Adventures in Marketing — Week 417

Sold one book.
The buyer was Steven, the lawyer-turned-glass-artist who had bought a “Cheesesteak” some weeks ago. This time he wanted an “Outlaws, Rebels…” for his son, a film maker turned psychologist.
This alone would not have been enough for an “Adventure.” But then came Duffy.

He was sitting alone, dressed in shabby clothes, a stocking cap, sneakers but no socks. He had grey stubble and lacked a few teeth. He had a duffle bag, bed roll and blanket. A variety of belongings spread across his table, including William Barclay’s “The Letter to the Romans,” with which he seemed to be conversing in raspy tones about scripture. Normally I would have steered clear, but when I passed by for a glass of water, he greeted me cheerfully.
I had settled into my normal routine when Ken arrived. We’d met in the ‘70s, and he lived nearby in Section 8 housing, but I had not seen him in years. Ken has given tennis lessons and done telephone sales – and has never bought one of my books. (Sorry, but I think like that. It’s a mental tic.) He was at the café to brain storm with a city council candidate, an earnest, curly haired, pro tenants’ rights, pro-open spaces young woman, who occupies a table once-a-week to court constituents. (She has not bought any of my books either, but then I do not live in her district.) Ken said he’d join me until she arrived.
Before he could, Duffy was beside me. “I’ll pay you $5 to send an e-mail.”
“You don’t have to pay me,” I said.
The transmittal proved complicated. He had to send a photo of both sides of his drivers license to a bank to verify his identity. There was other information to provide and detailed instructions to follow. The only way I knew to do this was to take two separate photos (front and back) and send two separate e-mails, so I had to provide the information and follow the instructions twice. It seemed to have worked, but Duffy said I’d receive confirmation, and I didn’t.
“It’s Sunday. Maybe they’re closed.”
“They’re open 24, 7,” he said. But he seemed satisfied.
“If you’ve got $5 to throw away,” I said, thinking I had an “Adventure” here, “why don’t you buy a book?”
“You write these?” he said.
I described them.
“I’ll buy you a couple beers.”
“It’s 10:00 in the morning.”
“A bottle of wine then. The Apostle Paul wrote Peter wine is good for the stomach.”
We agreed to meet in a week. If his transaction had worked out, he would buy a “Bob on Bob.” Which led to a story about him wandering around Buffalo wearing a robe in 1987 and being invited into a convent and fed by nuns who had apparently taken him for a wandering priest. The convent adjoined a field and when he left, he heard music from it that led him to a concert of Dylan and the Dead.
The Lord works in mysterious ways.