While on a long layover in Toronto recently I discovered that the airport’s Paradies Lagardère stores have a Read and Return policy. You can buy a book and return it later at any of their airport stores (sometimes named Relay or Today) for a 50% refund. What a great deal! The only proviso is that you must keep the original receipt. I kept mine inside the back page of the book so that I wouldn’t lose it.
Because I had grown tired of the personal development books I had on my Kindle (a girl can only develop so much), I decided to buy a novel to pass the time. I chose Jodi Picoult’s A Spark of Light. This turned out to be an interesting choice because it tackles the difficult and complex issues surrounding women’s health centres, birth control, unplanned pregnancies, anti-abortion protests, and the lives of all the people involved.
Picoult brings her great story-telling skills to the task and she does a wonderful job of making all the characters interesting. I found myself sympathizing with all of them, including those whom I might otherwise have viewed negatively.
I read it for a while at the airport and then later when I got back to Edmonton I read a little more each day at home. The book has a lot of characters and a variety of time frames which are not in chronological order, so I confess to getting a little confused at times. Even so, the compelling narrative and the very real characterizations kept me hooked.
When I flew from Edmonton to San Jose yesterday I wanted to finish the book so that I could see if I really did get a 50% return on it. I read it while waiting for my flight and finished it before landing in Vancouver. I almost left it on the seat beside me on the plane but thankfully my seat neighbour saw it and reminded me not to forget it.
As I walked through Vancouver airport looking for my departure gate, I saw a Paradies Lagardère store and took my book in for a refund. Sure enough, they took back the book for which I had paid $22 and gave me $11 cash in exchange. Brilliant! What a great idea this is.
At that point, though, I needed something else to read so I looked at the other books on their shelves. That was when I noticed that not only do they have a Read and Return program, they also have a Buy Two For $30 program. I think I may be in love.
I am not normally a frequent flyer but this year has seen me in a lot of airports so this opportunity to return a book for cash worked out well for me. If you are travelling and a regular reader, I certainly recommend it. They have 850 stores in 98 airports across Canada and the United States, and you have six months to return a book to get the refund. And, let’s be honest; there is nothing else you can do on planes and in airports that is better than reading and getting refunds.