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March 15th, 2009

Insight needed

Here's a question I've been pondering for a while and just can't seem to answer to my own satisfaction...

One of the phone questions I answer most frequently at work is, "When is the best time to bring books in to sell?" On a slow day, I'll answer this question 10 times; most days it's closer to 15 or 20. Let's be conservative and say I answer this question 50 times in a week.

Out of those 50 callers, usually one will respond, "Then that's when I'll bring my books in." The other 49 will offer some variant of "There's only one time when I can bring my books in, and THAT's when I'm coming." It's especially puzzling if they claim to have "valuable" books, but balk when I suggest they come in when the main buyer is around. Why sell those "valuable" books to someone who has already told you they can't offer as much as the boss? And it's not as if this question is part of a series of others; they may occasionally ask for directions, but usually the "when" is a stand-alone query. It's especially fun when they show up during a time I've told them (repeatedly) is terrible, and then claim that I told them it was the best time (this happens at least once every two weeks).

This behavior just doesn't parse in my brain. WHY MAKE THE CALL? Seriously. They've plainly already decided before they pick up their phones on the time they're coming. If this was the infrequent isolated incident, that'd be one thing; but this is far and away the majority. Is this some pathetic attempt to seek validation? Is this the last vestige of some courtesy learned as a child fighting a losing battle with their adult narcissism? Is this the behavior of the modern cell phone user, obsessed with using their phone to talk but not listen? WHAT?!!

Opinions are welcomed. 'Cause I'm stumped. Thank you.

And now for some name dropping

I had the great pleasure of spending a little time with the Mathesons today (that would be Richard Matheson and Richard Christian Matheson) at Dark Delicacies. I've met both before briefly, but never really got to sit down and chat with RC, who is completely delightful and just exudes passion and creativity. We chatted about the Stoker event, screenwriting, prose writing, and the bizarre state of the publishing industry. We're going to try to work out a few extra nice surprises with RC for the weekend.

Matheson the Elder was also in good spirits, and once again made me promise that we won't ask him to make any speeches at the Stoker weekend. I promised no speeches, and added no lectures or filibusters for good measure.

There were two other (ahem) rather well-known writers present. I propositioned one immediately (for the Stoker weekend, of course). If all goes well (which it looks as if it will), this fantastic gentleman will be our Media Guest of Honor.

Yep, we're not done wowing with those guests yet...