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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Small World by John von Daler

                   I used to love to visit the little shops. Touring through Scandinavia meant finding a tailor in Bornholm who sewed leather vests by hand or a man in West Jutland who had filled a huge warehouse full of English books or a butcher in S√łnderborg who had concocted a great sausage. I bought things and talked to people about their trades.

                But the world started tightening its belt. Little places disappeared. Nothing was really far away anymore. The small salespeople could not afford to stay in business.
                You should not think now that you know the direction of this blog and that the old guy is just complaining about modernization. Hey! I love the Internet. But I hate the demise of good booksellers, fine tailors and talented butchers.
                Yet they have found a new viability, at least some of them.
                Recently I wanted to give a gift, some books that were out of print. It turns out that the antiquarian booksellers have gotten together in Scandinavia. They have written up their stock on an Internet site so that you can see within seconds which book can be found where.
                Yeah, yeah you are thinking. Now they sit there in their dark stores and administrate cyber-orders. What a life. They used to talk to people. Now they just shrink away into the shadows.
                Not always. I ordered my books using my computer and ten minutes later the telephone rang:
                This is your bookseller. I've got the books you ordered. I pass by your address on the way home. Should I come by with them in an hour or so?
                He did and we had a little chat on my doorstep.
                All I'm saying is that often we figure out a way to be human, no matter what. Small world.


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