The first place, where I usually go, used to be staffed by a scrappy little guy from Queens, and he was friendly in the way of scrappy little guys from Queens, in that he was sort of cheerfully bitter and very talkative and on several occasions offered, in the nicest way possible, to have anyone who messed with me beaten and left under a bridge.
I can work with this.
Unfortunately he doesn't seem to be working there anymore, and the daylight hours are now occupied by a grim older woman who responds just slightly less than the barest amount required for civility, makes no small talk, and generally gives the impression that someone has not only pissed in her cornflakes, but that she suspects you, if not actually the culprit, at least know who did it. Possibly you are even part of some broader cornflake-pissing cabal that are breaking into innocent people's cupboards and leaving a trail of violated cereal boxes behind them. She just doesn't know, does she?
Also, she buys next to nothing, shreds the bags they came in, and leaves bags and books in a heap on the floor by the door. Jeez, no wonder the cabal has it out for her.
Disgruntled, I took my remaining books to the bookstore a few miles away, with a stop at the hardware store to get some plastic bins to carry them in. (That's fine. You can always use more plastic bins.) I was browsing among the stacks when the store owner approached me. "I'm done..." she said slowly.
"You certainly have the oddest taste in books!"
I started laughing. I couldn't help it. She couldn't be blamed--there were random science fiction paperbacks, a few hardcovers like "Science of Fear" and "The Forest of Hands and Teeth," popular biology and gardening, some very nice illustrated children's books, and at least one Giant Book of Illustrated Sex (or something similar.)
"Yeah..." I said.
But she took almost all of them, which after I picked up a couple of mysteries and a Diana Wynne Jones I didn't have, worked out to five dollars.
I gave the five dollars to a homeless guy on the way out of the shopping center. I got some free books and about two-thirds of a shelf worth of space out of the deal, so I figure I came out ahead.