My local Goodwill has these old metal shelves holding the books. They’re jumbled, in no particular order. I can tell that someone has tried to put them in order (the cookbooks are separated from the fiction), but it’s probably a losing battle.
One time, as I stood there, looking over the shelves, a man came up to me and asked if he could help me find anything. I politely declined, but asked me again what I was looking for. I said, “I don’t know. Just whatever I feel like buying.” He then asked if I was looking for fiction or nonfiction, any particular authors. I admit, I was getting a bit annoyed by this point. (My default setting is to be antisocial… I’m working on it. Sort of.) Finally, I said that I was looking for classics, and other books I don’t have.
The man’s eyes lit up, and he said, “I pick the books that get put out, and no one ever wants the classics! If I know that’s what you’re looking for, I can start to put them out.” And then he showed me where a few of them were.
I firmly believe that sometimes people come to me to teach me lessons. This man reminded me to slow down, and instead of being annoyed when people ask me seemingly random questions, to figure out what they’re really asking, then answer.
Often I forget that most people like to be helpful, and I was really doing this man a kindness by letting him help me. He was genuinely enthusiastic about books, and excited to help me find what I wanted.
In a world full of bad news, it’s nice to make a genuine human connection, even if only for a minute. Thanks, Random Goodwill Book Guy.