please empty your brain below

And what a wonderful foreign language department they have. Books from what seems every tongue under the sun on I think the second floor. They even have a few in Cornish.....

I'm looking forward to seeing the new department after the move.
DG, "84 Charing Cross Road" is one of my favorite films. Next time you are in the area, you may wish to check out the address yourself.,_Charing_Cross_Road#The_building.27s_site_today
I'd forgotten about the display of books by publisher, a system that even my local independent bookseller in Sevenoaks used to use. The two-stage payment system endured probably longer at Foyles than anywhere else.
for a long time Fortnum & Mason had a similar payment system, but at least service there was by polite gentlemen in formal wear
I'd forgotten the bizarre "order by publisher" setup. I remember going to Foyles when I moved to London in the early 80s and asking what books they had on dBASE II. The assistant didn't know and because I had no idea who might publish such books I gave up on Foyles and it was a long time before I returned. Now, of course, it wouldn't matter - a computerised catalogue means you can easily find a book and its publisher so the sort order on the shelves is less important.
Can somebody explain this two-stage payment process? Never heard of it!
Oh blimey - I remember dBase and the odd systems at Foyles. I once found a set of hardback books - all mispriced, clearly in error by an assistant at the shop and, when I tried to pay for one, all hell let lose. You had to present your potential purchase to one assistant to get an 'invoice' and then you had to go to another 'cashier' to actually make the payment. In the instance I mention, I navigated through the first stage and then observed extremely sudden and energetic actions by several members of staff to rush to the shelves where I'd found the books, check the pricing matched the pricing in the one I'd found and to check the rrp via some arcane reference system. It was quite hilarious and I managed to make my £3 purchase just in time before they could stop the sale. Sorry - didn't feel at all guilty!
It was a three-stage process: queue to take chosen book to assistant; queue to take sales slip to cash person; queue again to reclaim book from sales assistant. I only ever encountered it elsewhere at the Brezhnev-era GUM in Red Square.
How out of touch am I?! I didn't know about this. Many thanks for the heads-up. Off for a potter shortly.

It took over 10 people to get me to my room in a government run Chinese hotel once. They even had an official key operator and then an official door-opener.
Sounds like Foyles may have accumulated a sufficient mass of books to be able to distort L space.

In a world of ever electronic-ed reading matter, I wonder if that will ever happen again. Or will it be left to places like the British Library?

As for arrangement by publisher, a local bookshop did that around thirty years ago. Subsequent owners went to arrangement by subject - in as far as one can do such a thing.
Anyone hankering after a three stage payment system could still visit a builders' merchant. Travis Perkins do a particularly good example.
@Sarah - ah the Travis Perkins system worked well for me. I was buying some MDF & getting it cut to size, and each person on the chain took pity on me and applied a discount to the price!
I remember the bizarre payment system from visiting as a kid in the late 80's - I think it was the success of Watersthones and others that forced them to finally modernise. I haven't been to the Charing Cross branch for a while but wasn't too impressed by either of the branches I visited.

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