Used and Abused
On a recent visit to Barnes and Noble, I witnessed book and magazine mistreatment that drew my ire. More than a few patrons were snuggled up on the various chairs and sofas flipping through books and periodicals. This alone didn’t bother me too much, and I even managed to suppress a grimace as one man licked his finger while flipping the pages of an apparently riveting Maxim magazine.
It was when that same man took a sip from a steaming cup of Starbucks coffee and placed the dribbling cup on top of a pile of books that I nearly lost my mind. Now I’ll be the first to admit my OCD book habits–I wouldn’t dream of dog-earring my pages and could never bring myself to leave books face down to hold my page–but this behavior went above and beyond typical book browsing.
I lingered a bit more to see if he would purchase the book with the small coffee stain but never saw him do more than make a few additional trips to fortify his cache of magazines. I imagine that he left the store without making any purchases, leaving the well-thumbed copy of Maxim behind, too.
I know it’s not my job to police browsers and shoppers at the local bookstore, but I just couldn’t help myself. This blatant disrespect for merchandise really annoyed me. My husband agreed, but in his zen-like way explained that I can’t control the behavior of other people, only my own response. (Thank you, Dr. Phil.)
At the end of the night, the lightly stained book was probably re-shelved for an unsuspecting shopper to purchase. When I buy a new book, it’s reasonable to expect that it’s in new condition. I shouldn’t discover stained pages from a previous browser’s sticky fingers after I get it home. Is it really so much to ask?