He's young and good looking. College age. With long, slightly sloppy hair that says he's not making the rounds of job interviews yet. A typical student. Except that he carries cash in addition to his debit card and he has never once answered or made a phone call while in the store. Not so typical in those respects.
He comes in alone every week or so. Almost always in the late afternoon, probably after a class, on his way home to one of the apartment complexes nearby.
He's the type of customer I love to see. A browser. Never looking for a specific book, but wandering through the entire store and buying whatever tickles his fancy that day. Seldom leaving with less than six or seven books. Rarely needing a bag because he carries a backpack.
I know his likes, but not his name.
"One of each again," I usually say as he checks out. His stacks remind me of a kid in a candy store. One mystery, one classic, one sci-fi, one history, one philosophy, one comic. Often from the dollar racks.
Yesterday his stack was bigger because he didn't come alone. He brought a girl. An English major who he has a class with.
He introduces her and tells me that she likes O Henry and Terry Pratchett.
As she looks through fiction at the far end of the room, he looks through classics behind my desk.
"I told her about your store," he says quietly. "That's how I got the courage to talk to her."
She overhears and I see her smile.
The combined stack that they build on my desk grows to a total of twenty-two books. All different genres. Only seven are dollar books. I see him check his wallet and work in a volume discount. He has a few bills left but won't need them.
"I'll pay for dinner" she says.
They leave in separate cars. But with their books in a single bag, to be divided later.