There are two words that strike fear into the heart of every Bookseller, and they are —
(Well, first, it’s important to note they’re not REALLY words. They’re abbreviations which have become words. Back to our regular posting.)
— RGIS (pronounced “ree-jus”), and RPL (pronounced “fuck my life”).
RGIS is an inventory company that, once a year, is hired by the Bookstore to come over one night after closing and scan every single item in the store. Every book. Every DVD. Every meaningless tchotchky and candy. Every single bookshelf, display, or floor stack has a little white piece of paper taped to it that says the number of items on said shelf, display, or stack; the total dollar amount; blah-blah-blabbity-blah-blah.
Fortunately, I caught the flu and had to miss RGIS. I’ve still got one of those hacking coughs that seems to want to send my lungs up my throat, and you know what? Totally worth it.
Once RGIS is done, someone, somewhere, in the depths of the meaningless bureaucracy that is Corporate HQ, someone sends the RPL to the store.
I do not actually know what RPL stands for. Thinking on the matter as I washed out my mug this morning, I realized it probably stands for Remove Product List, but for all I know, it stands for Robot Perpendicular Lobotomy. Basically, it’s a list of titles that we have in stock that aren’t selling, or aren’t selling well enough, or are selling better at another store (so need to be sent there), and essentially for two weeks or so, everyone works frantically yanking thousands of books off the shelf, frantically packing them into boxes so they can be shipped back to the distribution centers, and once we’re done?
Yeah, the titles we just shipped out start coming back in to the store with our normal replenishment deliveries.
What’s the definition of insanity? I’m pretty sure it’s RPL.
But there are good things about the whole RGIS and RPL: for one thing, there are lots of extra hours available for people to come in and just work yanking books off the shelf. That’s what I did last night: didn’t wear a name badge, no radio or wire, just rocked my iPod. Okay, sure, it was kind of awkward when I was pulling titles from the Sex section and I found The Ultimate Guide To Anal Sex For Women* and proclaimed (louder than I thought), “Hey, I’ve been looking for this!” And that pretty much cleared the section.
Although, really, who browses the Sex section when there’s anyone else in it?
And no, I did not go from RPLing Sex to RPLing Kids. Although that was next on my list. And honestly, our Kids Section is a repository for sex stuff anyway: “Service Manager … there’s an open Playboy in the Kid’s Section.”
“Ok, can you bring it up to Information?”
“…um, I’m afraid to touch it.”
*Here’s why I didn’t find it before: it was on the top-shelf, and in the As, not the Ts, where it should’ve been. There’s a “That’s What She Said” in this, somewhere.