Sunday, December 23, 2007

Bringing things up to date

Phew what a busy week it has been - I have hardly had a moment to myself and feel like the proverbial hamster on a wheel running round and round in circles going nowhere. I have not though gone nowhere, but actually had a very successful week. Having worked in this job now for just 5 weeks, last week (the trading week ends on a Saturday) I had the proud distinction of being salesperson of the week! Yesterday we took a little under £10,000, £4000 of which I was responsible for, which is not bad at all.

I also chose the right week to work full time, since our store was the best performing in the entire region, meaning that those who worked full time will earn a bonus of £100. I will have earned around £350 last week, which is equal to around 250 book sales or 4 months solid hard work of ringing all those bloody book shops! When I see it in such black and white terms it does leave me wondering what the hell I am doing, and how mad must I be, but then again as I have said so many times before, it is who and what I am, my life times work and I can no more stop doing this can I can stop breathing.

Talking of Waterstones though, I visited the blog site for the forthcoming Big Green Bookshop today which is set to open in Wood Green in the New Year, run by Simon Key and Tim West, who worked together at the sadly departed former Waterstones branch in Wood Green. Despite a large petition, Waterstones head office closed the branch and left the people of Wood Green in a literary wilderness.

Their blog entry for December 18th makes somewhat amusing reading - it is their predictions for 2008. I am sure that Simon and Tim won't mind me repeating them here, so that you can all have a good chuckle as just how daft the publishing world is rapidly becoming ....

They are as follows:

January; The BIG GREEN bookshop opens to fanfares and there is celebrating in the streets of North London well into the night. Our first customer brings a book back that they got at Christmas, claiming 'it was definitely bought here'.

February; Crockatt & Powell II opens in the cosmopolitan Fulham Road. It is called Powell & Crockatt after a furious argument between Matthew and Adam, and the first customer buys '4 yards of books to fill my new shelves'.

March; Scott Pack reveals that the rumours are true, he is Steve Stack, author of 'It Is Just You, Everything's not Shit'. He also admits to being John TwelveHawks and The Batman.

April; Profits soar at Waterstone's after a sticker misprint means that their latest promotion is a 2 for 3. WH Smith quickly counters this with a '50% on' promotion for their top 40 hardbacks.

May; JK Rowling donates for charity a fart in a jam jar. Amazon buy it for $3.6million, and runs a competition in which the winner gets to open the jar.

June; Claiming 'every little helps', Tesco starts just selling just the last chapters of books, and circling the bits that we should read.

July; publishing assistants at a large publishing House get a 15% pay rise, but turn it down saying ,'we get paid enough already'.

August; Christmas promotions start in earnest at Borders, WH Smiths, and Waterstone's.

September; An updated Kindle is released which vibrates and has flick pictures in the corner of the book, because nobody who buys one is really interested in reading are they?

October; Katie Price wins the Man Booker prize for Shiny, her latest novel. Michael Portillo calls it 'a tour-de-force'.

November; Top selling Xmas titles start to come through the pack, including 'do spiders belch?', 'the slighlty Adventurous book for Grannies', 'Jamie on rollerskates' and 'Hammond, May and Clarkson ridicule stuff surrounded by goons lapping up every little thing they do'.

December; The BIG GREEN bookshop sells it's 1000th copy of Life in the UK. Our last customer of the year brings a book back that they got at Christmas, claiming 'it was definitely bought here' mark my words, it's all gonna happen.

I don't doubt for a minute that they are right ....

Simon must have seen the comments that I made on their blog and posted some interesting ones of his own regarding how re-ordering at Waterstones works which interested readers can see or themselves in the preceeding post. I have emailed Simon to say a big thank you and wish them both the best for their endeavours and a wonderful relaxing festive season.

I will be glad to finish work myself at 5.30 tomorrow after having worked 7 days in a row. It doesn't seem fair in some ways that shop workers who arguably work far harder than almost anyone else at this time of year have such a small amount of time off at Christmas so that others can go and spend yet more money that they don't have. In my case I have just 2 days off - Christmas and Boxing Day and we had to fight for them. If Head Office had had their way we would have opened on Boxing Day as well.

Spare a thought then for those hard working sales people when you go shopping over the festive season for we are the cogs who keep the tills ringing and everything else in motion too.

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