Mark Levin Fans: Act Classy – UPDATED

I am looking forward to reading Mark Levin’s Liberty & Tyranny, but I am a little embarrassed to hear how some Levin fans are treating my Elder Son’s Sweet Girlfriend, and her co-workers, when they cannot find the book.

Sweet Girlfriend works in a franchise bookstore, and she works very hard. She is a very fine and fair-minded person who makes a point of treating people with civility, particularly at work. When Levin’s book came out, her store received 20 copies. That’s all. They were sold very quickly, and word came that the store would have to wait a few days to receive another 7 copies. Just 7.

From the time of the first sell-out (the book has sold out each time they’ve received additional copies) SG and her co-workers have been accused of “hiding” the book, of deliberately not selling it. “It’s the number one book in America,” someone complained to her, “what do you mean you are sold out?”

Ummm…we laugh at the NY Times when it runs headlines announcing that jails are overcrowded and crime is inexplicably down. Cause and effect.

SG has heard of customers telling book store employees, “I want to read this thing before the revolution!” Others have accused her store of deliberately setting up “giant displays for Obama,” while hiding the Levin book.

“We don’t decide on the displays, corporate does,” she tells me. “We just put the books where they tell us to. And a lot of Obama books are in the discount bin, now. And believe it or not other customers will move books they don’t like and hide them.”

Apparently we would be amazed to know how many people on both the left and the right will passive-aggressively turn books face down, or hide political polemics in the Mexican cooking section. And someone has anger about vegetarian recipes and keeps putting the vegan books where vegans would never want to go. These kids have to go through the store each night, find the misplaced books and put them where they belong. So…satisfying as it might be to put a Saul Alinsky book in the Bible section (you people on the left) or put a Bible in the Saul Alinsky section (you people on the right) you’re just making more work for people who are tired at the end of a long day, capiche? So, don’t do that.

I know it is tempting to believe that bookstore people
– who are probably majority-liberal – are hiding your copy of Liberty and Tyranny, but as you can see, even Amazon is saying it will take 1 to 3 weeks to get the book. It is selling like hotcakes, “United Hotcakes Preferred,” as Kurt Vonnegut would say.

As conservatives, it behooves us to remember that the people working in bookstores for $7.25 an hour do not get paid enough to take abuse from anyone, and moreover – why would we treat people differently than we ourselves would wish to be treated. The book is a runaway best seller, and not every store gets the 50-100 copies you might imagine. But believe me, it’s not the prospective grad-student-who is -working-all the -hours she -can for – low-wages’ fault.

Come on, now. We’re respectable people conducting respectable business. Act classy.

And excuse me if this makes no sense. I had to take a muscle relaxant and I’m a little doped up just now. Do you know what’s weird? If you mistype into a header, logic seems to dictate that the internet should know what you mean, anyway because after all Amazon is the biggest thing in the world. But it doesn’t work that way. The computer still does not think. Silly. Silly computer; Trix are for kids.

And I am sure Mr. Levin, who is very smart, would not like to know that his readers are abusing nice kids who work in bookstores.

UPDATE: Orson Bean reviews the book here. Widgets

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • cottus

    A paperless world is just around the corner. Hallelujah….
    Not to put a damper on the joy but one must wonder how often those chilling initials ‘EMP’ comes across the internet in Arabic or Korean. You won’t even be able to use those Kindles to kindle a fire.

  • driver

    “Come on, now. We’re respectable people conducting respectable business. Act classy.”

    Excellent advice. If you think you sense a left-wing conspiracy in a book store (or elsewhere), at least ask speak with the manager, not the folks working the aisles. Ya never know…

    I was in the windy mountains of a college town for a wedding this weekend when I suddenly realized I had a serious hair emergency (on the order of Nick Nolte’s DUI mug shot). The girl who cut my hair looked like Cindi Lauper, and I was surprised as hell when she wanted to talk about how scary Obama has turned out to be.

  • tim maguire

    It takes all kinds, but it seems like most people would realize, at least once it’s been pointed out, that yes, in fact it IS the best selling book in the country right now, which is precisely why it’s out of stock. Especially since it is probably a surprise best seller and the publisher is running like mad trying to get more copies printed up.

    As you say, crime is down even though the jails are full.

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  • margareth

    Also, the hard-working folks who stock those bookstores are, I would wager, not about to risk losing their jobs by “hiding” any sort of book, left or right.
    I ordered the book – unfortunately, I don’t live close enough to a decent bookstore to purchase it in person – and when I ordered it, I knew that it would take a week or two to receive it.
    Some people just shouldn’t be allowed out in public. ***sigh***

  • Bender B. Rodriguez

    This is not new.

    As someone who has been in several Borders and several Barnes and Nobles, and observed the VAST difference in promotion and availability of books depending upon content — liberal vs. conservative, progressive vs. traditional, secular vs. religious — the complaints are not unwarranted. Indeed, this is a major reason why Borders is on the verge of bankruptcy.

    The complaints should, of course, be directed toward the management of the bookstore company, but if one is going to work in such a store, one really has to expect to get caught in the middle. Rather than getting defensive in response to customer complaints, perhaps it would be more helpful to not take it personally and, instead, sympathize with customers who, after all, only want to give the money to buy the books that is going toward paying her wages.

    [I'm sure you meant, Bender, to also suggest that those meaning to buy a book should put on their best manners. I never suggested that SG became defensive in response to the rudeness she is encountering - in fact she does sympathize with what a bother it is to look for something and not be able to get it. She is a perfectly professional young lady who has been dealt some incredibly rude remarks by people simply because the book sells out faster than they can keep it. - admin]

  • tracym

    Cottus mentioned Kindle above, so….I know not everyone has an iPhone or iPod touch, but for those who do, there’s a free Kindle app you can download from Amazon which would let you read Levin’s book instantly (the book isn’t free, but the application which would allow you to read it is). I’m not shilling for Amazon–I’m just sayin’.

    And I second A’s plea re: SG–having had innumerable dealing-with-the-public kinds of jobs over the years, I know how it goes. While I have my own doubts about “product placement” in bookstores, kindness and patience towards others are virtues.

  • Gayle Miller

    I learned in my mother’s beauty salon that women display their absolute worst behavior when their hair doesn’t look good. If you cannot get the book you seek easily, go get your hair done at a Hair Cuttery where you can almost always rely on the friendly, unreassuringly young people working to do a decent job. Incidentally, the Borders in Central Park Mall in Fredericksburg, Virginia had several copies of the book and it was on a big old display with Ann Coulter’s latest. I don’t know if they were trying to keep genres together or were trying to tar Levin with Coulter’s bad rep amongst liberals. I personally think she goes too far sometimes, but I do enjoy her over-the-top characterizations of the loony liberal left and I can read her without falling asleep over my lunchtime soup!

  • margareth

    tracym – thanks! Actually, I DO have an iPod touch, I got it for Christmas for exactly this purpose, although I didn’t know about the Kindle app. Not much music on it, but TONS of audiobooks on American history. I might have to check the Kindle thing out.

  • kerry

    I live in Alabama, and I was just able to find a copy this past Friday. I visited and called several stores and only had one person NOT offer to order the book for me. Trust me, if you can’t find it in Alabama, there’s a supply problem, not a people-refusing-to-sell-you-the-book problem.

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  • Bender B. Rodriguez

    Like I said, this is not something new. It has long been clear that Borders cares more about promoting certain viewpoints than it cares about selling books and making money — either on a corporate level or individual stores. Just like MSM companies like the New York Times and Washington Post have proven that they care more about promoting certain viewpoints and suppressing other viewpoints than they care about making money, which they would make more of if they returned to plain and simple balanced reporting.

    What with the promotion of some viewpoints over others, combined with the suppression of counter-viewpoints, customers seeking books with a conservative/traditional/religious view have long passed the point of frustration. They have long passed the point of annoyance. At this point, it matters little if limited availability is due to a printing shortage, or merely the practice of the company or store not ordering enough to meet what should be expected demand, or the result of store employees taking it upon themselves to act as gatekeeper and deciding what is acceptable reading material and what is not. (Funny how some other books never have availability problems.)

    Yes, customers should be on their best manners, but at this point, it is to be expected that they might get angry. It is to be expected that they have had enough. It is to be expected that people will be rude.

    Offer it up.

  • amcalabrese

    After receiving a message from Amazon that I may not receive my copy until late April, I decided to check out a local bookstore. By background, I live in a very liberal yuppie neighborhood (if a car does not have an “Obama-Biden” sticker on it it has a sticker calling for President Bush’s impeachment). I am probably the only person on my block not to have voted for President Obama (though there are a few of the older, pre-gentrification Italian/Irish Catholics on my block, I have a feeling they did not vote for Obama either).

    So I went into a community bookstore that reflects the community (they had flyers advertising the ANSWER sponsored “March on Wall Street”). I figured that if they received copies, no one would have bought them.

    I was wrong. When I asked at the counter, the clerk said that they quickly sold out and it is in back order. When she checked her ordering computer (which I assume is hooked into a larger network of stores), she said there is a back order for 10,000 copies at their supplier’s warehouse. When they get them they did not know — the first printing has pretty much sold out.

    All I can say is that this book better be up to the hype. I really want to read an intellectual conservative book, not simply a series of polemics and one line insults. But something seems to have awakened.

  • philwynk

    My second most frustrating “biased book store” experience was a mall chain book store (chain shall remain unnamed) that placed its religious books on the far side of the rear entrance, all by itself, so no browsers would ever go there. Who knows, maybe that part of the country had no religious folks…

    The most frustrating was when I was looking for CS Lewis’ “Till We Have Faces,” and when I could not find it in either Fiction or Mythology, hunted down an employee and asked them to look it up. They informed me it was in the Religion section. I informed the poor, innocent bookseller icily that the book was a fictional retelling of the myth of Psyche, and belonged at the very least in Fiction. She actually agreed with me, but was probably thinking that was the best way to get rid of this priggish afshole that was making her day difficult.

    Anybody who deals with the public in a retail setting ought to be used this sort of nonsense, since an alarming percentage of human beings manage to dish it out at least part of the time. A retail store is no place for anybody who is prone to lose faith in humanity.

    [For crying out loud, I NEVER SAID SG was "losing her faith in humanity," - I don't think I even implied that she was defensive or thin-skinned about people being rude, and yes, she is quite "used to" rudeness...I simply reported that she has been noting a lot of rudeness from people buying Levin's book. And Phil, with all due respect, I wonder - was it necessary to inform the bookseller "icily" where Lewis' book belonged? She agreed with you and probably had little to do with how the thing was categorized. Sometimes I think the whole world needs to lighten up! Thank God for Easter. admin]

  • Barbara

    The same thing happened to me when I tried to purchase a book at Borders by another conservative talk show host.

    ditto Bender

  • Misogynist

    I really wish something calling itself a “conservative manifesto” would come out that didn’t try to define itself in terms of liberalism.

    [You ask for a society that was not so dependent on labels. We'd all love that. -admin]

  • amcalabrese

    There is no left wing conspiracy here. Rather, it is simply a case that the book sold far better than anyone believed. As I noted yesterday, the book pretty much sold out and they are printing more.

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