Tuesday, September 12, 2006


I almost got kicked out of Barnes & Noble the other day. So now you know what I do for fun on the weekends.

The other Twentysomething Authors and I have developed a tradition of alerting one another how the Formerly SuperSecretDoubleProbation Project is displayed in our local bookstores, complete with pictures. Thanks to an alert from Friendboy Andy, I found us in a Swamp Barnes & Noble, not only in the Essay Section, forced to rub up against Anna Quinlin, but, like, out there. On The Table.

You know The Table. The "New Releases" table. It's right when you walk in the door, before the Starbucks and the bathrooms. Wow. I'm on The Table, you guys. One of the other authors took a picture of it at a B&N in New York City:

But it was even better here in The Swamp, because not only were we on The Table, we were... elevated on a shelf, standing up on the table, proclaiming our love for attention. We were the Tom Cruise of the literary world, and Barnes & Noble was our couch!

So I took a picture of us, standing up on The Table.

This apparently violated B&N's Lame People With Cameras Law, because the manager ran up all, "Ma'am? Ma'am, you can't do that in here."

First of all, okay... not so much with the ma'am. And also, I wasn't humping the table, I was taking a picture of it. So by way of explanation, I pointed at Twentysomething Essays and announced, "That's my book."

Ah, no, he could out-dork me. "Well. Barnes & Noble has a very strict policy regarding our displays."

Be-- because they were so mind-blowingly creative in the way they'd stacked the books on a table? I apologized meekly and slunk away to spend three hours doing research in the Writing Reference section without buying anything instead of the usual four. At least he didn't rip the film out of the casing.

Meanwhile, at Border's, my mother was fixing her Official Teacher Glare upon a salesclerk who was tapping away on a computer and not finding Twentysometing Essays or anything like it.

"Never heard of it," he sniffed.

"My daughter is in that book," she said stiffly. "I wanted to buy five copies."

"We should bring her in for a signing," he suggested.

"Well, that would be kind of hard to do without books, wouldn't it?"

My mom is awesome, y'all.

very strict policy at: mb@blondechampagne.com


my kidz mom said...

love that mamacita :-)

DivineDivorcee said...

your mom rocks! :D and *now* we know where you get it from!

Jenib said...

^5 to Mom!

lina the reader said...

What's wrong with taking a picture? Seriously. Are displays trademarked or something? Stupid B&N sales guy.

As much as I adore MB, my heart goes out to poor Borders sales guy. Maybe he was typing the name of the book into the computer wrong. I used to work at Blockbuster and sometimes I'd do that with movies. I had a couple of people give me the scary Teacher Glare but if you tell me a movie is called "Existence" and don't tell me it's spelled "Existenz" then I'm not going to find it.

monica said...

I finally gave up on B & N and Borders. My local B & N claims they have the books I'm looking for, but they can never find them in the store. If only someone had taken a picture of where they put them... Borders rarely has the books I want. The airport newstands have better selections.

If I feel like braving the traffic on I-71, I'll head for Jo-Beth Books. Otherwise, I use my Amazon Prime account and get free shipping for 2nd day air delivery. I have actually received shipments from Amazon's Kentucky distribution center in the late afternoon when I had just placed the order that morning.

Tell your Mom to send a bunch of her friends to that Borders, asking for copies of 20/20. When they are told that the book is not available, have them tell the manager that they will be heading to Barnes and Noble where the display for the book is so awesome that photographers are being turned away.

mike the inspired writer said...

I told you B&N loved it.

And lina may be on to something. Before the book made The Table, before it was published, I had to all but commandeer the B&N assistant manager's lookup computer. "No, it's 'Twentysomething' without the dash. Okay, try looking under Random House. Edited by a 'Kellogg.' Yes, spelled like the cereal company."

That said, the picture policy sounds a bit harsh. Find someone with a camera phone who can do it discreetly.

amy lou the reader said...

Your mom IS awesome.

Didn't know you couldn't take pictures in a bookstore...

MB said...

Lina, thanks for bringing that up-- a note of clarification.... I've had every customer service job in the world and would would totally hear you if the book were a strange spelling. My mom is not the type to use TeacherGlare lightly, believe me. She knows its power. The man was being less than helpful and was eager to return to his busy job of standing around being pierced.

Borders has been giving the other 20something Authors issues as well. One was told it wasn't in stock, that perhaps he was mistaken as to the books very existance, and then he went to check and found it in the fiction section. Because when a book has "Essays" IN THE TITLE, it very clearly belongs next to Steinbeck.

And Mike, you are very sweet to work that hard to find the book. Thank you.

lurkerfromathirdworld said...

Your book was indeed on a TABLE in the B&N across from NorthPark in Dallas. I was proud FOR you!

MB said...

Outstanding, lurker! Thanks for the report from the Republic of Texas. I'm glad we're selling internationally.

Owen the Reader said...

Yup, it's here in Jackson, Mississippi, at both the B&N and Borders, but not at Lemuria Books, who recieved a severe taunting for the absence.

Good for your mom. Nothing like a few thousand watts of The Glare to promote good manners and prompt response, yes sir. My first and last full exposure was from Cecilia Aarons, methuzila HS english teacher extraudinare, accompanied by "You are each entitled to your own opinion. But you're wrong." 30 years later the memory is just as potent.

Carrie said...

According to the ever-handy bordersstores.com, The Book is in stock at the store in Gurnee. I may have to make a field trip and test their camera policy.

I'm working on a project where I take a photograph every day for a year, counting down to my 30th birthday. No reason that can't be the picture of the day. :) (If anyone is bored and wants to see the stuff I take pictures of, go to http://the-30th-year.livejournal.com .)

red pill junkie said...

My copy won't arrive no earlier than October 30th :-(. But that is kind of a good news, because apparently Amazon had a shortage of books ;-).

No prime account for me, being in Mexico and all that though, no free shipping and the expenses makes me feel like an Illegal Costumer.

MB said...

Jackson and Gurnee... so noted. Thanks guys :)

the buxom wench said...

Awwwwww, congrats :) If I see a copy of the book here you can be sure I'll take a pic' and send it your way :) x

the buxom wench said...

PS: Shall arm myself with the digi-cam and hit Borders in the city here and see what I can find :)x

MB said...

That'd be sweet! Even if I can't be in Australia, it's cool to think that my book might :)

dondiaz said...

Funny you should have that experience at B&N. Let me refer you to Bean's blog (clydetombaugh.blogspot.com or link from kroq.com's Kevin&Bean section) of Aug.31, where he describes a similar encounter at Starbucks. According to alot of comments, the no-camera policy seems to be the rule with businesses open to the public here and abroad.

Here is a fun experiment for your trip. Go into American businesses in France (McDonald's, KFC, etc.) and start taking pictures, then let us know what happened.

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