Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Dear Job Seekers, A Word of Advice...

I have a small family owned business.  I'm not looking to hire because I have a daughter who works for gas money and a son who works for video games.  If I'm in a bind I have a neighbor who works for books and very good friends who works for lunch and the occasional gossip fest.  I also have my Sunday girl who just likes to work with books as an escape from real life which involves a full-time job, school and motherhood.  I'm pretty set.  For the moment anyway.  If I was hiring however, these are a few of the things that would hurt your chances.

1.  I know I own a small used bookstore.  And I know that bookstore owners have a bit of a reputation for being a little on the relaxed side.  I would still encourage you to be fully dressed and bathed when stopping in to ask if we are hiring.  If I can smell you, and if I can see parts of you that one normally doesn't see in a professional setting, than I am not going to hire you.  Now or in the future.  The smelling you part also pertains to alcohol and marijuana.  What you do in your private time is what you do in your private time.  But if you don't even respect potential employers enough to dress, bathe and be clean and sober when dropping off your resume and asking for an application, than you will never respect them or their customers after you get the job. 

2.  Know your environment.  If I have to lock up the store cat in order for you to approach the counter to hand me your resume because you are afraid of cats, than chances are you will not work out as an employee of this establishment.  Many small businesses have unique quirks that make them stand out a bit from everyone else.  If that quirk is not something you are comfortable with than don't hand in your resume there. 

3.  That meltdown you just had in front of my counter because you've been looking for a job for months and no one will hire you??  Clue-I'm not going to hire you either.  Your little fit did not change my mind, make me feel guilty or make you look like a sympathetic individual in need of employment.  As a matter of fact, that little display made me happy to see the back of you and also made me totally understand why you are not employed already. 

4.  When I ask you what you like to read and you inform me that you hate reading chances are you would be a bad fit in this store.  Think about it.  If you're smart you'll figure it out.  Of course if you hate reading than you'll never see this anyway so it's a moot point. 

5.  And this ties in to point 1.  Look and act like you want to be gainfully employed.  Find out a little bit about the business before walking in and asking about a postition.  Stopping in after you tan (still holding your bottle of lotion in your hand) and asking if we are hiring (after asking if we are a book store [no-we're a tire shop]) tells me that I'm an afterthought.  And if trying to find a job is an afterthought than keeping one is going to be an afterthought too.

6.  Take "no" gracefully.  I know you are tired of looking.  I know you're frustrated.  But guess what??  I'm not hiring today. I probably won't be hiring tomorrow.  But...I may be hiring sometime down the road.  You glaring at me as you're walking out the door and than flipping off my store on the way to your car is going to guarantee that IF I am hiring in the future the person I'm hiring will not be you. 

These types of scenarios used to happen occasionally.  Once in a while I would get a job seeker in that would make me scratch my head and wince a little.  Now this appears to be normal behavior.  I can't speak for other business owners, but I will gladly work all the hours in my store by myself before I will hire someone who doesn't try to bring 110% to the interview process.  Walking into a business to ask for an application or submit a resume is part of the interview process.  It is when you set your first impression.  When you step into a small business such as mine there is more than a fleeting chance that the owner is the person you will be handing your resume to or asking for an application from.  Even if your first source of contact is not the owner, please be aware the owner is most likely on the premises.  And if the owner is not on the premises than the person who you had first contact with is going to give the owner a full report of your appearance and general attitude.  After all, this person has to work with you if you get hired.  And any good owner who values their employees is not going to hire someone an established employee had a problem with before the initial interview. 

Hope this helps. 


Someone who may one day may be hiring.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Hear Ye, Hear Ye (Modern translation: Yo dude, listen up)

As some of you know I've been out of the store quite a bit lately.  The direct result of a benign tumor that decided to get ugly.  It didn't get malignant, but it grew teeth and nails and a bad attitude and so it had to go.  With it went my sense of peace, security, well-being and the belief that all I had been given was sacred and  untouchable.  I've been operating in business these last nine years as if every challenge was a mere speed bump and there was nothing that could not be overcome.  After all my business is a gift from the universe and therefore impervious to all disasters.  Whoops.  I got my piece of humble pie shoved down my throat.  Not a big enough piece to choke me, but big enough to make me cough a bit and see that I'm not living in a bubble that can't be pierced by all the sharp pointy objects out there that are currently popping everyone else's balloons.  I got poked.  And it wasn't pretty.

My first reaction to this sudden insight was very mature.  I huddled on my couch under my electric blanket clutching my heating pad and taking drugs.  (I'd just had surgery, they were prescribed-chill)  Next I graduated to whimpering, complaining and general thumbsucking.  As you can see I'm a very proactive and forward thinking individual.  The thumbsucking stage was followed quickly by grief stages.  Denial (uh-no, this is not going to effect my business), anger (how dare anything effect my business), bargaining (I promise I'll be good if this doesn't effect my business), depression (I'm so sad that this is going to effect my business) and finally acceptance (yup-this is going to effect my business).  Again, let me reiterate that there was nothing that was earth shattering or immediately detrimental, just a wake-up call to all the little creeping niggley things that can slowly erode what looks like a solid foundation.  So I woke up.  I reassessed.  And I discovered that for all my time with my head in the sand I was actually still in very good shape.  The goal was to stay that way.  So I reached out to that big ole universe to see what else it had in store for me.  And that brings me to my big announcement today.  The first of a few that will take place in the next couple of months.

Ready??  Here goes.  Take a deep breath.  R & B Used Books has a satellite location now.  Thanks to our good friends at Breads & Threads in Canterbury Village we have the opportunity to place our overstock in another location.  I've spent a couple of Sunday's down there and man is the place cool.  Not only will we be selling out of Breads & Threads in Canterbury Village, but we will be able to keep everyone updated on all the awesome things going on down there.  http://canterburyvillage.com/  I'm looking forward to St. Patrick's Day. And if I don't feel like hanging out Sunday??  I can go down Saturday March 16th for St. Practice Day.  Breads has some really interesting and clever craft merchandise and the owner makes the best homemade bread.  Check her out on Facebook here:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Breads-Threads/132585090235176  Linette (the owner of Breads) has special events planned coming up.  To keep informed "like" her Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Breads-Threads/132585090235176)  There is also going to be a Farmer's Market.  You can get information for that on the Breads & Threads Facebook page also.  It's all very exciting to be a part of and I'm thrilled they reached out to me for this incredible opportunity.  Just another example of the blessed assistance I get when God reaches down and taps me. 

R & B Used Books is not going down folks.  Other stores are folding.  We aren't.  We are finding ways to expand our services and absorb the additional costs of doing business that our fine government and other businesses and utilities are presenting us with.  We haven't raised our prices in our 9 years in business and a  price increase is not in our future.  You will see some changes.  We might make a stumble and have to adjust a bit here or there, but after I whine, cry and moan I have a tendency to get determined.  And I'm determined to stay in business.  I'm determined to continue to offer amazing service to the most amazing customers in the world.  I'm determined to keep practicing the fine art of selling education, recreation and information in book form.  The next phase is set to happen within the very walls of our humble store here in Grand Blanc.  Look for a streamlining of inventory now that we have a venue for our overstock.  Look for cleaner aisles and a less cluttery feel.  Look for more smiles as we've all taken a deep breath and feel much more secure than we did when I was unceremoniously thrust under the knife (literally, thankyouverymuch).

I know I don't say thank you to my customer base often enough.  YOU are this store.  YOU make up this business.  Without YOU there is no business here.  So a heartfelt thank you to all of you who frequent my store, groan at my (infrequent) blogs and bad jokes and still trust me enough to send in your friends and family.  A thank you was even meowed by the grumpy store cat.  Looking forward to continuing to torture do business with you all in the future.


Beth (thebookladi)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Do you like little girls??

My dad has been on my mind a lot lately, comingled with thoughts of a much simpler and innocent time.  My dad worked for a school district in Oakland County. He worked there for many, many years and ultimately retired from there.  One of his interview questions was "do you like little girls?".  His answer??  "I hope so, I've got two of them."  And he got the job.  That popped in my mind late last night.

My dad did love his girls.  He had a tendency to treat us more like guys, but he loved us.  I shot guns, my sister played with bows and arrows.  We both qualified at Jr. Olympic level before we got stupid and hormonal and quit to go on dates and play with boys.  He cried when I got my ears pierced.  He threatened the life of my first boyfriend (under his breath and repeatedly) and he about went ballistic whenever I got myself into stupid or compromising situations.  (Yes, I was an 80's teen)  My sister didn't get into half the trouble I did but somehow managed to get into plenty of trouble just the same.  I think he spent our teen years mumbling and cursing under his breath and trying to pretend that we just didn't happen.  But he loved us.  There was no doubt.

My dad loved his daughters.  But he adored his granddaughter.  We might of made his world go round (until we knocked it clear of its axis) but she was the sunshine that lit up his life like no other.  He dressed her in little tights and cowboy boots. He took her with him whenever he could and quite frankly was a bit of a show off with her.  Whereas with my sister and me he was a little awkward and uncomfortable with our girlishness, with her he was totally at ease with Barbies and purses and tea sets.  If we went shopping at a store with a toy aisle he would most likely drag her in the direction of the pink stuff immediately.  To keep her out of my hair while I shopped, of course.  He was wrapped so tight around her little finger that he resembled a pretzel whenever she was near and my biggest complaint was that he had a tendency to spoil her at a time that she needed a father figure.  I resented that then. I realize now it wasn't his job.  His job was grandfather.  And he was good at his job.

My dad passed away before his granddaughter hit her teenage years.  Laid low by that bastard cancer.  He didn't have to deal with purple hair, emotional meltdowns, the goth period or her brief stint with rebellion in 11th grade.  And God how I wish he'd have been around when she was learning how to drive.  I still have PTSD from time on her learner's permit.  Sometimes I wonder if their relationship would have changed. Would he have ended up as awkward with her as he was with us?  How would he have reacted to her in her Homecoming dress and Prom and Sweet Sixteen and her first kiss?  Would he have tried to pretend she just didn't happen?  I don't think so.  I think if he had lived he would have figured it out the second time around.  I think he would have grown up with her and figured out the teenage years.  He would have been a shoulder to cry on.  A comforting hand on her back and a voice of reason in this crazy world.  I think he would have been very proud of the adult she has become.  Dean's list, Honor Society, and a solid plan for her future.  Yeah, I think my dad would have been ok with her.  After all my daddy liked little girls.  Back when it was ok to do so.