Henry, one of our cashiers and a frequent Newsstand employee, has some thoughts to share about his Vroman’s experience. When he’s not working at Vroman’s, he tours with his band The Human Abstract.
I look out to Colorado Blvd as I sip on my lukewarm, ever so pleasant, cup of coffee. Like most of my days, a usual cup or two suffices the habit many of us drown ourselves in. Yes sir, twenty ounces of dark roasted goodness make for lovely company on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. Pardon me one second, I need to ring up a customer. “Just a NY Times for you today?” I ask. “Yes,” the customer replies. “That will be $6.59.” I find it funny paying six dollars for a newspaper, but who am I to judge the price of inflation, not to mention the downfall of periodical publication? Am I right? Maybe not. I take another sip of my coffee and I realize that it has reached room temperature. D’oh!
Well ladies and gentleman, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Henry and I have been a Vroman’s employee on and off for a while now. Was that too much of a formal introduction? I am taking the opportunity to write you all a little blog. Of what you ask? Good question. When asked to contribute to our website I thought to myself, “What can I share with a Vroman’s patron?” I don’t really consider myself a well-read individual by any means so analyzing an authors rise and downfall in a creative forum would be out of the question.
It wasn’t until recently that I discovered my favorite writer, Haruki Murakami is his name. Such a bold statement for a bookstore employee, I know, but my friends, it is what it is. His style of writing pleases all my senses the same way dipping chicken nuggets into a local food chain’s ice cream shake pleases my senses. I don’t ask questions, I just buckle up and enjoy the ride.
Now that I have your attention (I cross my fingers) the topic of tonight’s blog is plain and simple. Ready? These are a few but legitimate reasons why I love working at Vroman’s Bookstore. (I told you it was going to be plain and simple.) I have been working for the past ten years of my life. I am now twenty-six years old. I have worked everywhere from Party City, Brookstone, Linen’s N Things (R.I.P) to Coffee Bean and I must say, Vroman’s is probably at the top, as one of my favorite places.* Note: to any past coworkers reading this message, I still love you.
Taking a moment to reflect, I notice the sunset over the majestic Pasadena Playhouse. The palm trees that line El Molino Ave become perfect silhouettes underneath the timid moon that welcomes nightfall with the resemblance of the Cheshire cat’s smile.
Since I started working here, I’ve experienced nothing but positive vibes. What’s the difference compared to my past employers? It might be that we are an independently owned establishment that is deep rooted in Pasadena’s history. Being a Pasadena native, that really means a lot to me. 626! I think being independently owned also affects the company’s moral by not involving its employees in some big, lame monopolized corporate ladder. There is something about a group of individuals that thrive on knowledge. Whether that is Fictional, Non-Fictional, Philosophy, Psychology, Horror or Current Affairs, everyone that I have the pleasure to work with seems to appreciate one thing and that is: Reading!
Now you may be asking, “What’s the big deal Henry!?” I’ll tell you what the big deal is, not enough of us take time out of the day to read. Before I came to Vroman’s, I would occasionally partake in a couple books or periodicals but never with a sense of fulfillment that now fills this head of mine. So you can say that being a Vroman’s employee has not only inspired me to read a lot more frequently but at the same time allowed me to discover a new hobby. On top of my literary inspiration there are my fellow employees that I have the pleasure of working with. I ask that when you come in next time, take a moment to ask one of us how we are doing and what we enjoy doing. Every single person I’ve met here has a story. A creative story might I add. I believe we are a collective group of “life artists” that strive to better ourselves in one way or another through art, film, music or books. That my lovely patron(s) is not only beautiful but WUNDERBAR!
In addition, one of the perks of working here is the chance to work the newsstand. If you haven’t guessed by now, this is where I write the Blog that you so patiently read today. (Don’t worry Karineh, I have maintained my main focus on the customers.) Where else can you listen to your own music and observe the passer bys? There is something to be said about observing strangers who pass by you every day, each one walking by and acknowledging your existence for a fraction of a second. Some you have the opportunity to get to know as the “regulars”, purchasing their daily newspapers every morning, coffee in hand as they head to work. Others just continue to walk on by, maybe never to walk in front of you again.
Well, in the end all I really want to say is that I really enjoy working here. So as Chopin’s elegant and beautiful “Nocturne #2 in E Flat, Op. 9/2, CT 109” fills the newsstand, making it the perfect soundtrack for tonight, I bid you all a good night and good day.