I’m a jerk and I’m also a sucker. Depending upon the day of the week, I fluctuate between the two.
Let me explain. First, I’m a complete sucker. If you knock on my door, selling magazines that will keep you from joining a gang, and then flash me a picture of your babies waiting for you back home in Georgia, or Florida, or California, I WILL buy a slew of magazines from you. Magazines I don’t need (thus the reason I subscribe to Allure—a magazine I despise).
I’m such a sucker that I’ve been known to hand these solicitors ice cold drinks. I’ve even filled up their water bottles for them on more than one occasion. And once, I had a girl from Sweden ask me if there was any way I might be able to drive her to her sponsor’s home when she was through knocking on doors. She was young. It was getting dark. I said yes. Several hours later, she came back, and I piled her big bag of books and her bike in my van, and drove her home.
This is why my husband placed a NO SOLICITING sign on our front door. To stop the madness.
I’m also a jerk.
Last week, I went to our local Costco with my husband. We happened to walk up the aisle where an author had set up a station to sell her book. I noticed it was YA (my genre) and the pull to go over and talk to her was great. But at the same time I didn’t want to have to buy her book. So I refused to look at her. I’ve done this same thing at writer’s conventions. Don’t make eye contact. Don’t make eye contact.
Because I know myself. Even if the book was about “How to Watch Paint Dry”, I know I would buy it. All they would have to do is look at me, and I would handing over my Visa. So, to keep myself from becoming a sucker and buying something I don’t need, I become a jerk.
I ignore them or I pretend I’m on my phone (which makes ignoring easier).
I’ve done this at Barnes and Noble (my children slowly gravitated towards an author who had cookies set out on her table, and I yanked my kids back—“NO COOKIES! I don’t need a picture book!”) . I’ve done this at writer’s conventions as well. I have completely ignored Richard Paul Evans when he had set up shop years ago at my local book store; I just passed him on by. And now, I was doing it to this poor author at Costco. I mean come on, that takes a lot of guts to set up a book signing at Costco, a place where people are coming to buy frozen chicken and boxes of soup in bulk. It’s tough enough to do a book signing at a book store let alone a warehouse.
But I did it. I passed her by. I didn’t even turn my head her way. I bought my stuff and then I left.
I also knew I had to come back in an hour to pick up my pictures, and that whole hour I kept thinking about how rotten I was. How could I do that to her? I’m an author myself, for Pete’s sake! I should be supportive. I should have at least said hi. What a jerk I was!
Karma was going to come back and bite in my big ol’ behind. I was certain of it. The idea of being a jerk ate at me for that whole hour and I just couldn’t let it go.
When I went back to pick up the photos, I noticed the author was still there. So I made my way to her. Even though she had no idea I had been a jerk, probably hadn’t even notice me pass her by like all the others, I knew it and I had to make things right. I approached her and said hi, and then ended up talking with her for quite some time. Come to find out, she was a pretty nice person (an author a nice person? Of course). She gave me some great advice, answered my questions, and even told me to email her if I had more.
And yes, I bought her book. But it was so worth it. The price of the book balanced out the advice she gave me. I need to be more supportive of the local authors in my area and I’m determined to do just that. I may not buy their books, but I can at least say hi.
I know, if ever I do a book signing (a very tough and humble thing to do—makes me shudder just to think about it), someone smiling and saying hi would be highly appreciated.
Karma. What goes around comes around, I’m certain of it.
And to pass on more Karma, I’m giving away my signed copy of WATCHED by Cindy M. Hogan, the author brave enough to set up shop at Costco.
If you would like a chance to own this book and pass on some karma too, just leave a comment to this post saying so.
What do you do in those situations? Do you walk on by or do you stop and say hello? Am I the only rotten one out there who does this kind of thing?