Funny, sad, crazy, scary or just stoopid?
This sort of thing attracts all types, including people who were handing out leaflets promoting various causes. An old lady approached me with a political flyer, and I took it saying, "If I take this from you, will you take something from me?" She agreed, and I handed her a copy of the article. She glanced at it, then went ballistic.
She told me the she was "an author" and that she'd heard all about THIS, and that I was taking food out of author's mouths by doing what I was doing. I asked her what she thought I was doing, and she told me that I was preventing authors from receiving royalties. Um, ma'am, I am giving away books that I've paid for. The authors have already received royalties on these books. No, she maintained, I was ALL WRONG. Haughtily, she exclaimed, "You'd understand if you were a WRITER." Um, ma'am, I AM a writer. "I meet many people who SAY they write - when I say a writer, I mean someone who writes for a living." Uh, I do write for a living. "No, you don't!," she cried. Um, yes, ma'am, I'm pretty sure I do.
She was pretty furious, and I was feeling pretty uncomfortable. OK, ma'am, if I don't give my old books away, what do you think I SHOULD do - burn them or throw them away? At this point, she demanded to know my name. Come on, am I going to give my name to a stranger who is berating me in the middle of the street? I just kind of smiled and told her that she was entitled to her opinion (you can't influence someone who isn't listening), and she responded by shouting, "It isn't my opinion - it's a fact!" She then shoved the article back into my hands, and stalked off, muttering to herself.
OK, so please tell me - what do you think? Is this funny, sad, crazy, scary or just stoopid? How would you have handled it? And please, don't be nice, be honest with me.
I don't know how I would have handled it, but I think you did best by just smiling at her. There's really no good way to handle someone shouting about things they obviously really know nothing about.
VERY sad because of the narrow-mindedness.
You have my sympathy, Annulla. My stomach churned when I read your post.
How do you handle a person who basically "wigs out" when you offer them something? Well, I have worked with the public too many years and my experience is, people want to be heard. Simply, listen to what they say and then smile. "I appreciate what you are saying but.." Well, its worked for me but maybe having the dimples worked! ;-)
Seriously, people who are in the arts are very passionate about their craft and keep it close to them. Apparently, she has not taken the opportunity to investigate the website, those involved or is familiar with the goal of BC. It is used to PROMOTE reading! It has definately revived my own passion for reading and I take pleasure in sharing those special books I have read with others. I am not going to hop back onto my soapbox because I have already posted on how I felt with regards to the writers/royalties issues.
Don't worry, there are always the nay-sayers no matter what and you cannot please everyone. But, in this case, I would say that there are plenty who enjoy, appreciate and understand how wonderful Book Crossing is.
What confuses me about this woman's argument is the idea we're preventing authors from getting royalties. Wonder if she goes around breaking the windows of used book stores? Fair or not, once that initial sale is made, no matter how many times a book is sold or how much somebody might get for it on eBay, the author gets zip. (the same with paintings, of course) But as I said, someone with emotional, irrational ideas cannot be convinced by rational argument.
Please don't let this awful incident slow you down! After all, last time I looked we were tied on the leader board :o)
You did the right thing. You listened to her point of view, attempted to present your view.. she wasn't willing to listen. She may have been a writer but I don't think she was ever published... if she was, most likely she would understand the royalty issue. I mean, the publishers are in no way the MPAA or RIAA where they can dictate the rules to congress. (sorry had to throw in a snide remark) ;-)
It is unfortunate since she may have enjoyed bookcrossing
It is a sad thing... too many people believe what the media or other people tell them to believe. In this case, she believed some anti-bookcrossing FUD.
I'm not so sure. If she was willing to take an honest look at bookcrossing, she would probably enjoy herself.
Who knows? She may be too set in her ways to change opinion. Although, when older people say this argument, it sounds somewhat hollow.
sorry if I'm not making too much sense today... I need caffeine...
I am so sorry this happened to you. I agree with what the others have said - you did nothing wrong and handled a very sticky situation with grace.
This type of thing irritates me so much!! Like many other people on this site, I have bought way more books than I normally would since joining book crossing. I hear about books that others like and then go look for them in the shops. I see book sales and I snatch up books like a lunatic! I love it! It makes me read more, it makes me share books with book crossers and it also gets my family and friends interested in books. How on earth could this be bad for authors....grr...
Any chance you picked up this author's name?
I've also begun reading more and buying more books since I joined this site. I used to watch a lot more TV. Now I turn off the TV more often to read. I don't know if it's because of less TV and more books or other things in my life, but I find I've got more mental clarity.
Even though I'm not a writer (unless you count the content that is published on my website), if I was someone who actually gained financially from the written word, I wouldn't hesitate to join BC and do what everyone else is doing -- promoting literacy, open-mindedness, the sharing of knowledge and the power it gives.
I registered here on August 26, but today is the first day I've actually LOOKED around, added books, and read the forums and I have to say... I am so totally hooked!! This is an absolutely brilliant, fantastic and awesome idea. The Karma that's gonna come back to all involved (especially Ron and everyone on his side) may just push humanity to become what so many wish it to be (Star Trek Universe anyone?) :)
Anyway, just my 2 cents worth if anyone's interested.
Take care and be well,
Julie A. Richards
Inner ear/Vestibular/Balance Disorder
Seeking submissions regarding chronic illness/disease and those who care for them. Contact email@example.com for more info.
AOL IM: OWOLjrichards; Yahoo Messenger: OWOLjrichards; ICQ: 152572062; MSN Messenger: OWOLjrichards
Sorry for rambling, this just really got to me. I'll write something funnier next time, I promise!:-)
I also wanted to confess - to anyone who may have gotten the impression that I am incredibly polite - that I didn't actually CALL the woman ma'am - I just thought of calling her ma'am. However, you should also know that I think of ma'am as a euphamism for "you old b*tch."
Finally, I wanted to let you know that the whole thing kind of cheered me up. I thought it was great that the old broad was out there getting involved (her flyer was in support of a local political candidate), supporting her causes, feeling committed, feisty, opinionated, involved and feeling free to speak her mind without fear of censure or reprisal. I hope that when I am in my dotage, I too, will be able to passionately rant and rave in the middle of the street! And seeing the old activist ranting and raving in the middle of the street once again made me feel that my wild, nutty, boisterous city is really, once again, returning to itself. I love NY! :-)