Happy Civilised Saturday

So you’ve survived Black Friday, but your shopping is still not done. What to do? You could always buy things online like you should have done yesterday because it’s 2015 for Christ’s sake, or you could do whatever it is you do to work up your nerves and then head back out to the stores to try your luck again. But should you decide to brave option two, this time you might find that the atmosphere around the shops is quite a bit different, at least if you live in England and enjoy books.

Over 100 independent bookstores around the country have gotten together to stage what they’re calling Civilised Saturday, an experience completely different from that of Black Friday, an occasion which Alan Staton of the Booksellers Association says is “antithetical” to everything that booksellers stand for. Leave it to a book guy to use a fancy word like antithetical. Let’s get him, fellas! And grab his DVD player while you’re at it.

So what can you expect should you choose to venture out into this strange new world? Food, drink, books and maybe even a wacky competition or two, say organizers.

Civilised Saturday events and offerings will vary from shop to shop, as each has interpreted the theme differently. At Book-ish Bookshop in Crickhowell, customers can sip prosecco and compete in a posture competition, walking down the street with books balanced on their heads.

The Bookshop Kibworth in Leicester is offering a day of relaxation-by-reading. “We’re going to invite people in the shop to take a seat in our specially delivered green velvet armchair, and get them to explain to us what they’re looking for and how they’re feeling,” owner Debbie James told The Guardian. “Then we’ll go about plucking titles off the shelf to bring back for them to look at in the chair. They’ll also be given tea and cakes, and a complimentary hand massage.”
Visitors to the Edinburgh Bookshop can enjoy “genteel” snacks and beverages. At Burway Books, they’ll find mince pies, mulled wine, art, and singing. Wenlock Books in Shropshire is serving afternoon tea.

As please shop in our store gimmicks go, this one’s certainly creative, so points for that. And it’s hard not to get behind something that doesn’t make the human race look like ancient cave people but without the manners, so maybe this just might be worth supporting if you’re in the area.

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