Friday, October 06, 2006
One of those eeeogggrrrhhh! moments
It was probably about Tuesday of this week when we were amassing glitter, crayons and pink biscuits that we suddenly realised something rather crucial was missing for our Charlie and Lola Day on Saturday. As Lauren Child outsells everybody in our shop, when some new books were coming out (especially one complete with glitter) we thought we just had to celebrate. Then a few mums pleaded that we hold it on a Saturday so their at-school children wouldn't miss it. Then August gave way to September and our Saturdays got really busy and we realised we could well have hoards of small children waving crayons (as they help us to make a giant Charlie and Lola mobile for the shop) in among the usual, fairly harassed and hurried Saturday shoppers. A good mix? We'll see. It should all be good fun. And there is free pink milk. So we were fairly panicky about what we might have let ourselves in for. And then we realised none of the books had arrived. About August time we ordered what is known in the trade as a 'dump bin' - a cardboard stand that comes full of nicely displayed books, especially for the new Charlie and Lola books. We thought we'd been well ahead of the game. We had been expecting it to arrive in plenty of time to assemble before Saturday and had also been running down our stocks of the books as we thought plenty more would be coming in. Then we realised, One Charlie and Lola day. No books. This is when a phone call (a bit panicky) to our suppliers told us that two days after we'd ordered it back in August it was cancelled because they'd run out. Gulp. Whoops, missed that one. Back in August we were generally panicky every day. We certainly hadn't got clued up to that fact that the way your suppliers inform you that something crucial is not going to arrive is as follows - the word cancelled appears next to the order line in very small type, at the bottom of an invoice full of details of half of your weird and wonderful opening stock ideas that have been discontinued or deleted and won't be coming in. We missed quite a few. We also missed several weird and wonderful customer orders that had also been cancelled. We don't do that much any more. Of course we're old bookselling hands now with a whole three months' experience behind us now and know to read to the bottom. But it was a bit of a shock when we realised we had practically no Charlie and Lola books to sell on Saturday, and certainly none of the new ones with the glitter. We do have some very nice mugs, though. And there's pink milk (did I mention this?). Anyway. We were lucky. None of them was out of stock and we had plenty of time to get shedloads in and we shall just use a good old fashioned table to put them on. Who needs fancy dumpbins anyway? Pictures next week.