Forget it" and left. The women at the counter suggested I leave the valuables in the bag and come back if I needed them (like, to pay). My response: "If you don't trust me, I don't trust you." (They would not accept a $20 bribe to let me keep my purse with me.)
So Housing Works has lost out on my business. Not only today, but in the future. I was seriously considering becoming a member. Forget that. And I buy lots of books. But not from them. In addition, I might have donated my 1000+ book collection to them eventually, but no more.
I realized on the train coming home that I had the exact same bag with me when I previously went to the store in June, 2005, and was allowed to bring it in. Of course, I did not steal anything then, and I would not now. Or ever.
(I told them this in a letter.)