Big Bad Wolf sale: A joy and an utter nightmare

I get it. If you want cheap books, you have to sacrifice some creature comforts. Being a veteran of book warehouse sales, I have browsed happily in some stiflingly-hot warehouses and put up with itchy sinuses as the dust that coated the books float around the premises. But the Big Bad Wolf has not just tested my patience but have totally obliterated it.

I can tell you that the Big Bad Wolf sale is, hands down, the absolute worst book warehouse sale I've ever had to experience in my 33 years on planet Earth.

The products on offer are not the problem. In fact, they are 110% awesome in selection and price. Lots of variety, great fantasy and sci-fi collection.

I bought John Katz's Dog Days - hard cover - for a lovely RM8. Found a Jared Diamond non-fiction book for the same price.

The problem is that the organisation of the entire event is utterly fucked up, pardon my French.

For reasons I do not understand, someone thought it prudent to sell 200,000 books in a tiny space - equievelant to two shop lots. A security guard had to be posted at the entrance to prevent people from getting in.

Seriously, if a sale had to prevent customers from coming in, something is seriously wrong.

It took me half an hour to get in, and about a bloody hour to pay for my 15 books. The payment counter lines were so haphazard; it snaked around the venue, preventing people from browsing properly and confusing the frak out of people. ("What is this line for?"; "Is this the payment queueu?") I once had to requeue because the line disappeared suddenly and I went to the wrong line - it was a line of people exiting from the venue. I was so furious that I had a mini meltdown there and then, tossing my box of books to the floor in utter fury because I had to re-line up after doing so for 20 minutes. I've never been so mad in my life during a sale!

I quake for those who will be attending the sale tomorrow and during the weekend. If it's insane on a working day, it'll be cataclysmic then.

But if you want to brave it anyway, here are some tips:

  1. It's going to be near impossible to find parking as Amcorp mall doesn't have much parking spaces available. If possible, park your car an LRT station away and take the LRT to Amcorp mall.
  2. Bring a basket with wheels trolley, because you're gonna need it - your shoulders and arms will thank you.
  3. Get ready to queue for a long time. You can work as a team - someone to line up, and someone to choose the books. You can save time that way. Yes, it is that insane.

Someone at the sale said that I shouldn't complain because the books are so cheap. I totally didn't complain about the Penguin warehouse sale's stuffy heat, because I know for bargain books, you shouldn't expect a foot massage.

But you have customers leaving without getting books because they were so frustrated with the long lines and the difficulty in browsing for books. Isn't this counterproductive for the booksellers? Shouldn't they have an environment which encourages people to buy more books instead of the other way round? A bookshop owner told me that many frustrated BBW customers came to her store saying that they'd rather get books from her than go through the crazy queueus at the sale. I suppose, ironically, the BBW sale is increasing sales for the other bookstores in the building!

The Big Bad Wolf sale is being held at Amcorp Mall, Petaling Jaya, 10am to 9pm, until Dec 2.

Good luck, my friends. You're brave for going.

Other reviews at The Ranting Cynic and Shopping and Sales Queen.