About Us: Ron G

In a series of interviews conducted by ABC’s Maria Minaya, we’re going to introduce you to (almost) everyone who works at The American Book Centers in Amsterdam and The Hague.

Books form an integral part of our lives not only because they’re our bread and butter, but because our passion for them came first. Our mission is to pass them on. By reading these interviews you’ll discover the faces behind your favorite sections and get a glimpse of who we are.

Meet Ron G

Where were you born?
I was born in Utrecht.

What was your favorite food as a kid and what did you hate?
I loved chicken, especially chicken on the bone. I hated lamb. I didn’t like the way it looked.

Were you read to as a child?
No, I was not read to as a child.

Did you have books in your house while growing up?
No, we did not have many books in the house. I do remember, however, that my mom was a member of a book club and when a hard cover book arrived she would cover them to keep them looking nice. I still have that image of her taking the time and the care to cover those books.

Quick free associations:

Paperbacks: Books.
Sale: Good.
Magazines: Nice.
Piano: Music.
Price gun: Sticker.
Cash Register: Money.
Discount Card: Customer.
“I’m looking for a book…”: Can I help you?

What is your connection to books and the written word now?
I love words and being able to express myself well. I really like poetry. When I find a poem I like not only does the poem become beautiful but the book that it’s in. So then I partake in the sensual pleasure of actually holding the book. When looking at paintings or pictures or enjoying both words with images again holding the book becomes an important part of that enjoyment. Other than this, my only other connection with words or books is that I don’t have one. I work with books, I sell them. But in my free time I hardly ever read.

What sections do you oversee?
My sections are music and true crime. And soon we’ll have a performing arts section as an extension of music.

What is the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is the contact with the customers. I love the spontaneity of it. You don’t know what will happen. I encounter people in the moment. There could be a smile or perhaps a good conversation. These kinds of encounters energize me.

How would you describe your customer service, i.e., how do you do your job in terms of: cars (Ferrari or Fiat?), pastries (Hema or Holtkamp?), or shoes (Puma or Prada)?
I treat customers with respect. My service is attentive and respectful.

How long have you worked at ABC?
Since October 1986!

Who is your favorite author? Or what are you reading now?
I would say that Charles Bukowski is my favorite writer. His work intrigues me.

What is the opposite of bookselling?
Something having to do with destruction.

What do you think people should know about ABC?
I don’t think the focus needs to be on what people can know, but on what we radiate. The accent shouldn’t be on what can be said. It should be felt. The independence and freedom we have to help customers and order our own sections is exuded by our books, the atmosphere in the store, how we dress and how we address our customers. So what they need to know they have in fact already been feeling. I guess what I’m saying is that experiencing the ABC is more informative that knowing about the facts of what we do.