Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Just don't call me "Bessie"

I've been branded. Like cattle. The new job requires me to wear the clothing--designer/name-brand denim and tees--we sell. For someone who tries to limit strictly that kind of unnecessary frivolity that is, well, weird to say the least. I feel like I've betrayed someone. Myself and my ideals, a bit. All the workers toiling under sub-par working conditions to make this clothing, most definitely.

What's worse, though, is that I don't dislike the clothing I had to buy. In fact, I really like my new pair of jeans. And I feel guilty for doing so.

At least I can take some comfort in the fact that I didn't actively seek out these clothes. Right? Cold comfort indeed.

And while we're on consumerism, I'm conducting a little experiment. I've special ordered two books: Keynotes and Discords by George Egerton, edited by Sally Ledger; and At the Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald. The former--a collection of short stories--I've ordered from my favourite, independent bookseller here in town; the latter, from Coles, part of that fascistic empire that is Indigo/Chapters.

(I try not to buy from Chapters/Indigo/Coles because of CEO Heather Reisman's demonstrated bookbanning. No reasonable person thinks this book is a good book! However, by banning it, she not only inadvertantly promoted the text, but she resorted to the same tactics its author used when faced with literature, music, et cetera that he and his party found objectionable!!! Really, didn't Voltaire say it best? "I may disagree with what you have to say, but I shall defend, to
the death, your right to say it.")

Anyway, my experiment...

I wanted to compare how much I was to be overcharged for my special orders. The results? Coles: nothing. Because of a special promotion right now, I don't even have to pay for the cost of shipping. Favourite Bookseller: well, take a look at the list price as noted by Amazon.ca--$24.00 Canadian. The price I was quoted upon placing my order was $41.95.

Now, I understand that by the very nature of its conglomerate status, Coles can afford to waive extra charges for special orders. However, what I do not understand is why my supposed Favourite Bookseller--the one I've been frequenting since childhood--is charging me almost double!!!

I love supporting independent enterprise, but why do some establishments make it so damn hard for those of us with shoestring budgets to afford bringing our business to them?

Don't get me wrong: I still plan to bring my business to My Favourite Bookseller. I just won't be able to do my (frequent enough) special orders through them. I can't afford to.

As far as my opinions regarding Ms. Reisman's actions towards that book (which I shall continue to call it, lest my blog EVER be linked via a search engine to that text), I am well aware of the contradictions between them and my support for Canada's hate speech section of the Criminal Code. I am also well aware of the elitism said opinions belie (after all, why should the written word be more valuable than the spoken word?) However, I am far too tired to discuss at due length my thoughts on this dichotomy. Look for a post to this end in the near future.

Have I told you how great Kate Bush's Hounds of Love is? No?! Well, consider yourself told! More on that later, too.

I'm going to see that potentially abombinable affront to Arthurian legend (sorry, Jerry Bruckheimer, but most Medieval scholars agree that King Arthur did not exist. And last time I checked--though you may have a degree in psychology--neither you nor Antoine Fuqua were Medievalists.) I'm sure I'll have lots of thoughts on that, too. (As I did with that generally vile Troy [with the exception of Sean Bean and, usually, of Peter O'Toole and Eric Bana, not to mention the exceptional hand-to-hand combat sequences]. No promises to bite my cyber-tongue as I did with that one, though...)

So much to say.

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