About Us: Mustapha

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 Mustapha

Where were you born?
I was born in Al Hoceima, northern Morocco in my grandmothers’ house.

What was your favorite food as a kid and what did you hate?
As a child I loved milk fresh from the cow and fresh cheese.  I hated vegetables made in a tagine because they were mushy.

Were you read to as a child?
No, I was not read to when I was a child.  My parents are illiterate.

Did you have books in your house while growing up?
No, there were no books in my house.

Would you like to learn how to read?
Yes, I want to learn how to read and write so I can acquire more knowledge.  My wife reads and writes.  And she reads to our children.

How is it to go through life not being able to read or write?
I wish I could read letters and be able to answer them and write back.

Quick free associations:  
Books:
Knowledge.
Sale: Good for all the books.
Magazines: Sell very well.
Piano: I would like to learn how to play.
Price gun: Useful tool.
Cash Register: Good and compact.
Discount Card: Encourages sales.
I’m looking for a book…”: I can’t give an answer because I don’t know where the books are so I ask customers to go to the cash desk and ask my co-workers.

What are your responsibilities in the store?
I clean the canteen and set fresh coffee.  I clean all the floors, the cash desks, all the shelves in the bookstore.  I clean the warehouse and put out the garbage.   I also clean the entire Treehouse twice a week or more if there are events.

What is the best part of your job?
I like everything I do.  As long as I’m in good health everything is fine!

How long have you worked at ABC?
10 years.

What is the opposite of bookselling?
I think the opposite of bookselling would be working in a restaurant.  Because of our location I think the ABC would be a prime spot for a restaurant.

What do you think people should know about ABC?
People should know that we sell a lot of different books.  There’s a very large selection.  I don’t read, but I see a lot of new books come into the store.  I notice when there are new books on the shelves.  It is a pity I can’t read because I see a lot of books I’d like to read.

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