Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Interesting times.

Interesting times.

Marvel being bought by Disney is being treated cautiously by most retailers. But, inevitably, it's being hailed by some idiot comic retailers as a great thing. I think they're doofus's, but this time I'm not going to try to dissuade them from their delusions. They are convinced that greater exposure in the mass market will result in higher sales for them. I have never, ever, seen this happen. Not once. It's always the opposite.

Add in earlier shipping (oops) and exclusives (oops) and better pricing (opps) and higher quantities in stock (oops) and return privileges (oops) and the public's overall preference for 'bigger is better' (oops) and cross promotions, toys that go with a comic but only at Mega-mart, (oops) and on and on.

Not good.

But this time, I'm not going to try to argue with them. I'll go about my business planning as I think it's going to play out, and if I'm right, I'll be better prepared. If I'm wrong, I'll still benefit from the increased business.

Not expecting any negative consequences from having a new boss is just plain stupid.


I'm all in on the stock market. (We're talking small amounts of money.) I'm still convinced that because of the oddity of the statistics looking suddenly much better in the fourth quarter that the stock market will respond positively. What I forgot was -- the fourth quarter won't be reported until next year.

But the monthly stats should start coming in mid-October, I suppose.


The English dudes from the BBC were in on Sunday.

"Are you one of the blogger chaps?" the guy asks.

"Why, yes."

"Capital! Which one?"

"Best Minimum Wage Job a Middle Aged Guy Every Had."

"Bloody Good," he says. O.K. O.K. He didn't really say that. I made up all the English cliches, but it's my blog and I'll tell it the way I want to.

Anyway, I started going into my spiel about being a Bend native, and how things had changed, and what downtown was like in the 1960's.

"Blimey! What about unemployment?" he breaks in.


"Our story is focused on unemployment, dear fellow."

"Err..." What the hell can I say about unemployment? There is high unemployment? People aren't building, insuring, furnishing, mowing, etc. etc.? Pretty bloody obvious.

I fumble around, telling him that he could use stuff from my blog, if he wished.

"Jolly good," he says. (Actually he said, "That's good of you." HBM told me later I can't keep them from using my blog if they want...)

I start to tell him that if he looks in the online Urban Dictionary under "Poverty with a View" that Bend is profiled.

"Yes, I've heard that you have a lot of homeless around here. Tent cities...."

"Um.... that isn't what Poverty with a View means," I say, starting to get a bad feeling. "It means that some people chose to live here, even though the living expenses are higher than normal and the wages are lower than normal, so that they can enjoy the lifestyle."

He isn't having it. He starts to talk about all the homeless on street corners and such. I find myself getting defensive about Bend. "I don't believe our poverty and homeless problem is any worse than any other urban area," I say, but I can see they aren't listening. Pretty clearly, they have come into Bend with a viewpoint, and are only looking for people to confirm that viewpoint.

I hope I'm wrong. But by now, I'm definitely starting cooling off, around that point in the conversation. Dangerously off course.

I'd already declined to be interviewed on T.V., so now they asked whether I'd be willing to be on radio instead. I wasn't inclined to do this, either-- I don't want to freeze up and sound like an idiot, and from past experience, that could happen. All my facile ramblings on my blog, go up into thin air, and suddenly I'm tongue-tied.

But now I'm even less inclined. I'm wondering if this guy is the British equivalent of Mike Wallace, and once the camera is turned on, I'll be pinned like bug to a mat.

"The dumbstruck look on this retailer's face is typical of Bend natives...."

Maybe not, but I wasn't willing to take the chance, even to have tea and scones with him.

Anyway, he gave me his card. I think this is the real deal, the big time BBC, not some fringe element. I could've been on the equivalent of NBC or CBS. But I don't need it -- seems vainglorious to me, and it was just too risky.

I asked them how they decided to come to Bend. "We looked at some of the statistics, and it looked like Bend was the one...."



Funny, that defensiveness I felt. I guess I think it's O.K. for ME to criticize Bend, but not some outsiders. And I'm not criticizing just to be negative. I try to keep it real, what I really think, whether that's negative or positive.

Hopefully, I'm wrong about the slant. Hopefully they aren't out to make us look like the Calcutta of America. Hopefully it will be a fair story.


Wes said...


You sell yourself short. You were a good high school and college debater, which means you should at least know how to sound intelligent.

Bend's poverty is only relative to where it was a few years ago. Real poverty looks nothing like what anyone might find in Bend. Besides, any truly poor person in Bend who can hitchhike w(sh)ould be heading for warmer climes about now.



Anonymous said...

Perhaps since we're a former colony of the British, they enjoy taking us down a peg.

Duncan McGeary said...

P.S. The story is supposed to run on Friday.

cassondra said...

Thanks for the post.

Bend remains a great place to live because the majority of people are intentional about their choice to be here. This is reflected in the entrepreneurial spirit that remains strong.

It's unfortunate that our community is being recognized for boom & bust. There are so many better stories to tell.

blackdog said...

"I asked them how they decided to come to Bend. "We looked at some of the statistics, and it looked like Bend was the one...."

They picked up on the NY Times story, according to my sources.

"I guess I think it's O.K. for ME to criticize Bend, but not some outsiders."

Like it or not, believe it or not, but Bend IS part of the world. And the "outsiders" did not turn us into the national poster child for speculative real estate idiocy. We did that to ourselves.

BTW no educated Englishman (which I'm sure the BBC guy is) would use the word "blimey." I know you made up the dialogue, but you should try for greater versimilitude. :^)

"Real poverty looks nothing like what anyone might find in Bend."

I don't know how you define "real poverty," but unless your benchmark is Somalia, we've got real poverty here. People living in cardboard boxes, in makeshift "camps" in the woods, begging on the streets -- that's plenty "real" enough for me.