Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Regarding an Incident at our Commercial Drive Location

On Sunday 18 August, a client called our Commercial Drive shop to ask if we were buying books. A staff member said we would be happy to look, and the client brought books down to offer for sale.
Between the client’s phone call and his arrival at the store, the staff member took a phone call from another bookstore that made him feel uncomfortable about buying the client’s books. 
When the client arrived, the staff member did not discuss the concerns raised by the other bookstore with the client, but simply said that he was unable to buy the client’s material.
The client was, understandably, confused and upset, because he had been told on the phone that we would at least look at his books.  Voices were raised, and an argument ensued that eventually involved other customers.

Frustrated and angry, the client left the store and threw his books around on the sidewalk.  For reasons I do not understand and definitely do not agree with, the staff member chose to leave the store and hurl the client’s books back at him.  An altercation ensued that ended up with a 911 call and the staff member and client being interviewed by the VPD.

There has been extensive online discussion suggesting the client was profiled and assaulted because he is Indigenous.  This allegation is untrue. The staff member did not realize the client was Indigenous until he was being interviewed by the VPD, and the client’s indigineneity played no role in the staff member’s poorly conceived decision making.

To be clear: the client did nothing that excuses or explains his treatment by my staff.  Our response was unconscionable, offending even basic standards of common sense, good judgment, and empathy.  The staff member and I apologize, unreservedly, to the client and his family for our collective failure.
To be clearer: I am a settler who owns and operates businesses on the unceded traditional territories of the Swx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations. 

I believe all levels of Canadian government have systematically failed Indigenous people since first contact, and that so-called “reconciliation” efforts are typically attempts at maintaining a preexisting power balance in favor of a settler state.  I do not want to reproduce, in miniature, existing power relations.

I am available for ongoing dialogue with anyone affected by this incident, either by phone (604.876.4311), Twitter (@pfbvan), or email to pulpbook@gmail.com.

Christopher Brayshaw
Owner, Pulpfiction Books
20 August 2019      

Monday, May 20, 2019

Now hiring: Full Time Bookseller(s)

Pulpfiction Books, Vancouver’s legendary independent bookstore, seeks mature, enthusiastic individuals interested in joining us as full time booksellers in August 2019.

The successful candidates will:

• Work 40 hours per week.  These are full time positions.

Not currently be attending college or university full time, or planning to within two or three years.

• Be available for a variety of shifts, including mornings, evenings, and weekends at all three of our shops.

• Possess good practical intelligence, and the ability to work quickly and multitask under pressure.  The jobs involve a lot of physical and mental activity, and are best compared to fast-paced restaurant work.  Those interested in standing behind a cash desk socializing and/or being paid to read will not be a good fit with us.

• Be client-focused.  Each time we hire we invariably interview folks who know lots about books, but very little about client service, and even less about sales.  We can teach our retail systems to almost anyone, but can't teach empathy and good judgment, which are more elusive components of character, and highly prized around here.

Have previous customer service or supervisory experience.  Previous book-related experience is preferred but not required. Some of our best staff came to us with no previous bookselling experience of any kind.

• Have a wide familiarity with contemporary literary fiction and non-fiction.

• Already possess an undergraduate degree or equivalent work history.

• Bring other skills and abilities to the table.  Examples: social media (Twitter; Blogger); basic accounting and/or bookkeeping skills; carpentry; HTML; SQL, PHP & MYSQL coding experience, etc.

We offer competitive compensation and a vibrant, entrepreneurial work environment.

To apply for these positions, please forward a detailed resume to pulpbook@gmail.com, or drop a resume off at any of our locations. Please, NO phone calls, non-resume email queries, or walk-in requests for employment.

We thank all applicants for your interest, but may not, depending on resume volume, be able to reply to everyone.