Book Feast Pt 1: A Wolfing Good Time!

Woo hoo! What an exciting time we had – two weekends ago!

Auntie D’s son was going to have his wedding that Saturday, so Papa and Mama took extended leaves to take care of Koko Collin and me at home. Ah Mai Pei Yee also came down that weekend as well so it was doubly fun too!

Of course, the main highlight of that ‘extra-long’ weekend had to be books, books and more books!

On 7 Oct, the very first day of the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale, we braved the crowds and made our way there very early in the morning….and it was no surprise at all that the (more kiasu) CROWD was already there!

This year, the popular book sale was held in the Mardi Agro Exposition Park Serdang (MAEPS). The parking bays were so huge and quite far away from the main hall that we got to sit on bus shuttles that took us there. Cool!

The crazy checkout lines!!

Well, for a book sale with discounts ranging from 75 – 95%, I wouldn’t blame them. Hee!

Anyway, we managed to grab quite a good load of stash, especially children story books and activity books. It was a no-brainer that those children books were the more popular looted lot compared to the other books.

After like 5 hours (or maybe more), we finally managed to make our way out. Of course, the checkout line took like more than half an hour, but that is another story…

Making full use of the checkout Q...

Just like Papa gave his Big Bad Thoughts from last year’s event, here are my own big bad thoughts from this year’s event:

1. Hall size is big enough! I think the organisers finally got it right this time round with a venue large enough to house those millions of books on sale, and with extra room to allow smooth movement of baby strollers, luggage rollers, trolleys, etc. too. I still remember last year where it was not very pram-friendly so families with prams had quite a challenge to navigate their way around.

2. Excellent transportation logistics! When we boarded the bus shuttle from the car park, I had my reservations about the effectiveness of this system. I mean shuttles would only work for customers who would buy a couple of magazines right? I cannot imagine people lugging box loads of books into the shuttle back to their cars… Anyway, I had all my reservations answered when I saw the organisers had arranged a good system for customers to leave their bought stuff in a designated area, get a ‘Pick-Up’ pass, and proceed to drive in to pick up their books. Very well arranged!

3. In-Store Customer Service! With ample room space within the hall, the organisers were even able to arrange special counters for books to be reserved as we did our shopping. This came in very handy because most humans that I know of only had two hands to carry those boxes to put in their books. Once it was full, they could simply leave it at these counters, pick up another empty box and start again! Cool, huh? And when we were done shopping, we could ‘summon’ the staff to bring a trolley to cart our goods to the check-out line. And AFTER the books have been paid, we could again make use of the trolley to cart our goods to the pick up area. Fantastic service!

4. From the crowd, I must say I was very surprised that Malaysians seem to be a reading lot! Looks like all those public stats about Malaysians only reading like 1.5 pages a year have been highly exaggerated.  Some of the antics I saw of these book lovers could be transcribed into a horror movie script. The way books were looted into boxes, plastics unwrapped in some dark corner, sorted and chosen, and finally the stashing of unwanted goods in another corner is plain scary, to say the least. I really felt sorry for the staff who would  have to ‘clean up’ those unwanted books every night after the sales ended.

5. Unfortunately, plastics were still used in this year’s book sale. I agree with Papa’s thoughts last year that boxes should have been used as an alternative. After all, most of the customers seem to be buying by the box loads…

6.  I was pleasantly surprised to see other shops setting up their stuff for sale AFTER the checkout line. Some of these were like Skin Food, Reject Shop and other smaller stalls selling jewelry. Great spot to get additional sales!

7. Impressive marketing. I have to applaud the organisers who certainly put a lot into the marketing of the book sale this year. There were competitions aplenty for weeks leading up to the sale, pretty cool viral videos, promos on social networking sites, etc. Well done!

Overall, I think the sale was really well organised, and I think they would find it difficult to improve on this year’s edition. The hall size, book arrangements, transport, marketing, etc. was impressive. If there were any complaints, it may be that there were certainly lacking food stalls around the hall compounds.

Till next year’s invasion then! 😀

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