I am not a shoplifter!
Just needed to get that out because I took my copy of The Kane Chronicles: The Red Pyramid to the bookstore again. Taking that particular book to any store that has sensors at the door has always been a cause of alarm, literally. And I showed a friend today just what a commotion it could cause.
We went to National Bookstore (the same guys who sold me The Red Pyramid at last year’s Manila International Book Fair) at SM Manila to check if Heroes of Olympus: Son of Neptune was really out. But just before going, I checked if the guard was looking at me. And when I was sure that I had his attention, I raised my book above my head then brought it down, making sure it slid in between the sensors. And surely, the alarms went off. I looked back at the guard and he offered to have the book in his care while we were inside the store.
So many flashbacks. That book alone has made me the target of obvious stares and unspoken questions, especially from shop personnel. One thing I could assure you, I did not steal that book. I bought it. I may not have the receipt anymore but the only proof I could give is my clear conscience and what integrity I have.
Back to us at the bookstore. Since I couldn’t see any display of Son of Neptune, I asked the lady at the customer service if they already have it. She asked another staffer who asked another staffer who walked off, probably to ask another staffer.
My friend and I waited. And although I am very sure of the release date, something told me I wouldn’t get it at this store. The third lady staffer came back with the book in hand—but she skipped me and went straight for the second staffer lady. We walked after her.
There they explained to me that the copy that they have in hand couldn’t be sold. Why? She flipped the book over to reveal that a great part of the back cover was ripped off. And it was this portion that had what she called the ad lib.
Lady staffer said that this was done by someone who wanted to shoplift the book without making the sensors go off. Wow.
All I really wanted to do was ask. The money I had with me was only enough for lunch. So we left. Got back my book from the guard, walked to look for a place to eat, and talked about the almost thievery that happened.
Personally, the act reeks of desperation. More so, if the shoplifter happened to be a fan. And that is sad in so many ways. My friend was sad for the book. She could describe the ripping in one perfect word: savage.
Just after work, I hurried to Power Books at Robinson’s Place Ermita. I left The Red Pyramid at the office because I was sure I’d have Son of Neptune with me when I left the mall. Once I spotted it at the store and held it in my hand, I couldn’t let it go anymore. I just needed to buy it—and without a second thought. Too bad though it was without an available discount. (By the way, I checked it against National Bookstore’s price and they are the same: Php395.00. For now, at least.)
Took the train home and at one station, I saw a schoolgirl clutching a copy of Son of Neptune. I thought that she might have already started reading it. My friend from earlier said she was finished with the first chapter. No spoilers though. Surely, I am in good company. Then again, there are still the rippers and shoplifters. So maybe not all fans and readers are good company.