MovieChat Forums > 84 Charing Cross Road (1987) Discussion > It was a different time, wasn't it?

It was a different time, wasn't it?


People would laugh today if you wrote to a shop for a book without including a credit card number. And Frank sent the book to her on good faith that she would pay. He didn't seem to charge her for postage (unless it was very minimal). That is amazing to me. She requested all of her books without sending money in advance and he sent them.

It was a different world back then. I know there were fewer distractions - no TV, internet, etc., but it seems people were a lot nicer and more trusting then.

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It certainly was a different time.I loved the personal relationships that developed between Helene and Frank and the rest of the staff.
Imagine the idea of putting a few dollars in an envelope and sending it halfway across the world without it getting lost or stolen!
You can almost feel and smell those lovely books and that cozy shop.Places like that which are fast disappearing in this electronic world.

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Very true about all those points--the change in trust, the possibility of doing trade without advance payment by electronic means, the personal connections made.

I suppose I ought not to bring up the biggest change of all: the ebook. (!!!!!)

I do love this movie. It's certainly not perfect as a piece of cinema, but the performances are touching and the emphasis on the pleasures of a physical book is so enjoyable.

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Agree with all the above. I often used to get things `on approval', meaning they were sent at the retailer's expense. And I would keep the article and send payment, or return it if unsuitable, even then not always at my expense. I once got a pair of binoculars from a company called `Headquarters & General' on 14 days' approval. The firm went bust a week after sending them, so I had 'em for free!

I recently bought 2 cheap movies from `Amazon', postage free. They got lost in the Christmas Rush, but without the least bother they sent replacements by First-Class Post, asking me to return the others if they ever showed-up. Eventually, the wayward ones did arrive and I sent 'em back as requested (at their expense), so trust, good service and honesty haven't been completely abolished by computers and credit cards. The total order was worth less than £6.

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Yes, Amazon does have excellent customer service and they're quick, too.

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Loved the movie, hated the ending...Hmm. But I think I know what you mean.

Sad endings after so much pleasure do leave a bitter taste. Yet I thought there was also an uplifting message to the effect - if you mean to do something in your life, don't put it off; if you leave it too long you may lose the chance altogether. I recently read a book called `The Breaking Of Eggs' which left me with a similar feeling.

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I agree that the movie, and book it was based on, touchingly present the message that important goals shouldn't be put off.

In re the positive experiences with Amazon---that makes me wonder if company founder Jeff Bezos had read the book or had seen the movie, and was inspired in any way...

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I guess e-books are probably the future. But I'll never own one; I love that stale smell of slightly musty books too much. It's ambience is perfect for reading classics like Dickens - the smell actually puts you there in those decrepit lawyers' offices and workhouses! It's like `smellyvision'.

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I guess e-books are probably the future. But I'll never own one; I love that stale smell of slightly musty books too much. It's ambience is perfect for reading classics like Dickens - the smell actually puts you there in those decrepit lawyers' offices and workhouses! It's like `smellyvision'.
Absolutely! I worked in a library in my teens and can still vaguely remember the smells of books from different sections. They weren't always pleasant but they added character. The sensuality of a book is lost with e-books/Kindle. There's also nothing nicer than browsing and admiring the colours and designs on book covers.
I'm a fountain of blood
In the shape of a girl

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Ack, no! I reject this! I reject this!

Thank goodness hipster culture is booming and real books are now back in fashion. I think e-books will exist alongside hardcopies in the future. If I'm traveling far, then I'll opt for the convenience of reading something on Kindle, but if it's my daily commute, then a real book all the way! And whenever I go abroad, I always end up buying a bunch of books and lugging them back in my suitcase.

Real books forever! 

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Very good, 'the customer is an irrelevant irritation but we still want their money'. I love it, it so perfectly describes so much of life. It's a bit like Basil Fawlty, whom Cleese based on a real hotelier. The man's mantra was 'I could run this hotel just fine, if it weren't for the guests'.

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People would laugh today if you wrote to a shop for a book without including a credit card number. And Frank sent the book to her on good faith that she would pay.


That still happens sometimes, tho it's definitely not usual. There's a small sewing shop uptown where I buy all my embroidery supplies -- since I live downtown, the owner has told me I can just call her whenever I need something and she'll put it in the mail for me along with the bill. I haven't taken advantage of this yet since it's not that far away and I like wandering around the shop while she puts my order together.

The whole set-up is old fashioned -- she doesn't take credit cards, and I'm not sure she has a computer, tho how any business today, even a small one, can get by without a computer I'm not sure.

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