A Letter to My Bookstore

September 4, 2013

Chapters Indigo
468 King Street West, Suite 500
Toronto, ON M5V 1L8

Dear Heather Reisman, CEO.

There’s an urban myth about the casinos in Las Vegas. Apparently, the ventilation system in the building pumps a type of chemical that enables gamblers to sit through hours and hours of gambling without feeling tired. They also ply tourists with free alcohol, therefore losing track of the money they’re gambling away. I’ve been there at least three times and if I were the gambling type or the drinking type, I can probably attest to this theory. Everyone can tell you though, that no one, virtually no one sleeps when they’re in Vegas.

I’m wondering, is that what you do to your stores? Because, I shit you not. I walk in there and the smell that greets me is like a gas that robs me of self-control. It makes me deliriously happy and I automatically go stupid with my money. Today, I had every intention of picking up one book. It’s Liane Moriarty’s latest, The Husband’s Secret. Ha. Big mistake.

Speaking of product placement and brilliant marketing topography, there’s also another myth circulating about IKEA. They apparently deceive their shoppers into believing that they’re leading them out when they’re actually trying to tempt you into buying stuff you don’t need. You follow the arrow on the floor thinking that it would lead you out the door.  I mean, sure it leads you out the door. But you know what else you’re doing while you’re looking for the exit? Picking up stuff. This – I know is true; because I’ve been there so many times with every intention of picking up one thing. Well, my one thing becomes a bag full of shit. My bag full of shit becomes a newly decorated room.

My point is – your Fiction section is on the second floor of your fine establishment. I had to take the escalator.

But you know what’s right by your escalator?

Yep. Teen Fiction.

Several books later, I almost forgot what I came to your shop for.

Well done.

I have often wondered if I should apply for a part-time position in your company. My husband thinks this is not a good idea. Actually, he thinks that I should – but he doesn’t think I will last (thanks for the vote of confidence, husband). He thinks that working at the bookstore is like having a recovering alcoholic work at a liquor store. The temptation would be way too much for one person – such as I – to handle.

He might be on to something.

I am a regular weekend book shopper. I go there so much that your workers could no longer recommend a book for two reasons:

a.) I have it.

b.) I’ve read it (once in a blue moon, I get lucky enough to receive an ARC from the publisher).

I’m such a regular that I know when to come so I can avoid that one person who gives me the ‘look’. You know, the speculative look that borders on awe and ‘you’re here again?’ He’s not a bad employee, per se. I just…I feel like he’s judging me.

But I’m not writing this letter to complain. You have awesome staff. They treat me like royalty.

They make sure that they give me extra bookmarks when I check out. If I forget my book bag at home, they don’t charge me $.05 for the bag. And they talk to me and they didn’t judge me when I told them that I read Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey. They don’t snicker when they see heaving bosoms and flowing locks of hair on the covers of the books I’m buying.

My husband drops me off at your store and comes back about an hour later. Most of the time, I end up chatting with your staff (which is probably unproductive) instead of picking up books. But no worries, I always, always, make sure I don’t come home empty-handed.

I should thank you but I’m not going to. I give you enough of my money as it is.


Sleepless and Buried (in books).