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12:05 am - Thursday, May. 29, 2003
We have met the enemy and he is us

"We have met the enemy and he is us."--Walt Kelly

Tue 5/27/03 1:05 pm

On my way out to move my car, it occurred to me that I forgot a couple things in my last entry, two things about the bookstore, one "pro" and one "con" that I think bear including in here.

The "con": I've come to really hate returns. Sure, some are legitimate–the customer accidently bought the wrong book, the book is defective, etc–but it feels like the majority are either out-and-out scammers–They stole the book from another store and want to return it for cash at our store (Or they pulled it off the shelf at our store, and are now trying to "return" it), or else they're "abusing the system" by returning books over and over, turning the bookstore into something more akin to a lending library than an actual business (There are many more permutations of illegal/unethical behavior regarding returns, but you get the basic idea–There's a lot of dishonest people out there, and it gets pretty depressing).

(An example of what I'm talking about; Yesterday I had a guy return a computer book. He had a receipt for it that indicated he had gotten that book by returning a previous book. Then he had the balls to ask me if the slight imperfection on the back cover of the book he was "buying" right then would be a problem "if" he should need to return it. And this happens a lot, folks. A LOT.)

I've gotta say it in here, since I can't say it while I'm at the bookstore: If you buy a book at a bookstore, read it, then return it when you're done, because you don't need it anymore, you are a thief, plain and simple.

If you use the fact that you bought a book a back in 1997 to establish a revolving line of credit at your neighborhood bookstore, you are also a thief, plain and simple.

And of course, if you out and out steal books from a bookstore to return them for money or credit...well, I hope by now you're following my train-of-thought here–You Suck.

The "pro"–Even though there are a higher percentage of thieves, pigs, and generally unpleasant, ungrateful customers than I would ever have imagined while working at Schuler Books, there are still interactions with customers that are actually pleasant, even enjoyable.

Sometimes people are actually happy when you find their book, when you "go the extra mile", when you make them aware of a discount or what-have-you that they weren't aware of. Sometimes it's fun when a customer comes in with a list of books, and you just happen to know where all of them are without checking the computer, and it's gratifying when they're impressed by that.

And sometimes I just like customers who will "play" with you, that you can joke with, who at the very least treat you as if they recognize you're a person.

But I've gotta hit the sack. My "pre-work nap" beckons...

_________________________

Well, I got paged by JS late Tuesday afternoon...

The PSA people had called, and they wanted me in the spot.

As an extra.

No money. No lines. Just a warm body in the background.

The only inducement they were offering was a SAG voucher, which isn't quite the carrot-on-a-stick it used to be; If I want to, I can be SAG the moment I book my first union commercial, so who really cares about "vouchers" anymore?

(And with the approaching merger of SAG and AFRTA, there's some question about what will happen to the voucher system anyway--In short, the current system allows you to get three SAG vouchers as an extra, then you're eligible to join the union--so I could end up with nothing to show for my effort but a worthless piece of paper.)

JS said he'd almost turned it down on my behalf, but thought I should have the option to accept or decline the offer myself.

I declined.

I know some of you reading this probably think that was a mistake. But what can I say? If it's a mistake, it's my mistake to make, I guess. But if I'm not "feeling it", and JS was ready to turn it down for me--Indicating he wasn't "feeling it" either--I'm not real worried about it.

I was somewhat disappointed, but not exactly broken-up about it. There have certainly been other spots I was more upset about missing out on.

At the Agency meeting a couple weeks ago, one thing JS talked about was how he knew we didn't come out to LA to do commercials--we came out to do movies and television, and for a lot of us, this is just a way to try and earn some extra money--but this is his job, the only way he makes his living, so he needed to have us take it seriously.

It reminded me of when I first came out here, and was anxious about pissing off the people at Borders with possible acting conflicts.

A couple of people made a point of saying "You didn't go out to LA to work at Borders", which is about as true as true gets, and something I've tried to keep in mind ever since.

I also didn't come out here to do commercials, but that said, I've been happily surprised to discover that I might be more "viable" in commercials than I would have imagined (Of course, exactly how "viable" remains to be seen).

And while it's true that "I didn't come out here to do commercials", I don't necessarily have anything against them either, if they're smart and/or funny.

I think I'd be about a bazillion times happier making a living doing commercials than doing what I'm doing now.

But I'd better get off this subject, cause I'm starting to get a little depressed (The "I haven't done anything worth doing since coming out here, and have made all of $250 as an actor" Blues).

I was all set to go to a Scientology-sponsored seminar on "Making It In The Business" today, but I called earlier this evening to cancel.

I wasn't comfortable with the idea initially (Scientology being, in my mind, a pretty dumb cult and one of the more obvious big money grabs that have ever been invented), then I tried to make myself comfortable with the idea--by telling myself I could resist their sales pitch, and maybe there'd be some good info to be had--but John O., of all people, was the one who put the final "nail in the coffin"; He told me his friend Rick had gone to one, and they basically just tried to sell him Scientology-run acting classes.

For whatever reason, since coming out here, I've become very sensitive to being hit on for money--be it phone sales, junk mail, homeless people, what have you--so the idea of putting myself in a situation that was basically going to consist of someone trying to brainwash me into giving them money didn't sound very appealing.

And when I called to reserve a spot for the "seminar", they asked for my address and phone number.

I was immediately "on guard". "Why do you need to know my address and phone number?", I asked. And I didn't see any reason they needed to know that stuff--Just put my damn name down on your list, and let's get this over with.

And then it occurred to me that I was just not in a mindset where I was going to enjoy this experience. Whether it was going to be a hard sell or a soft sell, I was pretty sure there was going to be a "sell" involved, and let's not go down that road, cause I ain't buying.

Next month, there's going to be an issue of Backstage devoted exclusively to voice stuff, so I'm hoping that I'll see something in that that'll give me a sense of direction in terms of how to spend Mark and Jane's "scholarship money".

_________________________

Just finished chatting with someone, and it left me more depressed than I was to start with...

I find her so boring that it's draining trying to talk to her. She never seems to have much going on, and believe it or not, I actually end up getting tired of talking about myself (Especially since, when you get me beyond this or that commercial audition, I don't have much going on!).

Not really feeling good right now...

I didn't get out at all today. I just dozed the day away. Didn't do shit.

Man, I seem to be just dying to "spiral" here. I'd better just go to bed...

 

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