March of the Scissors

scissorsAs bookshop owners, Jack and I have noticed a phenomenon over the years that other managers say is common to their shop as well. Even some domestic households report it.

The March of the Scissors.

We cannot keep a pair of those sodding things around for love nor money. In the blue basket near our cashbox, we try to have at least one pair among the pencils and sales receipt books. Yet every couple of days, one of us calls out, “Honey have you seen the–?”

Jack says, at night while we sleep, the scissors creep from the handy storage spaces where we stash them, and meet at a central location, where they hide, a nest of blades and handles, until we open a door, lift a blanket, and viola! Like a mouse’s nest, there are the scissors–usually less one pair.

They get redistributed – the kitchen drawer, the blue basket, my yarn corner, the tin under the stairs: we like to have them handy for the many jobs that arise.

You may be wondering, of what need are scissors in a bookstore? Becalm yourself; we are not cutting up Patricia Cornwells. Yet. We use them to open boxes, cut off credit slips for customers, get goop off hardbacks. (Don’t try that last one at home; we’re professionals.)

In a fit of manly rage that he couldn’t find any when he needed them, the Master of the House (Jack) bought seven pairs of solid steel scissors in one go, and double-distributed the sneaky implements to all our hiding spots.

Three weeks later, he stormed through the house, screaming, “Not a single pairrrrrrr!”

You haven’t lived until you’ve watched a Scotsman rant about “S-iz-orrrrrrrrrs.” That adorable rolled r AND a glottal stop…. be still my heart.

We found them–six pair, anyway–under the sink this time, in a shameless tangled conflagration of open blades. The least they could do is make safety scissor babies.

The scissors are back in their hiding place, minus the one that got away. We can only assume that escaped scissors join the socks that found the wormhole in the back of the dryer, and are whooping it up out there somewhere in the Netherworld. An odd combination, to be sure, but then every relationship needs a softie and a sharp one, doesn’t it?

We hope they will be very happy together.


Filed under Big Stone Gap, bookstore management, crafting, home improvements, humor, Life reflections, Scotland, shopsitting, VA, writing

8 responses to “March of the Scissors

  1. It has somethign to do with books and people: I have exactly the same experience in a college library and an elementary school library. Now my sewing scissors and knitting scissors always manage to stay in their little pouches or on the coffee table next to my “knitting chair”

  2. Sue Wallis

    Oh, the wandering scissors! I used to blame my children but that excuse is no longer viable. Their scissors are now cavorting in their own homes. Unless my dog and cats have found a way to use scissors in spite of the lack of opposable thumbs, I guess that I have only myself and my scattered brain to hold accountable. Ah, well…

  3. Paula W.

    It happens to craftspeople too… In our home they migrate towards Mum’s sewing room … which by the way IS next door to the dryer ….hmmm this wormhole theory could be right .

  4. Mario R.

    Have you considered treating them as monasteries treated their codices — by chaining them to their locations? Yes, I know, I know, someone is apt to call the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Scissors on you, but it would solve the problem. You’d have to get used to transporting the project to the scissors rather than the other way ’round, of course, but that can be managed.

  5. Janice Brooks-Headrick

    With us, its not scissors, its measuring instruments. I see in the garden a neon green ruler (1 foot) and there is a yardstick holding up the 3′ tall christmas amaryllis. There are rulers in the sewing machine, nestled with about 4 pairs of scissors (one pair at least 50 years old). There are yardsticks on top of bookcases, leaning against them. What we can never find is the big roll up thing to measure household projects…. it hides in several places, never coming to light until we have exausted the laying out of yardsicks, making inaccuarate cuts for wood floors, porches, etc. Then it appears on the kitchen counter. It tools could laugh…….. Janice Brooks-Headrick 865-429-1783 Storyteller Author Instigator Timeline: Email:

  6. rh

    I still recall the day, decades ago, when my father called a rare, as in “the only ever,” family meeting. We gathered at his desk. “These,” he said, “are MY scissors. These are my stamps, envelopes and writing paper. THIS is MY SCOTCH TAPE.” He then explained that we were welcome to use them, but if they were ever found anywhere but in our use or in their places, we would never use them again. He left it to our imaginations exactly how that would go down. We also had to tell him when we used the last or nearly last of anything. His plan worked. We even grew up to be the kind of kids who filled the sugar bowl when need be, without prompting. I recall my mother telling us how happy that made her. Yesterday I did paper folding all day long with kids at a school district fair. It was hard to tell which was more amazing to them: that my scissors were older than their parents or that these sharply pointed things had once been allowed IN SCHOOL! That said, I did have to train myself about car keys and which side of the door they are on I shut the door.

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