The Tale of the Bad DVD   7 comments

The title sucked you in, didn’t it?  It’s the word “bad”.  When people talk about something bad, you know it’s going to be “good”.  Actually, life is a great deal duller than that for retirees.

I have been offering my readers tours of different parts of Phoenix and Arizona.  I intend to keep doing that, but yesterday afternoon I had about 30 pounds of books I wanted to sell.  (Actually I have hundreds of pounds of lovely new science fiction and the collection of a lifetime that I want to sell, and I sometimes get impatient about it.  When that happens, I pack up a bag of whatever I can reach and head over to Half Price Books on East Camelback Road.)

The best place in town to get money for your books.

And thereby hangs the tale.  I go to this store fairly often.  In fact, when they were just opening last year, I brought them bag after bag of books, and only quit when it reached a point where they were offering less than 10 cents a book for primo brand new stuff.  I figured I had better let them recuperate and sell some stuff. 

Earlier this week I sold some of my old books to Half-Price Books, and with the money I made, I bought a couple of cheap DVDs to watch later at home.  One was the Elmo Lincoln version of Tarzan of the Apes, and the other was 4 episodes of Flash Gordon television program from the fifties.

He almost looks like Buster Crabbe.

I love the old stuff.  Heh, most of the costumes and special effects are laughable, but if a show is making you laugh, then it’s doing its job.  I had high hopes for this being Flash Gordon material I had never seen before.  But when I put it into my dvd player, it simply wouldn’t load.  Rats!  $5 down the drain.

It occurred to me that Half Price might give me a replacement copy.  I’m not exactly Suzy Consumer, but I do believe in talking to stores about problems when I have them, and it has worked out well for me in the past.  Since I was going back to Half Price to sell some books anyway, I took the defective dvd with me.  The first thing I did at the store was bring my big bag of books back to the trade-in counter. (I ran our of b alliteration there–grin.)

The books in the paper bag and close to it are my trade-ins.


While I was waiting for them to price my treasures and make me an offer, I took my faulty dvd back to the checkout counter and explained my sad story.  And here’s why I really like this book store.  Even though I didn’t bring a receipt back with me, the gentleman there could see that it was Half Price merchandise and immediatly agreed to make a swap for me.  In fact, he went out of his way to try and find another copy of Flash Gordon for me.  No luck though.

This is the face of good customer service.

I’m sorry I forgot to ask his name, but this guy was great.  I told him I was going to blog the experience, and gave him the URL, so if you see yourself, pal, why not make a comment and let people know who you are?  After much searchng we had to give up.  There was no replacement Flash Gordon.  I settled for this instead–apparently a silent western.  I haven’t tried to watch it yet.  I hope it works.

Must be the good guy, he has the white hat.

And that’s the tale of the bad dvd–just another adventure in everyday life.  Now on to my real purpose in this blog which is to show you 3 great bookstores in Phoenix that live within half a mile of each other.  The first is Half Price, and here’s what the store looks like inside.

Comics! If I were looking for deals on graphic novels, I'd look here.


I never buy music any more, but it's great to know I could find it if I wanted it.


They have a well-chosen metaphysical section. The book with the purple cover is about fairies--gorgeous, seim-erotic art. Tarot decks and other tools for meditation can be found here. This is the part of the store that really tempts me to respend the money they give me.

It was a highly satisfactory trip.  Not only did I replace my dvd, but I got enough cash for my books to give me spending money this upcoming week, and I left eye-tracks all over some beautiful art.

Just across the street from Half Price is another great bookstore called BookStar. 

The brilliant afternoon sun was directly above the store's title sign. I couldn't take a picture of it, so settled for the modest logo on the store entrance.

This is another bookstore that I like a lot.  It was in here that I first discovered the Lemony Snicket books: A Series of Unfortunate Events.  I browsed them throroughly and knew they’d be a big hit with children in the libraries.  They are so amazingly horrific and downbeat.  I also bought a copy of the Thomas Yeates (he’s an artist) version of JOHN CARTER OF MARS.  Barnes & Noble published their own version of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ science fantasy classic including the first three books and got Yeates to illustrate them.  They couldn’t have made a better choice, imho.

It's not like this was new material for me. I just wanted the pictures.

I don’t know why Barnes & Noble needs an alternate name for its bookstores, but they do offer a fine selection of new materials and I approve of their reprinting various classics in handsome editions like these.  It’s sort of the best of book club publishing without a monthly commitment.

Found this new collection of fine Conan stories by Robert E. Howard in the SciFi section. Almost bought it on the spot.

When I was younger, a find like this would have been an instant impulse buy for me.  It’s not like I haven’t read the stories, or don’t already have them in fine editions at home.  I do, but seeing them republished like this is like meeting an old friend.

Comics are getting treated very nicely in bookstores these days also.


The Teen Fiction section is dominated by books about vampires. You probably already knew that.


Local pride as shown in calendars for 2011. Bookstores are a great place to get touristy souvenirs if you visit an unfamiliar city.

That’s enough about BookStar.  There was one more place for me to visit, arguably the biggest and best of them all just half a mile closer to home.  That was the local Borders Store.  Borders is trying hard to get my business.  They send me a coupon for up to 40% off new books in my email every day.  Should I ever actually need to buy a book again, or perhaps for Christmas shopping, this is the place to go.

As bookstores go, Borders is huge.


I'm dreaming of a pink . . . Christmas.


Yes, this store is all ready for Christmas.  There are probably 20 Christmas trees set up inside it.  I didn’t go around and count them.  It has two floors, with good stuff on both of them.   There are comfortable places to sit down and look at things before you buy them.  I’m half tempted to go there in my free time and just read their books.  I can’t buy them.  The house is groaning under the weight of books now, but wouldn’t it be sweet to just read all the good stuff like the place was a library?

A clean, well-lighted place to read and relax.

 And, in the children’s section on the second floor, there is a huge collection of manga.  I’m not really a manga/anime fan.  Too many talking heads for me, but the stories have depth, and I’m pretty happy that a lot of kids read them.

How do they get that spiky hair?

And also on this level there is a bookstore cafe–with great coffee to drink, delicious sweets to eat, and wifi if you have your laptop along and need a good place to go online on someone else’s dime.  I sometimes use this cafe as a neutral meeting point for meeting friends or strangers.

It looks yummy, but nothing for me today, thanks!

I took even more pictures, but I’ve probably already bored you, dear reader, to tears, so let’s take the high road and get out of here.  Thanks for coming along on my tour of three of Phoenix’s best bookstores.

Looks like I found the way out.



Posted November 13, 2010 by atroll in Uncategorized

7 responses to “The Tale of the Bad DVD

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  1. Borders went out of business in the U.K..

  2. I love Half Price Books so much. I *always* find something on my list.

  3. Another post that makes me feel like being there. Thanks

  4. it seems like i spend money at half priced books weekly…

  5. it surprises me khenn that someone so library oriented buys a lot of books

    • I don’t actually buy that many books, Arrdhann. I used to, when I was younger. For the last few years, books come to me free, as if by magic. Get on a publishers review list once, and the hits just keep on coming..

  6. HPB does have some great stuff, I bought most of my sci-fi collection there. I worked for them for 5 years and ended up quitting because of the way I was treated by a new manager (I won’t bore you with details, but I’ve never been treated like that by any former employers before). I have a hard time going in there now and spending money in their store, but every now and then I’ll look for vintage gaming materials and the occasional E.C. Tubb novel that I’m missing.

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