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  • Randy Shell

No Country for Old Torahs pt. 1



Opening up a used book store requires more than just a love of books. It requires business savvy and salesmanship, neither of which I have. Recently, woman came into the store, I asked if I could help her find something. She said “Yes, I am looking for a specific author. I have read everything he has ever written.” She then proceeds to the section where his books are shelved, pulls out each book and says “I’ve read this one, I’ve read this one, I’ve read this one...” and so on. I finally say “OK, you’ve read all of his stuff, I get that. He has not dropped off any unpublished manuscripts for me lately.” She left without buying anything.


That night I was telling my wife, Lisa, about this. Lisa has much more of a business sense than I do. Not one to mince words she said “You did that totally wrong. That was the worst way you could have possibly handled it!” Luckily, I take constructive criticism well. I responded “If people want to buy a book they should come in and buy a book, not tell me what they already have. So how would you have handled it?” She said “I would have told them if they liked that particular author then they would love this other author and try to get them hooked on another series.”


That kinda made sense. Lisa’s smart.

So the next day armed with this new pearl of wisdom, I was ready to meet my public. Sure enough another customer came in the store and I quickly asked if I could help. She said “Do have any Bibles?” I said “Yes, I do. On the far shelf to the right” She replied “The Bible is the only book I ever read.” I seized the moment. “Well, I assume you already have a copy then. If you like the Bible, perhaps I can interest you in a copy of the Koran or Bhagavad Gita.” Much to my surprise she appeared somewhat shocked and walked out the door and headed down the sidewalk.


What did I do wrong? I thought. Maybe I should have stuck with more of a Christian theme.


So I ran out the door and yelled after her “I have the Book of Mormon!” She started walking faster.


Strike one.

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