America's perfect curmudgeon runs sweet bookstore, is like totally awesome


Originally published at:


That there are businesses that thrive with the managers acting like a-holes astounds me. Kenny Shopisin is another example. “The customer is never right” seemed to be their contrarian motto. And I was going to say that they thrive in spite of themselves, but that’s really not the case. Shopsin’s is a shadow of its former self, and they haven’t seemed to have regained much of a footing ever since they moved from their original location, and the kids took over. But it looks like Capitol Hill Books is still kicking.


agreed. if you hate people so much, why put yourself in constant contact with them? self-torture?


I think it’s the constant contact that does it in the first place.


Well shit they have ad block blocker so I can’t read the interview.

Who is the curmudgeon now? Fun fact - if I have an ad block you aren’t losing ad revenue because I would NEVER CLICK ON AN AD ON YOUR SITE.

Is that sign in the headline from the article? Because that is fucking hilarious.

As for the romance novels - lots of used stores don’t carry them. 1) they don’t resell for shit. 2) waaayyyy too many people want to sell them to you, not buy them from you, and 3) because of this it is taking up shelf space that better books could be sitting on.

They do the same with those Reader’s Digest condensed novels NO PLACE takes those abominations.


My preference as a customer…

Not preferred…


came here for this, leaving satisfied


The signage and overall vibe really reminds me of my old shop, a record store that I helped run. All signs by me:

the paper is a printout of a bunch of Mitch Hedburg jokes and the “HEY” bit is a stern warning to light a match (the matchbook hanging from a string)

Being me, though, I kept everything organized as hell and one of the owners was a coder so the computer inventory system was legit af. We certainly tried to be friendly and helpful but in those days I was usually hung over when I opened the shop and it was pointed out to me that I was not the most welcoming personality due to that. Also, I would flat out refuse questions while Jeopardy was on; during gameplay, anyhow. We weren’t really curmudgeonly per sé–we threw parties all the time–but we definitely did have a “we’re gonna run it the way it oughta be run–our way” thing going on, so I empathize mightily with Mr. Toole.


I have a old Que book on DOS. Mostly because it taught me how to orgainize my files. I still use the basic system today and why I hate MS “My Documents” and their whole file structure so much.



I don’t get the impression that he hates people as much as generic, thoughtless behavior. If he can keep his business running without fawning to people that annoy him, then good for him.


it is sort of funny that he hates everyone’s generic, thoughtless behavior but his own.


In what way is he generic? Quite the opposite, from all appearances. And how is he thoughtless? He seems to be actively managing his place, to his specific desires.


The gentleman has a problem with “like?” That’s what, like 1970s era usage? 60s maybe? Hey you living people, get off my lawn!



I’ll just put this here


i don’t know, it seems pretty clear to me. his behavior of harshing on people he knows nothing about and generalizing about them based on some words he overhears, or categorizing them based on books they read/are looking for is just as generic and thoughtless as what he accuses people about.


Yet his customers are loyal and describe a person who is friendly and has a great sense of humor. He’s certainly not someone who hates people. Not suffering fools gladly is a plus, in my book. He just makes clear what he’s not willing to put up with, and people can take it or leave it. The generic can go get their books at Borders, or generic places like that where their idiocy will be indulged. God knows there’s no shortage of them.


Well, that’s not curmudgeonly. That’s just plain true. No smart used book store buys used computer books. Classic literature sells forever. Computer books were going obsolete on the shelf when they were new.

As to romance novels - they are kind of a low end commodity.


I swear that folks go to my sister’s restaurant just to get abused… The local conservative church members (she calls them The Cult) seem to be the most loyal.
She’s a curmudgeon, but she’s also generous and caring - she just hides it well.