In the back of the dusty little bookshop, Jeremy was helping his uncle. His head on its short neck bobbed happily as he lifted books from packing boxes and set them on the receiving shelves, ready for his Uncle Fred to stick on the prices. Jeremy was a Downs Syndrome boy, and just about any activity made him happy, but in particular he liked helping Uncle Fred in the bookshop.
Fred came back from the shop counter to check on Jeremy’s unpacking efforts. He’d taught the boy how to handle the books with care and respect, how to wipe them over to remove the dust of the packing materials and the cardboard, how to arrange them on the metal shelves ready for Fred to price.
“How’s it going Jeremy, me lad?”
“Fine, Uncle Fred. Fine. Fine. Uncle Fred, you want me to do the pricing stickers for you? I can do it. I can do it.”
“No, no, not today Jeremy. Just the unpacking. Oh — there’s a customer come in…”
Fred turned back to the shop.
Jeremy eyed the label-maker that produced the pricing stickers. Once, Uncle Fred had shown him how it worked. He’d even let Jeremy print the stickers and stick them on some books. They’d been a big carton of Harry Potter books, all the same price. But Jeremy knew you could turn the little dials on the label-maker and make it print different prices. He was fascinated by the label-maker, and couldn’t help eying it reverently as he carried books over to the shelves. It was sitting right there at the end of one shelf.
Pretty soon Jeremy finished the unpacking. He wandered to the doorway connected to the shop. He could see Uncle Fred deep in conversation with a grey-haired lady in a red cardigan. They were standing by that big stack of books all about someone called Steve Jobs. Uncle Fred didn’t get that many customers. He liked a good talk. Jeremy wandered back into the storeroom then back to the door, back and forth, back and forth, waiting for Uncle Fred to finish and tell him what to do next. As he wandered he kept seeing the label-maker. It seemed to grow more and more fascinating.
Then Jeremy had a bright idea. He would help Uncle Fred by putting the prices on the new books! He knew how to do it. He set to work. How he loved it when the little labels were printed with numbers and could be peeled off and stuck on the new books. He knew just where to to stick them too – he’d learnt well – on the back, at the bottom. Happily, Jeremy made labels and stuck price stickers on all the new books. Then he ranged them neatly back on the shelves, ready for Uncle Fred.
When the lady in the red cardigan finally left, Uncle Fred came back to the storeroom and told Jeremy it was time to shut up the shop and go for that milkshake he’d promised. Jeremy was all ready to tell Uncle Fred, proudly, how he’d priced all the books, but he became so excited by the thought of the milkshake that he promptly forgot.
The next week, after Fred had absent-mindedly displayed the new books in his shop, he was surprised by a customer complaint that $150.00 was a bit steep for a copy of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’. But $0.25 was a bargain for ‘War and Peace’!