For many years I was a “book hustler.” And I made a lot of money scrounging around for used books that I could sell at the local used book stores (plus I have a storage locker full of incredible books that I kept for myself — I think I went 20 years where I didn’t have to pay for a book).
And the first book store I always hit was the legendary Moe’s Books on Telegraph Avenue. Because they always paid the highest price for books
But on the downside, the Moe’s book-buyers could be a very snarky and sarcastic and cutting lot. Which is understandable. Because they had to “deal with the public.” Which is never easy. And the “book hustlers” trying to sell their books could be plenty abrasive, too. (“ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME, MAN?? YOU’RE ONLY GOING TO GIVE ME 3 DOLLARS FOR THIS INCREDIBLE BOOK THAT IS EASILY WORTH AT LEAST 20 BUCKS??!!”). So it’s an adversarial relationship between the book hustlers and the book-buyers.
So the book-buyers at Moe’s could get pretty snarky. And when you went in there to sell your used books, there would be a crew of about 4 of them hanging out by the cash register. So they would gang up on you sometimes. And lay it on thick with the mockery. You were on their turf after all, at their mercy. You’re the one that’s hoping they’ll give you some money, after all. So you’re in the vulnerable position
One time when I was in Moe’s trying to sell some of my books, one of the book-buyers insulted me with what he thought was a pretty witty and clever line. One of the other book-buyers said to me: “Hey man. Don’t you have a comeback?” (they were enjoying themselves at my expense)
I said: “Yes I do have a comeback. But I’m gonna’ wait until after he pays me for my books before I deliver it ”
“Smart man,” he said.
Ha ha. You know me. I’ll always get in the last word eventually.