Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Please, Not in Front of the Queen
Books & Books hosted Julie Andrews a couple weeks back for The Very Fairy Princess and someone had the gall to get belligerent when we cut the line off.
The event was originally supposed to happen in May. Due to time constraints, we could only sell 200 tickets to the event. In this case, “ticket” meant buying the book from Books & Books and getting a ticket to have Julie Andrews sign it; there was no extra ticket charge. The event was sold out for two months. We advertised it as a sold out event, but Mrs. Andrews had signed stock in her hotel room the day before. You could show up and buy a book, but you had no reasonable expectation of meeting the author.
Of course, the world is filled with unreasonable people.
Julie Andrews had a plane to catch at 4pm, so we cut the line off when we had to. Apparently when he saw how long the line was, Mr. Entitlement got a bite in our café. Reasonable enough. But when he waited too long and found the line roped off, he got in Carroll’s face about it, yelling obscenities, questioning our booksellers’ parentage, suggesting uncomfortable places Books & Books’ employees could store extra copies of The Very Fairy Princess, and accusing us of engaging in salacious acts with our mothers.
This was the last guy trying to get in line. He didn’t have a ticket. If he chose to say, “Excuse me, Miss, but I seem to have taken over-long with my lunch. Would you mind if I just snuck past this rope?” our Carroll would have let him through with a wink and a smile. But cursing in front of children? Abusing the people from whom you seek a favor? Not the best course of action.
When he didn’t get what he wanted out of Carroll, Mr. Entitlement asked to speak with the person in charge. Event coordinator Cristina had overheard his diatribe (well, the entire west side of the store heard it) and explained that everyone else had waited in line, Mrs. Andrews had a plane to catch, and the event had been sold out for two months. Mr. Entitlement didn’t care. Cristina offered a refund. Mr. Entitlement refused. Cristina offered a signed copy. Mr. Entitlement started swearing again. Then he pushed her.
Well, depending on who tells the story. Some reports have Cristina backed into a wall while spittle flew from Mr. Entitlement’s raving mouth, his face inches from hers. Others maintain the push was an angry finger, poked into her chest. Others say it was a push.
I wish I could tell you definitively what happened, but I stayed home. I know, I missed the Queen Clarisse Renaldi of Genovia and Queen of Far, Far Away in one shot, but I don’t work Sundays.
I wish I could tell you what happened to Mr. Entitlement, but there’s no statute of limitations on. . . what happens when you tangle with booksellers. I don't want to get anyone arrested.
What can I say? We’re close to the edge, man. People have been pronouncing our vocation dead for about a century, but lately these reports of doom have sounded particularly dire. We’re glad to have your business, but for your own sake – tread lightly.
Anyway, we’ve had security at many events. Any time celebrities are involved, it draws a few people who can’t control themselves. But if any household name would seem safe to host without a uniformed presence, it would be Julie Andrews.
Some people just can’t handle their Poppins.