Sunday, October 16, 2011

The World's Worst Salesperson..........

I don't know how I ended up in my family. No smart comments siblings please! My maternal uncle and my paternal grandfather were salesmen, my mother too - and canny with it. Two of my brothers are in retail- I'm lovin' the consternation of James Adams Auctioneers at the prospect of the brother's EuroGiant moving in beside them in Stephen's Green! One of my sisters makes a large part of her living from selling at outdoor markets, another sister works in a high-end fashion shop and is brilliant at it. Me?I couldn't plamas a donkey into eating hay.

I set out for a walk this morning, I've been a little fraught of late and find physical exercise helps relax tense muscles. I ran into neighbours, the lovely Jack and Teresa and reminded them of my book launch on November 9th. I explained self-publishing to them and they were surprised a the amount of work involved in actually getting a book out there. I told them not to buy the book - I didn't think Jack (or any man) would like it and sure let them wait til the library gets it if they really want to read it. I don't know how I'm going to sell any books if I keep telling people not to buy it!
'Sure, it's probably crap anyway,' sez I 'and I'm supposed to talk it up - it just seems shameful, self praise etcetera'. I mentioned Facebook, Twitter and blogging as ways of publicizing the novel.
'What's blogging?' sez Teresa. I explained.
'I'll be blethering about you two this evening' I said.
 'So you just blether away about anything and everything - it doesn't have to be on a topic to do with writing?' asked Jack (I'm paraphrasing - forgive me Jack!).
'It doesn't - it's just a way of making contact with people. People love chats. Chats are lovely. Like a Christmas Card,' pointing a the two boxes in Teresa's hands. 'Mother of God' sez I, 'you're not at that crack already?'
'Ah they were cheap' sez she, 'and I send a lot of cards. I keep swearing I'll cut back every year. But you know Evelyn - I love getting a card.'

I knew exactly what she meant. a handwritten letter or card is still a joy, somebody thought about you and took the time to write your name, a little good wish and your address. Someone out there in the real world - not this internet world - really cares about you. Well - enough to send you a little hug via the Post Office anyway.

A woman I worked with for many years retired last year. I didn't make it to her 'do' so the following week I sat down and wrote her a three page letter reminiscing about some of the funny moments we had as colleagues and on nights out. I got a phone call from her the following week. Mary had been so touched by the letter that she had rung her sister in England to read it to her. She told me she cried when she read it because in recent years she had felt herself very cut off in work. Years ago if there was a work difficulty you'd drop into another person's office or pick up the phone and query it, while shooting the breeze. E-mail (for Mary's generation anyway) hadn't replaced that human touch properly. I felt sad for her, I hadn't realised how unhappy she had been. And all for the want of a chat.

So this week, make An Post and someone you haven't seen in a while happy. Send them a little 'thinking of you' note. I bet it'll be paid back in waves of thoughtfulness.Oh yeah, and go out and buy that wonderful debut novel of Evelyn Walsh's 'The Heron's Flood.' Buy one for your Aunty for Chrimbo.

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