— information leafblower

Blame, Etc.

Last night was a fiasco on so many levels. And I’m not even talking about the game. They ran. out. of. books. You know, at the BOOK SIGNING?
I got to the ESPN Zone around 5:30 in anticipation for The Sports Guy’s book signing, which was scheduled to start at 6 p.m. Once I arrived, the line was about halfway down the block, but not too bad. Since it wasn’t very long (yet) I decided to go into the Barnes & Noble next door and get a copy of The Sports Guy’s book so I’d have something to read while I was in line and I wouldn’t have to worry about buying one when I got inside. I went upstairs to the customer service desk, and the first person behind the desk walked away as soon as I approached them. I got another person’s attention and asked her where I could find the book. “Is this the Red Sox book?” she asked me. I replied yes. “Oh, we pulled those from the shelves, you’ll have to buy it next door.” This confused me, but I went and got back in line lest it get too long. I’d guess about 20 people got in line in the time it took me to do that. I looked at my cell phone, it was 5:41.
A little after 6:00, the line started moving in short bursts every 15 minutes or so. I kept checking my cell phone for updates on the game, but every time I did, the score would get worse, so eventually I stopped. Every so often, someone from the ESPN Zone would come by the line and tell everyone that there would be books inside for purchase if we didn’t already have a copy and that we could purchase them for $25 with cash or credit card. Cool.
I got inside and within TV view around 7:00 and saw “Brandon” Arroyo promptly give up a dinger to A.J. Pierzynski. Wonderful. Soon after, I made my way around the corner and into the final stretch of people before TSG. Once I made the corner, I could see the table where they were selling books. As the line inched closer to the table, I started to get a sinking feeling because I saw a few empty boxes behind them and didn’t see any books. There was one on the table, which the women in front of me bought. And that’s the kicker. That was THE LAST BOOK. When I realized what was happening, I thought to myself, no way can that be the last book. They probably just needed to bring out the rest of the copies that are stored in the back room, right? Well, I wouldn’t know because there was no announcement that they ran out of books or anything like that. The people at the table just packed up their shit and left.
When I finally got up to the table, I saw a poor attempt at an order form that the ESPN people wanted everyone to fill out if they wanted to get an inscribed book mailed to them at a later date. I really wish I would have taken a picture of the form, it looked like something they made up on the spot. It was practically handwritten. They expected us to give them our credit card info and shipping address and whatever we wanted the inscription to be. Right, I just waited two hours in line to buy a book and get it signed and I’m going to write my credit card info on a little homemade form like that and wait 4-6 weeks. Sure thing.
I seriously have a hard time getting my head around the fact that this was a BOOK SIGNING and THEY RAN OUT OF BOOKS in roughly 80 minutes!! Shouldn’t someone be on top of things like this? They ran out of books at the NYC signing, so whoever was in charge of this fiasco had to have a heads up that something like this could happen.
So when it was finally my turn, I was pretty pissed off but it was too late to turn back now. So I walked up to Bill:
Me: “Hi Bill”
TSG: “Hi, how you doing?” Shakes my hand.
Me: OK, but I’m kinda pissed that they ran out of books. That woman there bought the last one”
TSG: “What, they ran out again?”
Me: “Yeah, you need a new agent or something.”
TSG: “It’s not my agent, it’s Barnes & Noble.”
Me: “Funny you say that. I went there right before I got in line and they told me I had to buy my book here. That was two hours ago.”
TSG: “I’m really sorry. I’m going to come back and make it up to everyone.”
Me: “Um…great..I’ll know to buy my copy beforehand next time.” Trying to salvage my allotted 30 seconds. “Why do you hate Danny Ainge?”
TSG: Still apologizing…”Wait, What? I don’t hate Danny Ainge.”
ME: “I know. Gimme some Celtics dirt.”
TSG: “Hmmmmm…some Celtics dirt…”
ME: “Are we gonna trade Tony Allen?”
TSG: “Ummm..Yeah, I think we are.”

He’s A Fan, originally uploaded by leafblower.

The way he said that didn’t lead me to believe that at all. Which doesn’t mean that we won’t be trading Tony this year, but he didn’t sound like he had any inside info on the matter. I wanted to tell him to write something positive about Paul Pierce this year, but I was being shooed away, so I quickly made with the sign and he complied. He apologized again as I walked away, and I don’t hold it against him, but someone should be worried about their job security over this. Seriously. He’s doing this book tour for one reason, to sell books. The book is currently ranked #41 at Amazon, so it’s obviously popular. They organizers had to expect a large crowd to show up. It is the baseball postseason afterall. The Sox were playing during the book signing.
When I left, at 7:23 p.m., I walked outside, and the line was all the way down the block, around the corner and halfway down the next block. I’m guessing I was about the 250th person through the line and there were another 750 in line behind me. And I’d estimate about 100 people in front of me already had books. So they sold about 150 books before they ran out. So, using those numbers (and I’m totally guessing here) that means about 475 of the 750 people outside came to this and were unable to buy books. So that’s close to $12,000 in book sales they lost out on last night (assuming everyone needing books only bought one copy). Things like that make me wonder how people keep their jobs.
Thank god I had a fall back with the sign and picture, otherwise, what’s the point? Wait in line for hours to talk to Bill for 30 seconds? I heard one of the ESPN people say that about 50 people had already given up and gone home since there were no more books for him to sign. I was really excited for the book signing when it was announced, but when I found out that it would happen at the ESPN Zone, my expectations were lowered greatly. So I guess I really shouldn’t be surprised at how last night unfolded.
Other big fans of information leafblower:
Brett Easton Ellis
Chuck Palahniuk

  1. Dan says: October 5, 200511:26 am

    That fucking sucks. I’m almost happy now that I didn’t make the trek to go to the signing. Although I did leave work early only to watch The 14-2 Massacre, so it’s not like that was all that much better.

  2. Glenn says: October 5, 20051:00 pm

    Nice job.
    But you could have asked him for some friggin’ Kings dirt.
    The store’s buyer should have made sure plenty of stock was on hand, and the publisher/distributor rep who is assigned to that account really should have made sure they had more than enough copies. *Always* over-stock for an instore, in case there’s more demand than expected.

  3. Uncle Grambo says: October 6, 20051:20 pm

    Sports Guy. Some say best appreciated in short bursts. Can’t believe people are aching for a novel/memoir/whatevs from him. If you want my take, spend 90 minutes watching “Fever Pitch” and spare yourself the agony of reading his extended theories on why 90210’s Valerie Malone would be the perfect woman for Theo Epstein (or some shit like that).
    That said, I feel for you, Leaf. I can’t believe B&N didn’t have extra copies of the book either in stock or at the event! Coolfer’s right. Yet another reason why B&N blows and Borders is best.

  4. Bob Cook says: October 6, 20054:41 pm

    There should have been an Arnie Flufkin at the signing, telling Simmons, “Kick my ass! This is my fault! C’mon, I want you to kick my ass!”

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