Saturday, November 21, 2009

Notes Between the Stacks


  • Last evening found me in an unusual place, one of those big-box book stores that I almost never visit for several reasons. First, as a librarian, I can pretty much read everything in that store for free. Secondly, many items I really want to read aren't in that store, and finally, I can never find things in those huge stores that don't seem to place things in any logical order. But having procured a 25% off-any-item coupon that my thrifty heart just could not let go to waste, there I was fully confused and lost between aisles of books that were shelved in no particular order and tables of novelty gifts in time for Christmas. The cookbooks were next to business books which were across from a table of literary classics, and I started to wonder if the marketing strategy of mass confusion was intended to make someone wonder around as much as possible so they will encounter lots of other items to buy in addition to whatever they came for. I was looking for a certain popular reference book on the nutritional values of food that I really want to own, but that meant scouring tons of tables with book displays since publishers pay hefty prices for book stores to display their books on a table instead of shelved. This does no favors for the person who is actually looking for a specific book. Although it was amusing to see some things I would have never imagined (such as the Grow Your Own Crop Circle! kit) I couldn't help but admit a fondness for books that are organized and placed together in a meaningful way, such as alphabetically. Amazingly, I found the book only to have my attention diverted by the Christian book display. What I found interesting about the display is how closely it followed the trends of secular books. For instance, someone publishes a book which turns out to be a runaway Best Seller. Of course, the publisher wants more of this, so they immediately set on republishing the book in three other formats: There will be a "More Secrets of the Original Bestseller" book, and then an interactive Journal, and then a condensed version such as "Bestseller in a Minute for Busy People." Finally, just when you think they can't squeeze anymore out of a single book, they come up with a special "Gift Edition" with a fancy cover. And then, if people are still gullible enough to be buying this over-merchandised title, then they can get the page-a-day calender. It all seems a bit disingenuous and, well, greedy. Perhaps I am expecting too much from Christian publishing houses, since they are also in the money making business. I just wish that faith didn't have to be diluted by merchandising and cheapened this way.
  • My cousin told me the best encouraging story today about how God unexpectedly met her needs. First, she was told that she needed $500 for some much needed work on her home. As she was wondering how she was going to come up with that sum since losing her job, an item she had at a consignment shop sold and they called her to have her come in and get her share, $500. Then, she was at the market buying roll butter, and as the man behind the counter was weighing it, they got to talking about the economy. She was telling the man how the company that she had been working for part time closed with only a day's notice, and how concerned she was for a woman she had worked with, a young single mother with a baby. My cousin E. did not even mention her own concerns about being without work. Well, the circumstances worked on this man's heart because he gave her a pound of butter and would not take E's money, explaining that as a Christian, he wants to help people when he can. E was terribly embarrassed and told him that she did not tell him this in order to get something for free. He put her money back in her hand. She left with tears in her eyes and took this act of receiving as a lesson in humility. After that she went to the drug store and the song playing over the speakers in there said "I am watching you from above and taking care of you". All I could say was WOW.
  • In other inspiring news, some of you might remember that I'm excited about supporting a mission group called "Little Loaves and Fishes" (LLF) who are praying about an overseas trip early next year to bring comfort and joy and medical care to babies and small children in the many orphanages that exist in this world. Hope Anne is selling some cute and gently used items on her blog (mostly children's clothing) as she tries to raise money for this blessed venture, so won't you have a peak? Of course, donations are accepted, too.
  • Finally, Beth is having a giveaway and the prize must be the greatest invention I've ever seen: Ground chocolate that you can make into a hot beverage like coffee. But it's not coffee, its chocolate. It all sounds so delicious, so what are you waiting for?

2 comments:

  1. First of all, I need to go check out the mission trip - I can totally wrap my head and heart around that and would love to help out! I don't need children's clothing but I do have a checkbook and a mouth to pray with so hopefully that will help a bit.

    I know what you mean about the book stores!! I had to go buy a book for my daughter for Lit. class and I felt like I was in Macy's! I can't believe they don't have their own line of clothing with their logo - that's all that was missing. Have a great Thanksgiving ~ ♥

    ReplyDelete
  2. what a wonderful story! miracles happen every day if we just look!
    i very seldom go to big bookstores, only if i have a gift card and then it is crazy hard to find what you are looking for! i will check out the mission trip site!

    ReplyDelete

I love hearing from you. Please share your comment.

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...