Sometimes people come into the bookstore and want to send books to jails or prisons. There are strict rules about how books can be sent, as well as which ones can be sent. People can't select books in the store and have us send those exact books to a correctional facility. We have to order them from the warehouse to be sent. Most facilities won't let prisoners accept hardcover books, and anything of questionable content (porn, dealing with weapons or drugs) are not allowed. Books usually have to be sent by postal service, because often facilities won't sign for packages from UPS, so the inmate never receives the package intended for them.
Two women came up to the information desk. One looked to be about in her 60's, graying shoulder length hair, a worn pale pink fleece jacket and jeans. The other woman was younger, fairly tall, about 5'10", long hair dyed burgundy, dark red lipstick with almost black lip liner. She had a black cap on with skulls on it. They had three books with them, The Lost Symbol, Michael Crichton's Pirate Latitudes, and John Grisham's newest The Confession, which is only in hardcover.
"We'd like to have these sent to a facility. To my husband who's there," the older woman said quietly. She seemed kind of out of it. "We've done it before," she said. "All the information should already be in there," she pointed to the computer.
"Sure," I said. When I checked, I found out that her information is in there, not her husband's. I told her that the computer saved some of her information, but not the mailing information about the prisoner. "I'll have to get the information about where it's going and who will be receiving it."
"I thought that was already in there. We've done this before." She sighed.
"Sorry about that, the computer saves your information, but not the sending information. I need the SID number (prisoner identification number), do you have that?"
They started to recite it from memory, the older woman said to the younger one, "I don't remember the rest of it, do you have it?" She sighed, her eyes kind of unfocused. The younger one dug in her purse and got the information. I got it entered into the computer.
"My understanding is that they won't accept hardcovers, and the Grisham book is only in hardcover," I said.
"We've done it before," they said. "He really wants to read this."
"Okay, that's fine, I just want to let you know that we've heard that some facilities don't accept hardcovers."
"We've done it before. We just want to send these." I printed the order and the older woman confirmed that the mailing information was correct. They took the printed order to go pay for it.
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