Yes, I knew running around in public with a Bluetooth scanner scanning used retail books would eventually get me in trouble, but it just happens when you least expect it, and by the most unusual suspects.
Alright. The first time was last week. I was going to a library sale, not the regular sale, but the preview. Ya know, the early sale that people pay an extra five or ten bucks to attend by purchasing their annual “Friends of the Library” membership in order to have first dibs at the most profitable books.
I arrived early, in typical early-bird-get-the-worm mentality, and ready to go. In fact, I showed up way early. The sale was supposed to start at two in the afternoon and the organizers and volunteers were madly rushing to set up tables. I asked if I could go ahead and pay someone for my membership (my entry ticket) so I could start scanning as soon as the starter gun went off. The lady behind the counter told me not to worry, I had plenty of time. The sale didn’t start until three. I was like “Cool! No problem. I thought it started at two but I’ll just hand around and browse and wait.”
Well, now she was curious as to how I possibly could have thought it was starting at two. When she asked, I simply took out my phone and showed her the online ad….”Preview Sale: 2:00 to 5:00” Well, that was simply the wrong thing to do. I could see the veins in her neck swell momentarily before the blood reversed and drained her face white, and she responded through gritted teeth. “I submitted that ad myself!”…as if that were the final say in the matter and nothing po…O.K., yeah. That WAS the final say in the matter. I said “thank you” and went to wait in my car.
Then, a week later…this evening, in fact, I was scanning in the back of my local Goodwill store and after about half an hour, this guy comes in and starts scanning with his phone. He looked over and saw me with my Bluetooth scanner setup and, again, the veins in the neck thing. He was visibly upset.
“So now YOU’RE here.” He said, as if we had met before. “I’ve been coming here and scanning for fifteen years and now everyone with a cell phone is in here!”
I hadn’t realized that Amazon had a reseller program fifteen years ago, but, even so, time passes and things evolve. Things that make money tend to become popular and, eventually saturated. We live in the DFW metroplex and there are about eight million people here. I imagine a few of them hit up this particular Goodwill store from time to time.
I said “Nice ya meet ya!” And, I have to admit, I momentarily considered going to wait in the car again, but I immediately thought better of it. I figured, I was here first, it’s a public space, and I’m not doing anything wrong. He had obviously intended to intimidate me but I DID get a chuckle out of it…and kept scanning.
He left in a huff and, figuring the store had already been recently scanned by someone who came before me, I decided to go ahead and check out as well. The girls at the register were talking about the angry guy who just stormed out and wondering what happened.
“I’ve never seen him get angry like that!” One of them said. I laughed and said “Are you talking about that guy that just stormed out?”
They looked at me as if I may have some juicy dirt to share, so I shared. “Do you know what he does? He scans books to sell on Amazon.”
I held up my scanner for them to see. “And so do I. Apparently, he’s been coming here for fifteen years and I just started scanning last month. I am infringing on his territory.” The cashiers and everyone in line all had a good laugh. I suppose they were relieved that he wasn’t some kind of psycho with some other issue, not to say that he wasn’t.
Anyway, it initiated a quick discussion about how the scanner worked and the software I used and how the books were transferred to Amazon. It was very educational for them and the discussion helped by means of introducing my self and making me a familiar face they can be comfortable with when they see me walking around scanning, instead of some angry guy, sulking around thinking he owns the place.
So, we all had a good laugh, I got a few books, and I went home to fix some fresh coffee and relax. Some times you have to put aside the hustle and just get out of the way. Not often, but tonight, it seemed warranted. LOL