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Friday, June 17, 2011

You Scratch My Back...

We had a phone call yesterday from someone asking whether we would copy a page from an old Chamber of Commerce Directory and send it to them.  They didn’t want to buy the book – just wanted a copy of the one page and were happy to pay for the service.  Being a  helpful sort of bookseller, I  obliged, and as it really took very little time or effort, told them not to worry that there would be no charge.  About half an hour after sending the e-mail with the attached page, we received a request asking if we would mind sending another page, and again insisting that they should pay us for our research.  So for a second time we did the honours -   for free – honestly it’s not a problem when I’m not rushed off my feet.  A bit later in the day I clicked on the website link in their e-mail, and discovered that they were a firm of  London plumbers – and that was when the penny dropped.  Plumbers are so used to charging a call-out fee that they don’t expect anyone else to do something for no payment.  I once had a leaking down pipe and the plumber came and changed a washer in the valve thingy in the loft – he was here for a maximum of 15 minutes and 10 minutes of that time was spent drinking tea and revelling in his good fortune that he could fleece me!  40 quid  it cost for a little rubber washer (and that was 10 years ago.)  The same plumber used to service our boiler every year, but, so peeved was I at being mugged, that after that we never used him again.  So maybe I should have been a plumber, but at least I can sleep at night. And the moral of the story is the next time someone rings wanting a service that I would normally provide for free - I’m going to ask them what they do for a living.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

New Beginnings - One Step at a Time

I just found my old blog which I casually abandoned nearly 3 years ago.  I was going to just start again but when I read through some of my old posts I quite liked them, so I've left them as they are and off we go again. So we are still selling books and still enjoying doing so.  At the moment we are listing the lifetime collection of a lady who was a London Blue Guide - and as so often happens, have learnt a great deal in the process.  My favourite book so far is a modern one about a tenacious old biddy,  Phyllis Pearsall, who on being unable to find a decent map of London, took to the streets herself and devised her own.  The map was so successful that she ended up founding the Geographer's Map Company - which is still going strong today.