Thursday, November 22, 2012

Waiting in line for a lesson on human nature

Once, a very long time ago, not on Black Friday, but that's not important, I decided to wait in a line to get the newest video game system that everyone just had to have. It may have been Christmas Eve. And it was at a store in the mall.

photo by Tom Taker via flickr

I'm not the type of person who would get up early and go stand in a line for hours for something that I could probably just order online, or pick up after Christmas. But I thought I had an advantage and I thought it might be fun.

I used to work in the mall. And I knew that there was a special, hidden door that I could use to get in before the mall opened. So, I got up at the crack of dawn--okay--maybe earlier. And I snuck into the mall--it was deadly quiet.

I found my way to the store and voila, I was first in line. I waited several hours there, like an idiot. At one point, the night security guard saw me and gave me a knowing smile when I told him what I was doing.

Gradually other people joined me. The first was a lady who said that another store in the mall down the way was open early, so she thought, sort of as an aside, that she might as well come down here have a try at a whatchit.

When there were about seven of us, the anchor, JC Penny, must have opened its outer doors, because there were people gathering at its mall door looking at us enviously.

We were the first ones in line! We were a definite in on the goods.

The lights came on in the little electronics store and we saw movement. The manager was preparing his till. Then he came to the gate and told us how this was going to go down. We were so excited.

Then the security guard opened the nearest, outside mall door and all hell broke loose.

I heard a woman screaming, "They're already in line! They're already in line!" A group of people carrying pillows and wearing bunny slippers came running around the corner protesting and calling for security--literally shrieking like madmen--or people who had slept on concrete.

Apparently, these people had been waiting all night outside. And apparently the security guard who smiled at me approvingly had been the one to make them wait outside instead of sneaking into the mall like I had.

There were twelve of them. And what do you know? Twelve was the exact number of whatever the watchit was that I was waiting for.

The man in the electronics store told them he'd called security to haul their screaming, protesting, obnixious asses away. This made the woman in line behind me very happy. And, like a petulant child, he threatened to not sell any whatchits at all if everyone didn't just calm down.

Finally, the interlopers or true-in-liners, depending on whose side you're on, quieted down and waited for more security, but refused to move from in front of our line. They had pieces of paper that they'd already used to number themselves in order of who showed up first.

So, the lady in line behind me somehow managed to get her own little pieces of paper and wrote out numbers for our order in line. She gave me number one. There was no way, in her mind, that these barbarians were going to get her whatchit. She was never going to shop at that little store again if she was cheated out of her whatchit. (This is the same lady who was only in line as an afterthought.)

Understand, I was waiting to see if, hope beyond hope, electronics-store dude might just have thirteen instead of twelve. Because clearly these people, rude and insane as they were behaving, were first in line.

Anyway, security arrived, the mess was sorted and the people who'd been outside all night were allowed to enter the store and make their purchases. They waited for each other to finish, eyeing us suspiciously, as if we were planning to jump them on their way out, and left together.

I got my name on a waiting list, went home, enjoyed Christmas, went out a couple of days later and got one of the prized possessions at Best Buy. No scramble, no line, no waiting. Pretty as you please.

This episode has so many life lessons contained in it, I'm not sure I learned them all.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Zales sees women as prostitutes

Check out the Zales commercial I've been seeing on television lately.

The camera pans along the floor. We see a jewelry gift box and clothes strewn all about. Then a leggy woman closes the bedroom door.
"The only thing better than giving her a diamond, is surprising her with one."

Why? Because she'll have sex with you, that's why.

So, basically Zales is telling you that women will prostitute themselves for gifts. If you just give her some diamonds, you'll get some sex. But if you surprise her with diamonds, you're going to get some RIGHT FRIGGIN' NOW.

This is the same shot they used last year, but this time with the full voice over instead of a song. In last year's, the voice over says at the end, "This is your moment."

Because you gave her diamonds. So now she'll have sex with you.

In Zales' world--and unfortunately they're playing into the mindset of too many men--women don't have sex with you because they want to or because they love you. They have sex with you because you give them things. You take them to dinner; you buy them little gifts, send them flowers and chocolates. Want really great sex? Well, you have to give her a really great gift.

Zales knows that all women get really, really turned on by diamonds. Women are essentially prostitutes.

So, if you want sex, give your girl some ice.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Allstate Insurance thinks women are stupid

Allstate insurance thinks woman are incapable of reasoning. How else to explain this Allstate Bonus Check ad.

Interior. Cafe. Man and woman at a table having lunch.

Pert little woman: Remember when you said men are superior drivers?
Young, confused-looking man: Yeah.
Woman: Yeah, then, how did I get this--
Booming Allstate dude voice: --ALLSTATE BONUS CHECK--
Little woman: So weird, right?

[At this point, confused guy ought to say, "hell yeah, that was weird. Where did that freaky voice come from?" But instead he just looks more confused.]

She explains that her agent told her that "only Allstate sends a bonus check for every six months you're accident free."

Perky little woman in sarcastic tone: But I'm a woman. Maybe it's a misprint. Does it look like a misprint?

She pushes the check in confused dude's face and when he tries to explain that her being accident free for six months in no way proves that men are not superior drivers to women, she barks at him.

Little woman: Silence.

And the dude shuts up--like all television men are supposed to do when television women speak.

So, in essence, perky little sarcastic woman has only proven two things. One, she can't reason logically. And two, she treats her boyfriend like a child.

Monday, November 19, 2012

A wonderful weekend with local authors

I had such a wonderful time at the Meet the Authors event. I sold a few books and bought a few--and two authors gave me a copy of theirs. The time went by rather quickly and for that I was glad, because it wasn't as great as a garage sale where you can go inside and grab a bite to eat whenever you want. My husband came along, though, so I had someone at my table when I needed a break--and he brought me lunch!

My two favorite sales were an older lady and a young girl.

I was over at John Ryan's table; he was telling me some of his history, when my husband pulled me away. One of the organizers was looking for me--she said there was a woman out in the lobby that wanted to meet me, so I followed her out there. An attractive, gray-haired, well-dressed lady was sitting on a bench outside, with a cane, and she had clipping of the Hometown News article that featured me and my books with her.

She'd come all that way just to get a copy of each of my books for her grandsons! But she'd recently developed vertigo, she said, and she just didn't think she could make it through the room to my table. What an awesome lady! I felt so honored--and not unlike a celebrity.

But I suppose my most favorite sale was the twin! Adorable teenaged twins were at my table while their father hovered around. One was very interested in Children of Path, while the other was not. The one looking at my book told me her sister could read a book in just a few hours. This avid reader then told me how she had read many series of books in a day, and the entire Harry Potter series in a week!

Anyway, the one looking at my book read the front, then the back; she asked about the picture of the panther on the cover, were there panthers in the story? Then she opened it up in the middle and read, then went to the first page and started reading. Her sister said, "What are you doing?" Impatient girl! Her twin said, "I'm reading this book!" Like, duh. Then the reader abruptly put the book down and went to her father and said, "I want that book."

She told her dad she had money for it at home and would pay him back. He made her promise. Then he made both girls say pretty please. And while getting out his money, he made them both call him "most awesome dad." And they did!

I loved this sale because I felt like my book was connecting with that young woman--in the way it connects with me. It was a wonderful feeling and I hope the book doesn't disappoint her.

At the book fair, I purchased Finn Flanagan and the Fledglings by Kip Taylor. This is a series book about a boy who dies, becomes an angel, then joins a league of young angels to save the world. At least that's what Taylor's rep told me. The cover picture is cool (I met the illustrator there and she signed the book for me) and I found the story idea intriguing.

I also purchased The Zen of Max by Lou Belcher. I'd heard about Lou's book subtitled "a memoir of great wisdom and many naps" and about her late cat Max some time ago and was glad to finally be able to get a copy.

Across from my table was Charles Nothe with his massive tome Proscriptii, historical fiction set in ancient Rome. I really wanted the book because I like really big books. But I knew that wasn't a good reason to spend $20 on a book and, after all, my husband was with me to remind me to be more frugal.

Unfortunately, when I went to speak with Nothe, I told him my dilemma and his response was to give me a copy of the book. Part of me understands why he did it. It was clear in talking with him that he and I were both passionate about history and historical fiction--he much more so than I because he actually researched and wrote, whereas I have only read and enjoyed, the subject (except for that little BA degree, of course). But, like with that young twin, when you find someone who clearly wants to read your book--you want them to read it!

Well, my husband refused the offer and insisted I pay, an idea I had no qualms with. But when I tried to give Nothe money he absolutely refused. So we decided upon an exchange. I gave him a copy of Zombie Revolution for a son or nephew, I can't exactly recall. I really don't think it was a fair exchange and depending on who you ask (me or hubs) one of us got the better deal. (Hubs isn't all that fond of heavy tomes of history.)

In fact, hubs later looked at me with a smile and said, I read the first sentence and almost put the book down, but it was okay after that. And he had me read the first sentence of Proscriptii. It was a long, complicated, glorious sentence and I told him, "I'm going to love this book!" We shared a good laugh at our differences.

I shared a table with Stanton Bronstein who writes under the name S.N. Bronstein. He turned out to be a fabulous table mate! Great sense of humor, great attitude--I think he and I and hubs all shared a basic outlook or worldview. I mean, imagine us sharing a table with Debra John who apparently brought along a psychic! (Don't get me wrong, Debra was a lovely person...but if you know know what I mean.)

Stanton was much more of a pitchman than I could ever be. People were first drawn to his table by the covers of his detective book series--photos of places in Miami. He only had to give them his spiel and then turn to the children's book at the end of the table with its picture of a way-cool black cat and they were sold--if not on the adult series, then definitely on the kids book. He outsold me by a large margin.

And I am now intimately familiar with his books; if he had left for a while, by Sunday, I could have given shoppers the entire spiel in his stead.

When he was packing up, Stanton gave me a copy of the kids book, Private Eye Cats Book One: The Case of the Neighborhood Burglars. I was grateful. I didn't insist on paying Stanton, mostly because I hadn't slobbered all over the book practically asking for it. He shouldn't have given it to me though. But I'll definitely enjoy the read so I'm really thankful.