The day following my Keynote address at the conference in Beverly Hills, my wife took the kids to Disneyland while I worked on some writing. I took a long lunch break, however, to walk around Downtown Disney, the shopping and restaurant district which doesn’t require any admission fee, though you do have to clear security. So walking down the street I spied this sign and thought, “Wowhoo! A bookstore built around the Espresso Book Machine!” Which is, of course, what I have been going on about in this blog and elsewhere. And where else would you expect to find such an avant garde concept realized than Disneyland!”
So I go in and look around what appears to be a fairly mundane bookstore, but at the middle back of the store is a sort of closed in alcove/counter deal with a clerk stacking books, presumably hot off the Espresso press. I elbow my way through the crowd
and look around for the machine.
“May I help you,” the woman asks, seeming my obvious lost expression.
“Where’s the machine,” I ask in response, because I’m thinking, half the point of having an Espresso Book Machine is letting people watch their book being printed in front of them. I mean, it is way cool. Hiding the machine in the back is just wrong.
“What machine?” the clerk asks, not unreasonably.
“The Espresso Machine!” I enthuse.
Long stare as the clerk tries to decide if I have perhaps already consumed more caffeine today than is altogether healthy. “Um, its right over there in the coffee bar section.”
“No Espresso Book Machine?” I ask, knowing full well that there is not. “But your sign says, “Espresso Books!”
Another long uncomprehending stare. “Because we sell Espresso, and we sell books.”
“Have you thought of putting a comma in your sign? Between ‘Espresso’ and ‘books’. Because it now looks like you have an Espresso Book Machine. It’s kind of false advertizing and you know, disappointing.”
“I’m sorry, what are you talking about?”
I tried to explain, but elicited only a shrug. Not her problem.
“No one else has ever complained.”
And that was that. So Disney Downtown, not necessarily at the cutting edge.
But for a minute there…had me going. —Robert Runte