Every bookstore is the result of its clientele

One day I saw an interview of a celeb journalist and TV show presenter, a person I like very much, directing good shows and a pretty good interviewer herself. She was asked why TV was so full of trash. I saw her face changing, she was really upset, then answered something very surprising : TV broadcasts were so bad because “It’s what the audience wants!”.

She continued on this mode, telling something like “If people were watching operas, literature documentaries and great movie classics, all trash TV would broadcast in front of nobody, then would disappear for ever, then we would have great TV everywhere!”.

Her anger was noticeable, and that’s why I remembered it clearly. When smart people complain, you listen. Then, you wonder, right?

Because of course this all seems to be too good to be true, and it’s easy to counterattack. People watch trash TV because it’s prepared and broadcasted to them, etc.

 

So, there’s a balance here to find. After counterattack I have to admit that we all have a responsibility here, nonetheless. It’s like when I hear someone complaining about dense traffic… from a car. I have to answer to this person that he is a brick of it.

In some countries, if you are stuck into a traffic jam, you get a ticket! Which, in a way, is fair : you’re a part of it, it’s your fault!

OK, there’s a balance to find…

 

I work in a bookstore, and I’m confronted with this “structure”. The axiom could be :

“Every bookstore is the result of its clientele”.

You can be appalled, but it’s true. For a part, at least.

Yeah, there are other dials to watch. You need to have serious booksellers on board. And you often have to sell tons of “best sellers” on end displays… to be able to present entire tables of great books (your choice) in the store. Etc.

In a serious bookstore, all kind of books are bought then presented on tables and shelves. Employees, then, watch (weekly) closely the sales, then books are reordered. Never sold volumes (for months) are a bit dirty or torn, and therefore sent back to editors, and this is it : little by little, the customers, by the way they act and buy, model and form the store.

You just need a year or so to adjust, understand and change your store to adapt to your clientele. If you have an architecture school a street away, your architecture department will grow, you’ll have rare books, theory books and even anthropology books for the thinkers around. A visitor will pass and will be in a awe : “Oh wow, what a great architecture choice you have!”. Yessss it’s thanks to the bookstore employee, but mainly because he found the clientele, too. It’s a dance, a tango.

There’s a balance to find.

There’s a split of responsibilities in front of trash TV, in traffic jams, in poor supplied bookstores. Suppliers, of course, but audience too.

Do you meet this structure too, in your job, in your life? Don’t hesitate to comment, here.

 

We have an old idiom in France, about couples : “L’homme propose, la femme dispose”. It’s something like “the man proposes doings, the woman makes the choice” – I’m sorry for the translation, it’s almost impossible to do it, but you got me, right? Tango.

 

Thanks for reading!

(Really sorry for my English today. Have a nice day!)

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Washington, I love you

OK I’m french. My english is a frenglish, it’s rusty and wobbly, et voilà. Try me, though. I’ll do my best. I promise. If sometimes it’s too bad, just laugh at me or roll you eyes.

When the US government, or president, takes a decision, the medias use to say : “Washington decided to…”. If you think about it, it’s funny, c’est cocasse. Because Washington can’t decide anything : it’s a city !

Synecdoche ? I’m not sure. Votre opinion madame ? Monsieur ?

Well it’s not finished. It’s funnier. Because Washington, the city, was named in honor of George Washington (1732-1799). So, to be short, voici ce que je trouve intéressant : Instead of using the name of the president, medias use the name of a city, named after… another president.

OK. Everybody knows that. And we don’t even think about it. The word “Washington” entirely lost its substance. It’s just like a little lever linked to strings…

Notre capacité to forget the sense of words is énormous-tremendous. It’s too easy ! We can play with some pop-bands names, for example :

How great was The Police ? Sting is a great bass player and his voice was perfect with the sparkling sprinkling style of Copeland the crazy drummer, and the sophistication of Summers’s guitars. The Police ? Really ?

You NEVER think about the police when you listen to The Police. Never.

Use your attention now on Chicago, Yes, Kansas, Suede, UK or Japan, or Pink Floyd. See ?

Tool & Dials : Do we use, in daily life, this capacity of erase-vanishing the sense of words ? What about “How do you do ?”, or automatic “I love you”s ? Comment ça va, d’ailleurs, aujourd’hui ?

Tool 2 : How could we call this effort, consisting of… bending over empty words to refill them with all necessary things : radioactivity, sense, feelings, connections. Why should we do that ?

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