Sunday, July 31, 2011

Lily Beth and Cloverdale's Curiosity Shop.

Lily Beth Locket is waiting for Cloverdale's only taxi outside the village's Curiosity Shop on the High Street. The Curiosity Shop is one step above the Salvation Army's Thrift Store in the quality of their gently and lovingly used merchandise.

Lily Beth has the Saturday Morning shift. She wakes at 6:00 A.M. and walks the two miles to the shop, stopping along the way to admire the neighborhood's flower gardens. Lily is partial to roses and can't pass a bush without a quick sniff. Lily calls for the taxi on rainy days but getting Mr. Pringle to leave his house on a Saturday norming to pick her up before 8:00 A.M. can be difficult, especially if he had a late night ferrying the tipsy home from the villages two pubs the night before.

The Curiosity Shop buys most of its merchandise from local charity shops and resells them for a small profit. The shop also carries home made crafts on consignment. The shop gets a part of the profits if the item is sold. It's a shop where everyone comes out the better just for stopping by.

Lily Beth has a Saturday routine which she unconsciously follows without exception. Making a pot of coffee is the first thing she does after arriving at the shop. While the coffee percolates, she searches the shelves for newly arrived merchandise. She is looking for anything of quality and interest. She keeps a notebook in her purse with lists of items her friends, family and other interested parties would be interested in buying. Lily Beth calls the interested party if she finds a match. The item is then set aside. Lily Beth charges a small finders fee if her client purchases the item. The shop's owners are unaware of Lily Beth's side business.

"Why would they care?" she answered when I questioned her about her arrangement last Saturday morning. "They're getting the asking price. My clients don't get a discount. It's all fair and honest."

"It doesn't seem quite fair for the shop's other regular customers," I responded.

"Here love, have a Sticky Bun." Lily Beth offered me one of her two pastries. Yes, a small price to pay for my silence, but who can resist a Wonderland Bakery sticky bun?

"My finder fee keeps me in cakes," Lily Beth said with a smile, referring to her one weakness - Wonderland Bakery's Famous Sticky Buns. "And there are plenty more of them for you whenever you stop by on a Saturday morning," she added with a wink.

After her search about the shop, Lily Beth sits on the shop's back porch and enjoys her sticky bun and coffee. At 9:00 A.M. she puts on a record to fill the void with music and opens the shop for customers. Her shift ends at 1:00 P.M. At 1:10 P.M. she is out on the pavement waiting for Mr. Pringle. The rest of the day is spent with her friends, her cats and her garden.

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