I would never make it in a crowded land. I avoid department stores on Saturday afternoons and plan my mall and festival visits to avoid crushes of people. So when I found myself in a sea of shoppers on Sunday my only thought was of escape.
I lasted five minutes in the London Public Library book sale. Apparently they do this every year. They clean house of books, magazines, movies and other reference materials and raise funds for the library in one of the buildings at the Western Fairgrounds. This was good stuff. One guy stuffed every issue of Rolling Stone magazine into his shopping bag before anyone else could get near them. If you see something you like at this sale, you don’t think twice – you grab it. I thought, hey, I like to read, maybe I should check it out!
I arrived shortly after the doors opened at 11 and it was already busy. In the next few minutes, it became packed. People shoved and elbowed their way in toward the tables, like lions feeding on a gazelle. It was so crowded that at one point near the home and garden section, I actually got caught up in a swarm of bookworms and found myself unwillingly moved into the foreign languages section. Sacrebleu!
I got a few magazines and three books and hightailed it out of there. The charge was three bucks for as much as you could stuff into a bag. People were gluttonous about it. I suspect that more than a few flea market vendors were in the crowd. I couldn’t stand it anymore and jostled myself to the cash and out the door. It’s a terrific idea and a spectacular deal but I don’t think I’ll risk life and limb next year just to get a hardcover Hiaasen collection for a quarter. The image of the meek and mild book lover has been permanently shattered. Those folks are animals!