Sunday, August 3, 2014

City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco, California

This past Friday evening I visited City Lights Bookstore in downtown San Francisco, California for the very first time. 

There's a lot to love about this bookstore and a couple of things that I didn't like in the least.

What I loved about City Lights Bookstore: 

* Friendly staff members. 
* An abundance of staff picks placed throughout their storefront.
* Three story bookstore with interesting/unique layout.
* Plenty of places to sit & read throughout their bookstore.
* Wide selection of interesting books and genres.
* Plenty of onsite readings & events. 
* Open 10am to midnight daily.

What I didn't love about City Lights Bookstore:

My main complaint is that City Lights Bookstore doesn't have restrooms for customers to use while visiting their bookstore, which I feel is ridiculous. I needed to use a restroom while I was there and was put off by the fact that I had to cut my visit short and leave in search of a bathroom. I'm a tourist to San Francisco and am completely unfamiliar with the area. 

City Lights is a large bookstore and having restrooms available for customers inside their store or at the very least the ability to point a customer to a nearby public restroom facility is essential. I did ask the female staff member at the cash register where the nearest restroom was that I could use... I was told (by this same female staff member) that City Lights has gotten into trouble with local businesses for telling their customers which businesses have restrooms to use. Great, so, I was left to my own devices to find a restroom on my own. 

Parking is another potential issue when visiting City Lights Bookstore. There isn't a parking lot for City Lights Bookstore. You either park at a parking meter or in a nearby neighborhood. I lucked out and found a nearby parking meter to park my car. I had enough money on me to pay for 30 minutes of parking. After leaving City Lights Bookstore, I didn't have time to look for a restroom because time was soon to run out on the parking meter and I didn't have anymore coins to feed the parking meter. I was forced to look else where for a restroom.

Yes, City Lights Bookstore in and of itself is a wonderful bookstore, but not having a bathroom onsite for customers to use isn't cool... It makes me wonder where the staff goes to use restrooms during their shift??? You know employees are going to have to use a restroom at some point right?

So, much about ones visit to a bookstore is based on ones experience at a bookstore during their visit. Even though, I felt that City Lights carries many wonderful books and has a great layout, part of my experience there wasn't a positive one.


  1. That is totally bad customer service with the whole restroom issue. I can almost promise you that there was a restroom in there for the employees. At least they could maybe require customers to make a purchase to use it. I have seen stores do that before.

    1. Yes, bad customer service for sure. II think having restrooms for customers only is a great idea. Especially if they have events, which they do have at their bookstore.