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Being Disgruntled

Nothing like being annoyed by something to rekindle the desire to write and share my experiences!

As much as I try to support local shops (especially, as you may know, local bookshops) it can also be an easy decision sometimes to stop shopping somewhere as well.

Me: reads bookstore’s book review newsletter; sees glowing review of Robert Galbraith book

I e-mail the bookstore:

Ugh very disappointed to see any promotion of any of Rowlings’ work – she is an ardent transphobic voice and needs no further accolades of any sort. If any of your readers happen to be trans, or just like me are supportive of all people regardless of sex, orientation, gender etc, then it’s easy to see that you didn’t consider the effect on them of seeing her lauded, yet again.

I’m not sure what I was expecting to receive as a reply but it definitely wasn’t what I did get!

Hello Lisa,

Thank you for your note.

According to the Canadian Energy Centre, Canada imported over $26 billion worth of oil from Saudi Arabia between 2010 and 2020. So, since you have used some of that oil—in your car or taking public transit or your last winter holiday or maybe to heat your house—shall I reach for the same sweeping conclusion that you care not for journalists nor that they get dismembered and killed?

Keep safe.
[initials removed]

P.S. Perhaps you should unsubscribe from the newsletter and not risk being offended by some author who might offend your sensibilities.  

I included a link to the Wikipedia article on whataboutism in my brief reply:

Thank you for making my decision much much easier.
also you may wish to review:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whataboutism

But maybe it is just me? Am I the only one who thinks that the reply was way out of line? I shared the above on FB – because I really was so taken aback.

I got almost immediate responses back like:

“Which bookstore am I never to step foot in or order from”

“Holy crap!”

“How is that a proper professional response by the shop?”

“That’s quite a shocking and disappointing response”

“What a needlessly offensive retort.”

Two friends made the following points for which I am very grateful:

Promoting Rowling is a choice. Using Saudi oil is not.

So tired of people reducing responses like yours to “being offended” you were clearly trying to voice care and an opinion, not whining about being offended. Advocacy is not being offended.

To be clear – this exchange was not with any of my favourite bookshops: Book City, Queen Books or A Different Booklist (or even the Bookmark in Charlottetown) – all of which I have mentioned at one time or another and definitely do not want them tarnished by this brush.

First – it’s amazing to me that the shop doesn’t see the difference between selling the damn book – fine do that if you must – and promoting it!

Second – really? Saudi oil? I mean maybe they were expecting me to also include my voting record and charitable receipt printout when I write to a bookstore about a book review they wrote and distributed?!?

p.s. A friend is the Exec Director of Journalists for Human Rights and I cannot pass up this prime opportunity to share that work too.

p.p.s. A couple people who matter to me said that I should just name the bookstore – so it’s Sleuth of Baker Street in Toronto.

2 replies on “Being Disgruntled”

Not very professional of them, I suspect you found another transphobe. Glad you named them so others can decide if they want to shop there in the future.

Yah even if they don’t agree with you, that’s the most wildly unprofessional response to a customer. Like they wanted to piss you off. And wanted you to know they don’t care about trans people. Clearly they are Rowling fans as a particular anti trans stance rather than simple enthusiasm.

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