At first I wasn't happy about this. I like spending the evening with my family. I like being home after dinner. But, working the evening shift is growing on me. I've been able to observe the nightly flow of life in our little neighborhood.
Right around 5:30 pm there is a distinct drop in customer traffic. I call it the dinner drop. That's when I typically eat my own dinner. As the evening progresses, there are always people walking by, and I can usually guess where they are headed and if they will stop in.
The people I don't recognize who are dressed up - usually couples or multi-generational groups - are headed to Muffeletta for dinner. People walking their dog, baby or self will not stop in if there are head phones involved or anyone crying. People who park, hop out alone and hustle down the sidewalk are on a mission. They are taking a quick stop into the Little Wine Shop for some beer or wine. They won't come into the bookstore because they have somewhere to go.
The strolling people are different. They will likely come inside. If they are dressed up and I don't recognize them, they are most likely waiting for their Muffeletta seating time. If they are in casual clothes and I don't recognize them, they have heard about the bookstore or the neighborhood or were just shopping at Bibelot and thought they would stop in.
If it's someone in casual clothes and I do recognize them, they are very likely to come into the store. Most likely, the reason they are walking down the sidewalk is to come to Micawber's.
Evening traffic in the store mainly consists of:
1. People picking up their special order book after we called to tell them it was in,
2. Parents getting a last-minute birthday present for their kid's friend,
3. People buying vacation reading for a vacation that starts tomorrow,
4. People who have never been to Micawber's but have heard it was really nice and wanted to check it out before they have dinner at Muffeletta,
5. Women picking up their book club book that they need to read by next week,
6. College students (or people new to the neighborhood) who would want to hang out (if only we had wireless.)
Of course, there are many exceptions to the above list. We have a wide and wonderful range of customers and friends at Micawber's.
Despite having to work late, take out the trash, and hoping the computer doesn't crash and delay my trip home, I've come to appreciate the nightly ebb and flow of our neighborhood and evening bookselling, in general.