Michael Kaper, a longtime Acorn regular, was visiting with his two sons and a brother. Michael was featured in my story “Honeymooning with Baedakers”. I hadn’t seen them walk in, for I’d been working in the basement, restocking books from our Sold Sheets.

Coming back up with a few books for Christine to shelve, I saw a boy, about 6, wearing a Columbus Clippers T-shirt. I’d been walking around squeezing a baseball much of the day for flexibility in my hands, which helps keep the pain of post-elbow-surgery at bay. This ball was stamped with “Columbus Clippers”.

I couldn’t help but notice the synchronicity of the Clippers’ connection as I passed by the boy.

When I came back up with more books the next time, the youngster was with the group he arrived with; Michael Kaper was one of them. “Hi, George,” he said, “I brought my sons with me,” and proudly introduced me to Jack and Ethan. Jack was the baseball shirt guy. Ethan was carrying a book that his father had already bought for him.

I bent down to Jack and said, “That’s a great T-shirt you’re wearing. Have you been to a Clippers’ game this year?”

Very shyly he shook his head.

“Well, until you get to a game, I’ve got something for you.” I handed him the baseball I’d been carrying around. “This was given to me by a man who caught it at the ballpark, and I think you should have it.” He opened his palms and accepted the ball with wide eyes.

Then, sensitive to the fact that I wasn’t giving anything to his brother, I said, “Ethan is taking a book home, and you are taking a baseball home, so you both got something at the Acorn Bookshop.”

The boy ducked his head in shyness, while Michael, with a big smile, thanked me on behalf of his son.

Interacting with customers is not always about the moment’s profit. It’s about ensuring that the experience has been good enough for them to feel good about bookstores in general, to want to return to this one in particular, producing not only warm and fuzzies, but also long-term profitability.

Happy Days for everybody on an early summer Saturday afternoon in Booktopia.

“Play Ball!!”


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