On Being Squirrelly | Page 58 | Newberry

On Being Squirrelly

One year we had the gentleman who studied the Book Fair map and inquired politely, “What exactly is the Squirrelling Section, and how does one squirrel?”  Another year, though, there was the customer who didn’t look at the map and asked, “Is there someplace we can squirrel these books?”

Squirrelling has nothing to do with the cute, ravenous critters in Bughouse Square or the Book Fair volunteer who was a squirrel whisperer.  It’s how you set your first load of books aside while you hunt for more.  Squirrelling is vital to our profit margin.  If they couldn’t squirrel, our customers’ buying power would be limited to the length of their arms.

It also (sometimes) keeps really big-time buyers from building mountains of books in a handy nook (usually right in front of the fire exit) and covering it with a sheet or, in one memorable year, an American flag.  Those buyers had snatched up every issue of American Heritage we had for sale, so maybe they thought it was appropriate.  Got a lot of dirty looks, though.

To squirrel, find the squirreling areas (use the map or look for the little squirrel statues) and hand your books to a smiling volunteer.  Your bag/s will be marked with your name for retrieval later.  Of course by now you understand why we call it squirrelling: it’s a reference to how squirrels hoard nuts for future reference.

We were going to call it chipmunking and see how many books you could hold in your cheeks, but Management shot that down.  Some insurance thing, probably.

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