Monday, September 12, 2011

Open Letter

Look lady, I know that you were very disappointed, and likely insulted, that the 1930’s book on birds that's been in your family since your grandfather's time (or since you jacked it from the library as a kid) didn't fetch a better offer than 25¢ from the buy counter at Half-Price Books. Unless the book was a lot more beaten up than it appeared, the offer of a quarter seemed really low to me, too.

BUT - That wasn't the fault of the guy at the checkout counter and your passive-aggressive messing with him simply made you look like an idiotic twit. He was confused and uncomfortable, the rest of us were bewildered and you seeming happy to have made someone who hadn't done you any harm squirm left a foul taste in everyone's mouths. You could have just expressed your disappointment, politely and plainly. Or you could have been really smart and taken the book to a professional who specializes in rare books and gotten it appraised instead of bringing it to a used-book chain.

The real world isn't like an episode of "Raid the Attic To Sell Off Your Grandparents' Stuff and Get Rich Quick." On TV, they select the people who they show, and weed out the people who aren't sitting on something that turns out to be worth a small fortune and/or who just wouldn't make good television. (Don't wait by the phone. The call's not coming.) If you actually knew enough to be able to accurately appraise the value of your book, you also would have known that the people most likely to buy it wouldn't randomly wander into a used bookstore in a half-empty strip mall looking for one. Nor are they likely to pay top dollar for a book that some random choad offers up on E-Bay. And even if they would, E-Bay would want a cut to be the middleman, so you wouldn't see all of the money in any event.

I know that it's ego-boosting to be mean to people in service professions. It gives you a feeling of being superior to your fellow human beings that you use to salve the bruises that you sustained when people who think that they're such hot stuff put you down. And I know that you don't care that the people in line behind you thought that you were little more than a mean-spirited wench with remarkably poor social skills. When confronted with not getting something you thought you were entitled to, you set out to hate on a fellow American who was doing nothing other than what he was being paid to do and wasn't a party to your hurt and embarrassment. I've long been of the opinion that we don't need terrorists - they're amateurs compared to the spite that we have for each other. And who do we have here? Why, it's Exhibit A.

Okay, I've railed on long enough, and in doing so proved that it actually is possible to waste part of the Internet. So I'm going to wrap up with the first thought that crossed my mind once I actually figured out just what the Hell your issue was.

Grow up. We have enough problems as it is.

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