I recently spent two hours in a Montreal book store and thought their service was exceptional. I rarely spend time in bookstores but this one was different.
I initially asked about a book and after the staff member had located it she suggested three other books which, based on my first book, might appeal to me. Of course, the internet does this too, but in person these recommendations carry far more weight. Plus, the staff member was able to fine tune the recommendations based on my feedback. I also liked the fact that there were plenty of chairs around so I could sit and read before I bought anything. But perhaps the most striking thing about this store was the fact that they had a baby grand piano in the centre of the retail space AND anyone could play it.
I must admit, I heard it before I saw it. It wasn’t noticeable the moment the two girls started playing it, I think it gradually became apparent and perhaps only after I subconsciously noticed a couple of mistakes. Here was a store that WANTED their customers to play the piano, whereas most establishments would keep such an instrument for a professional to play only. I liked hearing the mistakes, it struck a chord with me; in fact, it was a little moving and impacted me enough to write about it.
If you are in Montreal, head to the second level of the Indigo bookstore on Rue St Catherine, and soak up the atmosphere for yourself.