I'm convinced that there is an advanced AI mainframe hidden deep within the bowels of Waterstone's HQ, running a complex behavioral simulation to figure out which books people buy, and make sure that no three books you really want are ever marked 3 for 2.
Otherwise, it's a wonderful system and I was thrilled to find a Waterstone's in Amsterdam. Of course, this was only after I had spent ridiculous money at the railway station shop on a book by Ewan McGregor about him and a friend riding motorcycles around the world. Half an hour later I found the superstore and walked away with three books. One of them was a Guardian literary prize winning affair which I am now dreading. The second was a book of Jeremy Clarkson articles, which I highly enjoyed over my uninspiring overpriced dinner and rather nice overpriced desert that same night. (Clarkson is my hero, as far as journalism is concerned. One of my ambitions is to be on his show some day, talking about my first cars - oh the stories I could tell!) The third one, which I just started, is called 'How to be idle' - it doesn't seem to be all fun, the author actually makes a rather well-argued point in favor of doing nothing; but that topic merits a separate post, which will come as soon as I am sufficiently inspired (or irritated) by it.
The problem is, I now have the Guardian thing and the Ewan McGregor thing waiting to be read, which means that I cannot justify buying more books. Which is a goddamn shame, as the bookshops in Small Country's capital have finally stocked some pretty decent (or at least interesting-looking) English books. They are rather expensive here, so I do need to curb my enthusiasm. It is entirely possible for me to walk out of the big new bookshop in the mall with a third of my paycheck signed over. And I need a new PC.