Video: My Experience at the Flagship Half Price Books

I know I told y’all about this when I went. But I enjoyed it so much I wanted to make a video about it too. So here it is!

A Road Trip Through Texas: Day 5

Another late start for me. Not because I wanted more sleep, although that’ll always be the case, but because I had to pack up all my things before leaving for the day. It was my last day in my Airbnb. Since I decided to lengthen my time in Dallas I’m staying the rest of my trip with my brother.

So because of that, because I also decided to get breakfast beforehand, and I had a 45 minute drive to get to Fort Worth I only visited one museum. The Kimbell Art Museum, which has the only Michelangelo painting in any American museum! Seen above.

I had limited expectations because I thought a museum created by a wealthy couple may struggle to keep pace with other museums. Wrong.

I can’t speak for the size of their permanent collection, but everything they had on display was rather amazing. Many of the sculptures on display were thousands of years old. And some of the paintings were more than 500 years old!

I was a little disappointed not to visit any other places, but I’ve gone to quite a few so far.

After I left the museum I had to burn a little time. I went to the Half Price Books Flagship store! Oh my. I didn’t take pictures because I didn’t want anyone to be like “what’s he doing?”, but y’all! I’ve been to 6 different locations in Houston. The flagship store might be bigger than all of them combined! By far the biggest bookstore I’ve ever been inside. They have tons of everything. A coffee shop. An events room because they have real author events. An entrance specifically for selling your books. An information desk when you get lost in the maze of everything. And lots of places to sit down.

I decided against buying any new books, but I did find a nice replacement copy for a book I’ve had a long time in really bad condition.

New Video! February 2019 Book Haul

I know what you’re thinking. Didn’t I JUST post one of these videos recently? Well, yes. But everyone knows one can never have too many books! Right? RIGHT? Anyway, I picked up a few more books recently from my local HPB because they gave me a bed in back where I sleep now. Ha.

Also, special shoutout to Die a Stranger by Steve Hamilton, The Little Sister by Raymond Chandler, and You by Caroline Kepnes. I bought all of these over the weekend and I already had the video edited and uploaded. Whoops.

Now watch and tell me which books you’ve picked up recently!

The Downside of Half Price Books

Since I worked at Half Price from 2015-2016 I’ve almost exclusively bought my books there. Why? Most of the books in store are in really good condition and I get to save money, which means more money for MORE books.

But of course there’s a downside to this. I never buy books online from because I’ve bought used books online before and the condition was atrocious when I finally got them. So I’m limited to what’s available in my local store.

That’s okay. It isn’t the worst thing ever. But I have three books I want to buy and have looked for multiple times and haven’t found them. Ugh. But I shall wait! Because I’m not spending 2x or more on a book I can get at Half Price. And don’t recommend I look at the library, I KNOW. But I need my own copies.

Whoops.

Yesterday I wrote about Amazon largely ignoring readers during its annual Prime Day. I may have been mistaken.

There’s a new book I’m interested in coming out next week. I happened to see a tweet from its author stating that the book was 70% off on Amazon. I checked. It was. A brand new release was $8.40. I decided to buy it. Then noticed that Amazon was (and still is) running a promo on books. $5 off $15. Not exactly the mountain of savings you could have from other items, but it is something. The promo code is primebooks17.

Also, this week is coupon week at my local HPB.

A Letter to 21-year-old me

Four years ago today I walked across the stage in my graduation commencement ceremony. This letter is meant to describe what happens over the four years that follow.

Dear John,

Take in every moment of your graduation day. Every one. It’s something you’ll never forget. The seventh of 8 siblings and the FIRST to graduate from college. I’m still proud of that, though Adrianna quickly became the second. The following events take place over the next four years, which won’t play out how we’d have expected.

2013

You finished school and our plan is to write. And we do. We write an entire book over the coming months. The book may not be comparable to Lee Child or Michael Connelly, but our name is on the cover. Don’t forget the hours we devoted to accomplishing one of our goals.

The book is released in the October following graduation. Again, soak in every moment of this day. It’s unforgettable. You’ll immediately start on book 2, early the following year you’ll abandon it. Nearly 4 years later and that manuscript is no closer to completion. We’ll get back to it. we will.

2014

2014 is rather uneventful until the second half of the year. Then, oh boy does it get juicy. See, during this time we have a friend. She’s someone we met in 2010 just before graduating from high school. Over the course of the four years that followed we realize how utterly fantastic she is. I’m still not sure what it means to love someone, but I know we loved her. And you’ll make the agonizing decision to tell her. It didn’t turn out as we’d have liked. The feeling isn’t mutual. But don’t worry, remember who we’re talking about here. She doesn’t laugh at you. She doesn’t throw it back in your face. She thanks you for thinking so highly of her. Doesn’t mean the feeling you’ll experience doesn’t suck, but it’s something. The worst part of this event is we essentially lose her from our life. Rather than talking regularly about anything, we stop talking altogether. I guess that’s what happens when you confess something like that and it isn’t mutual. Unfortunately, it’s 2017 and we still don’t really talk.

Immediately after that decision you’ll finally apply to your first police departments. You’ll be rejected by both. The beginning of many rejections from departments to come. Keep your head up. We’ll figure it out.

2015

This entire year is rather forgettable. In August you finally quit working at HEB to begin working at Half Price Books. You’ll meet great people and you’ll be paid to be surrounded by books. What could be better, right? Well it turns out it isn’t as great as we’d expect. But that’s not until next year to discuss.

In December you’ll get your fourth tattoo. Still waiting to add to our collection of ink.

2016

The tale of two halves of the same year. In May we’ll go on our first vacation as an adult to Washington, DC! Boy, those four days flew by and before we knew it we’re back at Half Price Books. The trip was nothing short of magical. Cherish the memories from our first vacation. It’ll only grow more distant into the past with each passing day.

In July we quit working at Half Price Books. We refuse to continue working for such a low wage and only 35 hours rather than 40. Our plan: law enforcement. You’ll immediately begin applying to departments all over the state. I don’t have the list in front of me but my memory suggests it’s around 15 departments. You’ll take written tests, you’ll be polygraphed, you’ll participate in multiple review board interviews, and you’ll devote several months to the process. But you’ll fail. Not a single department is willing to give you a chance to become a police officer. Not one. You’ll even cry a bit. It’ll suck. You’ll vow to never go through the process of applying for jobs in criminal justice again. The process is time consuming and we’ve gotten nothing out of it.

Once the law enforcement applications are completed you decide to apply for jobs you feel more qualified for. You’ll submit somewhere in the ballpark of 30-40 applications. Different companies. Different positions. And you. Some will never call. Some will invite you for an interview. Then there’s Travelers. They call. They invite you for testing. They invite you for an interview. But after all of that you have three more weeks to learn of the hiring decision. We’re up to five months without full time employment. Can we afford to wait?

2017

We turn a corner as the calendar turns a new page. We decline two job offers that would have given us more pay and hours. We do so because we’re waiting on Travelers. That opportunity is too important just to pass up before a final decision is made. The second week of January we get the offer. Travelers wants to give us an opportunity. We accept immediately and even cry a bit. It was the longest seven months of our life. But we finally had what we wanted.

Just two months after starting the new job we’ll go on vacation to Boston for eight days. It’ll be absolutely incredible. Now we’re setting ourselves up to visit many new places in the years to come.

Look, the next four years aren’t going to play out like we’d have hoped. They will be rough. You’ll be deflated and nervous. But you’ll always remain confident in yourself. You’ll never back down from what you believe in. You’ll stay true to yourself even in times of great uncertainty.

I’m proud of our growth we’ve experienced over the last four years. And looking forward to what’s to come for us in the future.

Sincerely,

The only person who knows exactly what it’s like to be you,

John Guillen

Go Now!

This week in the Houston area is one of Half Price Books’ coupon weeks. What is coupon week? Shoppers receive a coupon for each day of the week to use in-store. The week started with 20% off one item and has now risen up to 40% off an item. Tomorrow will be 50% off an item.

I write about this just about every time it happens because there is no better deal to be had. Why spend outrageous amounts of money to buy books if you don’t have to? Now go get something before the coupons are all gone!

Also, I can’t guarantee that it’s coupon week in other parts of the country.