Can you guess why a bookshop might prohibit food or drinks inside the shop?
If you guessed that it's to keep books safe, you guessed right!
Most people would assume that our big worry is drinks. Coffee spills would ruin our books. Little condensation drips warp paper pages. That's why we politely try to ask customers to put their drinks away at a drinks counter or shelf at both Woods in the Books and Books Ahoy! We want our customers to go home with books they love, not books that they reluctantly had to purchase because while no one plans to trip with their drink in hand, sometimes accidents will happen.
But food can be a big problem too, especially lollipops and other sweet treats can get little hands all sticky.
Imagine, for a moment that you might be a bookshop elf and you're off to start the day by dusting all the books in the shop. But wait! That stack of board books looks strangely unbalanced, as if someone's shoved something small and lumpy underneath one of the books.
When you lift up the book to see what might be causing this, the book beneath comes up with it. Oh no! What on earth could have stuck these two books together?
In fact, it was a half-eaten fruit chew candy that had been sandwiched between the front and back covers of two separate board books. Since we found this at the beginning of the day, we managed to clean and salvage both books, without anyone else coming across this rather nasty surprise.
We've had customers who scatter crumbs all over the shop, and stray lollipop sticks left on the shelves. Once, a group of kids sharing a long fruit roll-up strip tore off extremely sticky pieces of candy in between touching about 20 books. Let me tell you, the sticky fingerprints on the book covers had to be soaked in cleaning solution for quite a while before the stickiness began to dissolve at last.
This is why we have had to be vigilant about food AND drinks in the shop, sadly.
But yesterday, at Woods in the Books, a group of four sibling paused as they opened the door to read our sign. "No food or drinks," the eldest read.
Three of them looked at their younger brother, "But Noah's still drinking!" someone pointed out.
They hovered in indecision for a few seconds.
Then the eldest said, "Okay, everyone out!" And ushered all four of them out the door. When we looked outside, they were waiting patiently for Noah to finish his drink.
And when he was done, they came back into the bookshop to look for new books to bring home!
Thank you all for being so considerate! We look forward to seeing you again soon.