by Melinda Gallo

Browsing in the Anglo-American Bookshop

I went to the Paperback Exchange in via Fiesolana today. I've walked past it a few times and finally decided to make a trip to see the books they have. They have an extensive collection of books in English, like tour guides, writer's accounts on life in Tuscany/Italy, university text books, translated texts of Italian writers, and many used books of all types.

I browsed for probably a few hours and came out with only three books: two novels and a book of short stories. I was so excited and couldn't wait to get home, like a kid with new toys.

The young woman at the counter asked me, "Risiede a Firenze?" (Do you reside in Florence). It was the first time I'd heard someone ask me in what I consider a formal fashion. Normally, they'd ask, "Abiti Firenze?" I nodded and she asked me if I'd be interested in having a tessera, like a "frequent customer card". "Sė, sė," I said and she explained how for each Euro I spent, I get a sticker. Once the card is filled up, I'll receive a discount on a future purchase. It sounded like a good offer to me.

It seems that many stores have these "frequent customer cards" where you get points each time you purchase something from them. They try to keep you coming back by offering you discounts the more you purchase. After being here only a month, I already have about 4 of them: two from bookstores and two from beauty supply stores. I just need to remember to return to the same shop to get the discount.

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