Mr. King has furiously been pushing books onto the floors for the staff to shelve, again. This is a routine occurrence for those of us that work at the bookstore, I thought I might give some insight to those that haven't worked retail lately, or ever, into the unique sphere that is used books. Of course Mr. King and the store managers are in charge of acquiring more books to fill our shelves and they've been doing so for years by a variety of methods. How do we get them all on our shelves in an orderly way so they can be shopped despite our archaic uncomputerized ways?
The quantity and variety can seem daunting and overwhelming to those that haven't ever visited the store or worked in a large retail space, as the books come in by the hundreds. At our peak efficiency it works like an assembly line with Mr. King finding the books he wants priced that day. He brings the books to a store manager who quickly notates price and piles them up, then a floor manager carries them a short way off and sorts them according to which of each of the four floors that subject is found and then shleps them to the freight elevator to be further dispersed to the shelves. Once on the floors the titles are further separated by the topic they concern by the store staff and placed on the shelves.
If only it was that simple though. As you might imagine with the pace of new stock and the nature of selling used items the content of the stock can vary greatly over time and cause some sections to be sparser while others being to burst at the seams. This is where the floor manager must get creative in finding ways to move the existing stock around on shelves and between aisles to to make a navigable and appealing display of books. Additionally, as we are rather old fashioned in our methods, when visiting you'll notice our signs are largely handmade by the staff and adhered to the shelves with thumbtacks or tape that must be moved or remade as well. In general, there is a constant re-orientation of the store for regular customers and the staff alike.
If I may wax poetic for a moment, I find much of the beauty of the store in how it shifts and alters as Mr. King finds more books to fill it with and how it must be contained within the fixed confines of the old glove factory brick walls. Like a cell that can't expand beyond its membrane yet is always needing to change and react to circumstance, our very survival depends on it.
-Tristen, 2nd Floor Manager/Social Media Manager