I was planning on heading to the check out counter after finding six books but we were inundated with tables upon tables of choices at hard to resist prices. Everyone had baskets or shopping carts but I was stubbornly clutching the books in my hand, refusing to get a cart because I promised this will be a quick jaunt and I’m not going to over-buy, until I scooped up some more, gave up and decided to get a cart before heading to join the kilometric queue. When we did merge with the the line, it was a whole new ballgame. That’s when we found MORE Minecraft books that Joshua and Jimmy were pining for. That’s when I found two books for myself that I did not intend to get because I get kindle books because they’re cheaper. This time, the physical books themselves beat the kindle cost so who can resist the lure of the smell and touch of new books.
I usually get second hand children’s books from Booksale and Biblio but this is too good to pass — brand new books at close to pre-loved price. This is the dream I’ve had whenever I salivated in lust and envy at bookstores in China where they had books the way it should be pegged affordably but the only drawback there was they were in Chinese!
Back at the Big Bad, I saw Joshua leafing through a book called The Savage by David Almond and illustrated by Dave McKean. “Do you want this?” I asked him. He answered no. I leaf through it myself and I want it for myself but I ask him around three more times, “Are you sure you don’t want this?” He keeps saying he doesn’t want it, but I put it in with our pile and figured I’d still read it to him. Mine is the mother dilemma of not liking some of the “babyish” books Jimmy wants me to read so I’m always on the look-out for read-aloud books that keep me going. I don’t know if my sneaky cheat would work but we found the biography of Minecraft creator, Markus Pearsson. I grabbed it and said, “I’ll get this for you.” I’m hoping it will make Jimmy fall asleep faster while Joshua listens with (likely, unlikely) sustained attention.
A good technique for next time may be to just go to the tables where the lines don’t pass through, join the line, shop while you queue and voila, time saved. But there is no way you can really save time with the crowds. Nobody’s budging because the deals are too good to pass up. The fun is in discovering books people leave in the wrong pile, seeing you want that book yourself, change your mind and put it in another stack. That practice should be avoided and you should return things where you find them but that’s the element of anarchy that is part of the game. Another entertaining feature of standing in line for hours is discreetly ogling other people’s baskets and carts. A kid peaks into our cart and asks where we found the Minecraft books.
Nearing the cashier, there are more books on the wooden palette dividers. You can see how people changed their minds before the final purchase is made. When I get home, I thought hmmm, maybe I shouldn’t have gotten these two out of eighteen. I intended to buy less than ten but ended up buying almost twenty so if I got them at half or more than half the price that means I still spent more than I intended, but still get much, much more than one gets in the regular bookstore. Chuck budgeting out the window because it’s fun, satisfying and we can’t wait for next year. I want to sneak in there at 5:00 in the morning.