OP/ED Wednesday: Interested in an Interest in Self-Interest?

meandbuffyI am a book seller. Books are the only product I have ever wanted to sell to people. Even though I am technically in retail, I am unabashedly snobbish about my special status as a book seller. We are a superior species. I recently read an article about how tipping should be done away with. The article argues that it enables the food industry to get away with paying ridiculously low wages, and it harkens back to an a age of condescending class-ism: “Here, boy. Take this handful of loose change and buy yourself something nice. I’m much richer than you are.” I tended to agree with the article. However, it seems unlikely that tipping will become a thing of the past any time soon. It has always struck me as unfair that while tipping is accepted and expected in a restaurant or bar, it is not in a bookstore. I’ve got the utmost respect for the trials and terrors that waiters, waitresses, and barkeeps must endure, but it seems to me that a book seller brings into play a whole host of skills and knowledge that somewhat exceed the ability to bring a plate of food to a table. Book sellers are not paid extravagant wages (or often even liveable wages), but not only are we not tipped (and in many cases, not allowed to accept tips, even if they are offered), but many people don’t even feel that we should be paid for what we do (see my earlier rant on complaints about lower online prices). In short, book sellers are undervalued and unappreciated, so it warmed my heart to see this article at The 49th Shelf (and everything they do to champion book sellers and bookstores (especially indies)). It also pointed me to some great looking books that hadn’t slipped onto my radar. Well done, books sellers. I will tip my hat to you, at least.

– Kirt

About writereads

A Canadian book club podcast that will change the world of literature forever.
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2 Responses to OP/ED Wednesday: Interested in an Interest in Self-Interest?

  1. Naomi says:

    Love the Shelf Talker series!

  2. Agreed! I love both this website and series.

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