Yesterday I hung around Betsy The Great’s Studio. She made jewelry and I used her scanner to bring you new Snarky Cards. Afterwards, we stopped by Tender Loving Empire, where they carry Betsy’s Jewelry. I met Brianne, and handed her a pile of Snarky Cards, just as Betsy was saying “Alisa make the Sna-” Brianne exclaimed “Oh! Yeah! I’ve been meaning to contact you. I want to carry these. People have been asking me if I have them.”
So Snarky Cards are now available at Tender Loving Empire, a hip place to shop. Which is good news, because Powells doesn’t want to carry them anymore. Which is actually OK with me. I know that Powells is huge. And when people heard that my cards were for sale there, they were impressed. But, honestly, I only pursued them as a vendor to soothe my hurt pride.
See, I used to work for Powells. And towards the end of our relationship, I didn’t like them, and they didn’t like me. I love books. I love selling. The combination makes me tingle. I worked in bookstores for 8 years. It was the first career that I built that I was proud of. Working at Powells left me feeling disillusioned with bookstores, and Portland.
I hated how inefficient it seemed, and how disinterested the people who worked there were with selling books. The union (Powells employees have their own union) made it hard for the managers to manage and because of the union there was a lot of unsaid bullshit floating around the store. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anything against unions. I think that Powells needs the one it has, and without that union, Powells employees would most likely not receive fair treatment. But it left the store in a stand-off. And it seemed like neither the employees or the management really ever got what they wanted. Almost everyone I met who had worked there for a long time was depressed. In short, it sucked.
But it bothered me that they disliked me as much as I disliked them. I’ve only ever flourished in bookstores. And having them “lay me off” (I didn’t make the Holiday cut) hurt my pride as much as disliking my employment there disillusioned me about Portland.
So, when they agreed to carry Snarky Cards, it seemed like a huge deal to me personally. Some part of me was like “Ha! You still want me!” The prestige of having my cards at Powells (and it was largely just prestige, they never sold very many) was an aside. I mostly just wanted to assuage my wouded ego.
And, I think I did that. Two weeks ago, I was at Powells. And I didn’t feel resentful anymore. I still have the floor plan memorized, left over from the months that I traipsed those rooms for minimum wage. But I didn’t recognize most of the people I saw working there. It’s been 3 years. And I guess that Snarky Cards and the new life that it’s led to -of Art and Fame and being appreciated for my brutal witt- have overshadowed the pain that my Powells experience brought. When I bought my Sue Grafton novel, the cashier who rang me up pointed at Sue’s picture. “I met her last week, when she did a reading here.” She said. “She was very personable.” I smiled. “Oh. I didn’t realize Sue did readings here. I guess I’m not very clued in to who guests here.” She smiled and handed me the Powells newsletter. “Well, take one of these, it’ll tell you what’s going on.” I nodded, surprised. I didn’t feel like telling her I used to hand those newsletters out myself, to customers like me. Suddenly, it didn’t seem relevant.
I guess what I’m saying is, I’m Ok with ending my professional relationship with Powells. And I’m delighted to be a part of Tender Loving Empire’s Artist Army. The shop is clean and bright, and Brianne and her husband have amazing taste. I wanted to buy a lot of the shit I saw there. It seemed like if I had that stuff, I’d be cooler. And it’s always nice to be wanted.
It seems like I’m moving from a place professionally where I only deal with people who really like me. Who knows? Maybe this newfound Work Self Esteem will translate into Sex Self Esteem, and I’ll stop making Such Bad Sexual Decisions.
In the meantime, I’ve made this new Happy Anniversary! card for everyone who’s happy with the person that they’re fucking. See? My optimisim is overflowing! Thanks Betsy! And thanks Tender Loving Empire!