Help Me Help You

April 21, 2018

Over the past few days, I’ve noticed a sheer lack of respect, or even consideration, for other people. I know that can be a pretty broad statement, but several things have really stuck with me and it’s bugging me beyond belief.

At work (yes, I still have a day job unfortunately…) on Wednesday, we had a customer appreciation day. It was busy, and a lot of our regular customers were there. While they were slappin’ high fives and hugging the other employees, they barely brushed my hand instead of shaking it, didn’t look me in the eye, and walked on by. These are the people that ask for specific employees on the phone just to ask if something is in stock, as if I’m so stupid I can’t do it myself.

Did I do something to piss them off? Do they just not adapt to change? I mean, I’ve been there for two years!

So yesterday I took one of these guys’ order. He was patient while I was checking the computer for a specific item that we never sell. I found it, printed out his claim slip, and he made some comment about how I don’t cut him a deal like everyone else. Look, prices are prices, so sorry I don’t break the rules and take money off for a customer we only see once a week, if that.

What do these people expect? I know it’s a competitive market out there, but seriously…I didn’t personally decide to screw you over.

Last night, I’m at a fast food place. The employees clearly don’t want to be there doing their jobs. So a lot of customers were receiving food made incorrectly, waiting way too long, and not even getting the right things they ordered. When someone finally asked to talk to the manager, they had to wait for the lady to come out of her office, grumbling about it, and deal with the problem that never should have happened.

7 PM on a Friday is a busy time at any restaurant. They signed up for this job, and sure, people are allowed to have a bad day. But how hard is it, really? Just to listen, take an order, read it back, and give someone their receipt—none of these things happened!

This week, I won a few ebay auctions. All from the same seller, so I paid right away and eagerly awaited my shipment. It arrived today! I still don’t have positive feedback—why? Oh, that’s right, they’re waiting for my feedback to determine what they say about me. Not how it works, folks, but what do you care? Well guess what else—one of the items is wrong!

I am totally forgiving on this. Of all the auctions that person was running, every item was in the same packaging, and from the same product line (miniatures, of course). But still, were they in that much of a hurry that they couldn’t read a few simple words on the package?

I emailed, and hopefully will get a response today. Not to be cynical, but I highly doubt it. (I also requested positive feedback, so we’ll see how that goes.)

Why do I make mention of this? Well, I’m just sick of people not fulfilling their end of the bargain. I’m sick of people acting like no one else matters but them. What ever happened to working together? What about banding together in face of all the horrible things going on in the world today?

Yep, I’m going to relate this to the struggle of a writer. Behold.

Back in November, I submitted a story to a fairly large publication. They pay well, and have a large readership. More than that, their website is phenomenal. I mean really, how many online magazines have shitty websites? It really detracts from the experience.

But I digress. On January 28th, I received an email from them. My story is being held for the next round of scrutinizing! That’s awesome—it might get published in that magazine! Happy me.

The big thing to remember with this was that it might take up to three months to hear back. 90 days. That would be on or around April 28th, would it not? Sorry, I suck at math, but let’s go with that. And isn’t April 28th a week from today?

I still haven’t heard from them. I honestly don’t think I will.

Their submission guidelines basically say not to contact them unless they have said to do so. If they’re not interested, and they don’t say this directly, but pretty much, they won’t get back to you.

There are a metric ton of publications like this. I’m not kidding—ask any writer.

Rude. Irritating. And a definitely lack of respect for their writers. Look, you made us wait all this time, and you’re not going to give us the common decency to let us know you don’t want our stories? Fine, we’ll just let other people know how you treat hard working writers, and that it might not be worth their time an effort to submit to you.

Petty? Sure. Immature? Of course. But at least I’m helping others. And it’s more than I can say for a lot of these publications. Because I care about more than just myself—I care about helping others, and making sure they know what they’re getting into.

Because if not for others to help, how would we get along in this world? Not very well, and that’s what frightens me the most.

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Accepted!/Unacceptable

December 13, 2015

First, the good news.

I’m getting a story published! Yay!

This is good, because things were not looking up for me. A story I’d been sending out for quite some time is finally getting published next July. Bards & Sages Quarterly will be doing the honors, so send your accolades/undying love to them. They are smart enough to see the light of day!

There are a lot of other publications I haven’t heard back from, though. The silence has a habit of killing me from time to time. I can’t expect to hear back right away, but obviously, you ask a question, you want an answer, right?

Sometimes, I’m grateful for the silence. On the one hand, not hearing from a publication/editor means that they might very well be giving my story some serious deliberations. On the other hand, it might mean they are way too busy/overloaded/disinterested to get back with me. When the estimated time for them to get back with me comes up, I have to wonder what’s up.

So last week, I had this new blog all ready to go. It was a very angry, namedropping rant that called out one publication in particular. I won’t say the name, but it’s uncanny how irritating this situation was.

I waited forever, gave them an extra week, and still hadn’t heard back. I wrote an email, very polite, and questioned them. The next day, I received this response:

Dear Michael,

Thank you for submitting “Valley of Iricia” to [Title redacted]: A Magazine of Science Fiction and Fantasy for consideration. Unfortunately, it does not meet our needs at this time.

Sincerely,
[Name redacted]
Submissions Editor, [Title redacted]: A Magazine of Science Fiction and Fantasy

So…you made me wait all that time for this? No apology? No, please pardon our long wait, we appreciate your understanding in this matter?

Sheesh.

Still, they win. They’re the ones giving out the money, and one voice (mine, unheeded apparently) isn’t going to do anything. I mean, there’s the slim glimmer of hope that somehow this gets back to them (and many, many other publications), which will in turn let them realize that maybe they need to be a little more compassionate. After all, us writers jump through so many hoops, make sure that not only is our story perfectly presented, but our cover email, the subject line, our name address and phone number and astrological sign are included, all that good stuff.

And then they send a “fuck you, jokes on you for wasting your time” email.

Hrmmmm…

I know I’m overreacting to this. It’s just irritating, and I shouldn’t ever expect anything. There’s that small part of you that just thinks it would be nice.

Hopefully, the future holds some better outcomes. Stay positive, and be happy for what there is.