Diary of a Bookseller

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

On Monday I went back into the bookstore to start the slow process of getting us ready for an eventual reopening – one that has started with curbside pickup and will grow from there.

Diary of a Bookseller #16

After six weeks unable to work on the floor due to a knee injury followed immediately by nine weeks at home in self isolation, I was itching for some semblance of a return to normalcy. After reviewing our governor’s orders regarding the stay at home directive for our county, my boss and I discovered that we could easily provide a curbside pickup for books, just as many other retail establishments in our area were doing.

I laugh to myself when I say “easily.” Yes, in theory, people place orders, we fill them from the store instead of sending them to the warehouse for shipping. No problem, right? It wasn’t long before we realized that we would want to allow people to use coupons and discounts tied to our in store POS versus our online eCommerce site which are not directly connected. But we wanted people to place orders online so we could send them an automated completion email when their order was ready for pickup.

Then we realized that we weren’t going to have a lot of pickup hours during the week (2 hrs/day Monday through Friday) so we had to still offer other options for getting books, which meant that we had to keep shipping but we’d want to ship from the store, not directly from the warehouse. Which meant setting up an account with USPS’ Stamps.com, which then glitched out on us. And of course, add the Memorial Day holiday this weekend and everything got slowed down. And that’s before I even think about the 20,000 books that have started to arrive at the store – I’m due TWO full PALLETS of boxes on Tuesday!

But honestly, I wouldn’t change any of this for anything at this point. Yes, my role has grown exponentially as I’m still the only one really working (the rest of the staff will join me when we get to go to the “yellow” phase I hope) but it was all worth it when I ran into one of our local teachers at the grocery store and she proceeded to tell me (from a safe social distance) that she was absolutely beyond excited that we’d begun the process of opening the store back up and how she just couldn’t wait to get a book!

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