Saturday, January 16, 2010

Freedom, Of A Very Limited Type

We spent yesterday in nearby Idaho Falls, primarily attempting to sell some DVDs, CDs and books that we'd deemed superfluous. We were hoping to get some extra cash for the trip and have a few less boxes laying around.

First off, I have to make one thing abundantly clear. I despise Idaho Falls. Now, keep in mind, what I'm about to say is a generalization and naturally does not apply to everyone and everything there.

Everyone in Idaho Falls is rude, uptight, snobby, grumpy and generally incompetent. They're either middle aged and drive spendy SUVs and Pickups or they're punk teenagers tooling around in sporty foreign jobs that their parents bought. No one shops at the local stores and restaurants and everyone there seems just happy as can be with the whole situation. It's like they prefer pissy, incompetent service and poor selection of local treats.

The town is also laid out horribly, with rambling, nonsense streets that suddenly curve and take you to no man's land and no attempt at a grid system at all. I've been driving or riding around IF my entire life and have still never gotten a grasp on the streets. Bah.

So why do people go to Idaho Falls? Because, inexplicably, they have all of the chain stores that you can imagine, while Pocatello has virtually none. The cities are about the same size, but IF is certainly a more affluent town, or at least feels that way. They have a Michaels, Hot Topic, Old Navy, Barnes and Noble, Chili's, Outback Steakhouse, Target, Best Buy, Hastings.. the list goes on, all stores that Pocatello does not have.

We went to sell our books at a large used book store there called Book City, and to sell any of the media Budget here in town passed on at CD World and Hastings. Also, I went to fondle the demo Nook at the B and N, as I can't order one until we have a stable address in Maine.

For the most part, our quest was pretty unsuccessful, Hastings, despite calling ahead, said they didn't have time to look at them and in typical crappy service fashion proceeded to treat us like poo. CD World was pretty good, Linz spent a bit of time flirting with the clerk and when we returned he bought about a third of the two boxes we brought, for around a hundred bucks.

Book City was our great hope. We had three boxes of decent paperbacks, pretty good titles, like Patterson, Kleypas, Anthony, Crais. Stuff that we had doubles of or were less impressive than we'd thought they'd be. The night before I went through them all and removed any stickers and mess, discarding any in poor shape. When we dropped them off, the clerks were very friendly, looking eagerly at the boxes we dropped, though they did seem a bit put out when we told them we wanted back any books they passed on. They wanted us to donate them to the store. That was a bit odd.

Now, as a breakdown, in most stores that sell used books, they have a pretty tidy system. You buy a used paperback at half cover price. You can trade it back to the store for a quarter cover price. If you want cash, they'll usually give you a buck or so less, more like an eighth cover. This works out pretty nice, you get a decent chunk of what you paid back, especially if you bought it used, and the store manages to make around a fifty gross on their sales, an enviable margin for most businesses!

Yeah, not at Book City. They selected about a third of the titles we brought in, still a pile of books. We were pretty excited to see that, it was still  around 40 books, so roughly $40 trade, we figured. HA, YOU FOOL! No, at Book City, they prefer to rape the suckers that sell and shop there, and only offer a quarter to twenty cents on a book. That's right, they pay you a shiny quarter and then turn around and sell the books for half cover price, around four bucks. They pull down roughly 85% profit on their books.

I've worked in a lot of different retail fields and I would have been crapping my pants at the idea of making that kind of profit. Needless to say, we laughed in their faces and took back our books. We'll just save them and sell them at a yard sale for a greater profit than they're offering! Freaking money-grubbers. I'm amazed that anyone sells to them, but they actually have a huge inventory, which just goes to serve my theory about people in Idaho Falls being a bit cracked and not nearly the penny pinchers that Pocatellans are.

Apart from that, we shopped a bit, bought some frilly underthings at Victoria's Secret, then made the kid at the  game store blush when we told him he could put Lindsay's video game screen protectors down in the same bag. We also ate at an excellent locally owned diner, Cedric's. They had hand battered fish and chips, all fresh and awesome and the next morning we went back for huge omelette's and perfect hashbrowns, supplemented with fresh scones with honey butter and perfect cups of coffee. When we walked out, perfectly sated and happy, we saw how full the crappy chain restaurant was just down the street, while Cedric's was maybe a sixth full. A Damn shame, says I.

People, stop eating at chains! Their food is crappier, their portions are smaller, the servers have no sense of pride or joy.... It drives me crazy when people chose to eat the same unremarkable meal at a Perkins that they can get at every other Perkins in the US rather than trying a local restaurant. Sure it's safe, if safe=Identical and Unimpressive. Take a chance, guys!

Uhh, rant aside, check out my blogging skillz! I'm currently typing sans splint, after giving my right arm the first dose of badly needed water and soap it's had since my accident a month ago. Not to be too gross, but the feeling of the dead skin sloughing off my arm was both wonderful and horrifying. This was the first shower I've taken with the cast off, rather than wrapped in a plastic sheath, and the hot water pounding directly on my dessicated arm and stiff shoulder muscles was a godsend. Now it's back into the sling for safety, but today gave me a feeling of success that has lifted my spirits far more than any lousy shower should do.

I also slept in the bed in the hotel room we got in Idaho Falls yesterday for a few hours. Hooray, I'm on the mend!


Steve at Random said...

The preceding blog was a paid advertisement from the Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce. Well, maybe not...but it should give the CofC something to think about. I also hate the money grubbers, but in my case it has often been the car dealerships. When we bought Derek's car a couple of years ago, I was offered $500 by the dealership down the street where I have bought and sold more cars than I can shake a stick at. I laughed in their face and sold his car for twice that to a guy who was looking for a car to get him to and from work. I showed him 15 years of of regular oil checkups and service receipts, he was more than happy to pay $1,000. The work for him like a charm...until he drove into the back of a truck at a stop sign and totaled the car. Still he got a couple of years of reliable transportation...and I got the satisfaction of a good laugh. Also, glad to hear you are on the mend. Again, I know how you feel about the first shower. My shoulder surgery also required me to wrap my shoulder in plastic. You not only begin to stink, but you become awful self-conscious about it.

Sherry said...

Sorry about the shitty experience, but I'm glad you could at least enjoy some food.

The first shower out of the cast is the best, isn't it? May the next shower be just as joy-filled...and squeaky clean. That arm has a month of washing to catch up on.

rob said...

sorry to hear about your selling used books saga. We have used various websites online to sell books. Check out They have a calculator to show you the value of the book. They offer the highest value we have seen on the web. We used to go to used book stores to trade. The web makes it easier and convenient. the books that don't have much value we donate to local libary.