Instead of boosting the bookstore and magazine shop economy, a group of companies for which I may someday work, I, along with numerous others in New York, am what many shop owners and managers call a “lurker.” A lurker is considered a distant participant, or “someone waiting in concealment,” insinuating that this person indeed reads a book or magazine from cover to cover, but does not “actively participate.” Active participation implies a monetary contribution; while a non-lurker will most likely walk into a bookstore, browse for a short while, find their literary treasure, buy this book or magazine, and happily leave, lurkers mosey into book stores and peruse the expansive shelves of books and mags. Lurkers lounge in one of the deceivingly uncomfortable chairs and read said book or mag from cover to cover, or at least extensively. Lurkers might, perhaps, purchase a cup of coffee or appealing pastry, but they usually walk out of the store empty handed, denying the store of any monetary gain. A lurker is a fake customer. A leach, of sorts. A mosquito. A pest.
I am not proud to be a lurker, but my lack of funds leaves me little choice. Sure, I’d love to purchase the Italian Vogue shining from the top shelf, but I can’t afford the hefty price, so I page through and oogle over the editorials and glossy images, indeed spending hours doing so, but usually walk out with only coffee breath and a back ache, the bookstore owner bidding me good riddance.
image via admavericks