I got a new phone today and it was NOT my idea. Like most booksellers I only replace something – hardware, software, eyeglasses, pencil, when the current item has ceased to function entirely. When something starts ailing we will nurse it along like a lame horse before we ever think about abandoning it to seek out a new one. And a new gadget means we have to stop and learn it before we can return to our regularly scheduled programming. Not that we aren’t capable of learning new things or even enjoy it, but things that interrupt the flow of trade, it can be offputting and we will indeed put it off for as long as we can. Another reason for another pile; items to be returned to the store, books awaiting dust jackets covers, packages that need postage, books that need packaging and so on.
So, now I have a shiny new phone – thanks to T-Frigging-Mobile, that’s their new name, they had it legally changed. I called them because my bill was unusually high, with all the dropped calls I was getting charged for and lo and behold my bill was nothing compared to the NEXT bill, so after a couple of hours listening to them ramble on about this that and the other plan, I talked them down to one that made us both unhappy. Them cause it didn’t have enough add-on services (what the hell am I gonna do with unlimited nights after 9pm? all my friends are dead or old) and me because, well because I had to make a choice of a phone or buying meat again. (guess which one I chose?)
Bookseller phones aren’t as busy in the new world order as they used to be. Granted there was a time when every ringing phone was a potential sale, now every ringing phone is probably debt collector. Offering up your personal phone number to the internet hordes may be scary, but on the whole I have not had a problem with it. As a professional bookseller (Don’t laugh I have sold a book or three recently . . . well, somewhat recently. And I will have you know I even bought a few for resale this week. Ouch) a findable phone number is essential.
Email addresses in the past have proven to be vestigial. If you leave out domains, I have had about 6 main email addresses, and none of the changes were voluntary – tiac.net was eaten by mediaone.net which was consumed by comcast.net etc . . . not to mention that it is frivolously easy to create and discard email identities. Offering up your phone is a sign of sincerity, professionalism and trust. All the customer is doing is trusting that you are gonna exchange their money for an as advertised product. In essence you are the grownup in the relationship – act like it.
Where was I, oh yeah the phone . . . . i hate my new phone . . . it smells funny.