In the “old days” people would stick with a good vendor, often forever. For example, if you had a certain car dealership you liked, it was likely you would stick with them for a very long time. Same with a garage mechanic. You didn’t “bail” at the first sign of a mistake or miscue or a problem that was someone else’s fault.
But then eventually a new trend started. The Money Squeeze, as more and more people wanted more and more they had to pay less and less for what they were getting to make room for the new thing.
So who stepped in to fill the void? Often it was the charlatans, fraudsters, liars, con men, and this really worrisome vendor, the total incompetent. Sometime my fear was that there are more of those incompetents than the others.
It didn’t matter if by cutting further and further the price of airline tickets the airline went out of business. “Someone would take up the slack,” they thought.
Resumes in person became a lost art of obfuscation and pure B.S. but at least it was a start. Then came the “computer accepted” resume. You could “lie” on these and if you were later outed for malfeasance THEN you could be publicly canned! A bigger torture?
When It Came to Chess
It was just as weird. When I bid on selling at certain USCF events my bids weren’t kept secret. There were insiders who would tell a “friend” and it was impossible to “win.” Maybe God was doing me a major favor, I can look at it that way. Many of those who became the USCF vendor of record went on to all kinds of problems. That old expression of “What goes around comes around” seems so true. The USCF has had some of the most incompetent vendors and Executive Directors. If it weren’t true as a fact it would seem to be impossible. It really was “Who you know.” When I was younger I was an idealist and I thought “fairness” would win out but that’s not always true. Just when one feels things may finally straighten themselves out another corrupt individual would present themselves and getting on the Merry-Go-Round must be delayed a while longer.
At that point we are much older and we wonder if we will ever get our turn. Or if we do manage squeak in we discover there is new technology, hiring, vendors going out of business, and so on so that the strait-jacket remains in place. Chess was just another niche of bit-playing corrupt bastards who were in it more for the “glory” than, per se, the money (it’s hard to become well off from chess!) Yet the “glory hounds” seldom realized that no one really cared about their fat ass, drinking ways, and their buddy-buddy relationships with other losers. (NO, I am making NONE of this up.)
This is where “death” can be the great equalizer but holy cow some of these grizzled bastards lived forever just like some university professors who NEVER retire and instead become a professor emeritus (like at the Fermi Lab near Chicago). They prevent your PhD post docs, younger and probably more in tune with the NEW things, from getting their foot in the door. They have that new young wife, the newer house, the expensive car to still pay for.
When I was at the St. Louis Sinquefield event someone referred to Topalov as “old.” He retorted, “I am 39!” And he finished in second place. Roy Orbison died at age 52 and yet some nutcase on YouTube referred to him as an “old man” who surprisingly, still had a powerful voice! I’ve heard some of these “tribute” bands and most are terrible. Even Ben E. King, formerly of the Drifters, couldn’t sing the way he did when he was younger, but Orbison probably sang better. Pitney lost a step but worked hard and so everyone found that fine. Jay Black couldn’t hold the high notes any longer. The guys from the 90s and millenials, what are they doing these days. Nothing.
What’s this to do with loyalty? Or, lack of loyalty? It’s this, I appreciate my LOYAL following. Since 2008 when I came back from Savannah, GA I’ve worked very hard at bringing my game back. In the meantime, some of my customers disappeared for various reasons. One of the big ones was “cheaper prices.” When I asked one guy in particular, from Tennessee, “Show me what you mean.” He couldn’t, mine were better over all–which bypassed his brain.
Sometimes I thought it was because I’ve always been pretty strong about giving up on “wienies.” Men who had no guts, no glory, and no good reasons for what they did except to let others push them around. There’s been some changes (ha). Wives or friends have died and they are back! Welcome.
I protect my customers and work hard for the loyal ones; responding to their emails or phone calls. Answer questions. The other day I got an email for 3 books and he wanted to know how to pay. He was a customer ten years ago so being a “regular” was not the case. I wrote to him to tell him the cost and how to pay. Have I heard back from him? Nope. His books are set aside waiting for him to get off his butt. In the meantime, if someone else orders these books (it happens) I won’t worry about giving him another thought.
When someone tells me that a new book is out and the authors have no credentials on chess.com I reply, “So what? Does that mean that’s all there is…ratings or credentials.” A lot of players acknowledged Carlsen because he was so young but they couldn’t explain his winning methods.
Today it was reported that Samsung is telling their investors that they expect a profit fall of 60%. That’s huge! How was it possible? In their advice sheet they listed a veritable laundry list of reasons. Competitors from the top to bottom (in China) created a SQUEEZE. Yet none of the things they listed were in Apple’s bailiwick!! Apple just kept making money. The bad boys tried BENDGATE and no one paid attention. Amazing. The only vendor claiming Apple wasn’t playing fair was: SAMSUNG! Samsung was found guilty in court of all kinds of malpractices, lying, stealing, terrible marketing and most of the public saw right through it. Morons though they were they kept touting that they had big screen phones and Apple didn’t. Do you think that was smart? Of course not. They can’t keep their mouths shut. In the last big trial they admitted IN COURT their main objective from the beginning was to copy Apple so they wouldn’t fall behind. Apple refused to play into their hands and just didn’t respond to the catcalls, the lies in ads, etc. They let their products do the selling. From near death in the late 90s they now have the biggest market cap in the world! How does one do that? Not by insulting the opposition.
World Class Products, Real Innovation, Trust, and Reliability
Similarly, Thinkers’ Press has had to go that route. Making our own stuff. Of course this takes a while to “connect.” The USCF buys nothing from me and I hope you won’t buy from them either. When I was married to Sarah she saw the behind-the-scenes shenanigans that were going on and she was insistent as a heart attack that I create a competing Chess Federation. Well that’s a lot of heartache, lawyers, and finding the right kind of people and boy are there lots of “wrong” kinds of people out there. The kind that can smell “self-importance.” I’ve known some of them and had to tell them, some to their face, “You stink.” Why would I want a job like that where people I do not know with an IQ of 2 tell me I am doing a lousy job? Since the 90s I’ve had to do the marketing, accounting, writing, photography, publishing, contracting, distribution, and Organizing. Even trips to US Opens to sell my own merchandise because the powers-that-be would keep me out of the market. Were they afraid I was after their job? I don’t think so because “No one was smarter than they were.” Maybe a palace coup? Not interested. I was asked to run for USCF offices too. Why would I want to be with that group.
More and more people from my past are returning. Thank you. It wasn’t their fault that I picked a niche which was tougher than selling tickets to another Rocky movie. So, in 2015 there will be some different things, some cool things, some changes (I will be harder to access except for my Premium customers). I think there will be three levels or Membership if you are accepted as a Member. I can no longer answer every email I am sent, especially when orders are not involved. I am barely on Facebook, have no Twitter account or all that other horseshit which is a 99% time waster. Social Media is for those who really have NO LIE and want it to stay that way. (I read today that lost productivity accounts for 1 BILLION at Intel and across the nation 999 billion (with a B). Who can afford this? I have NO TV and do not miss it. when I am at Carol’s house and she switches on the tube, what do I see? Commercial after commercial, most of which make me want to run screaming from her house. The first thing I look for is a method of escape to a restaurant or a movie. I couldn’t get half the things done that I do if I was forced to watch that evil box to find out who is killing who. Some think we are heading for Armageddon. I hope not because then we will find out what BAD is. ISIL will get wiped out once we get our “resolve” tactics in place.
Morphy will be King in 2015!
Anyway, more details on the Morphy Club will be presented in the next issue of Bob’s News Letter (October). How can you get it? Send me a buck and I will send you the next 3 issues. Send cash if you aren’t afraid I or some loser postal worker in Chicago in sorting won’t steal it. One fellow PayPaled me a $1 and PayPal took most of it! Blew my mind. It’s all electronic so where is the manual labor in this?
So sign up. One buck and you will get Oct-Nov-Dec issues of Bob’s News Letter. It will be a different scene. For one thing, depending on your classification as a member, there will be at least two newsletters per month: big and not so big.
In the meantime, I am creating a DVD list for distribution for the two fellows who asked for it. If you want to be on it, you’ll have to tell me. Business is business and I will service those who want me, I don’t have the time to chase you who love that sort of ego-thing. I no longer have that extra time. For those who want that vendor who will chase after them, does that vendor exist any more? When I write to other chess vendors about something it is only “name recognition” that gets a response because when the vendor is “new,” they don’t know me from Adam nor care. They will be gone in 1-2 years.
I didn’t intend this to be lengthy but:
1. I want to thank the loyalists who tell me what my “competition” is up to and who will instead buy from me.
2. I want to thank those who ask to be put on a wantlist where I can send them the merch as it comes in.
3. I want to thank those who like the innovations we work on and want to know more.
4. I want to thank those who give TPi and the Chess Butler a chance or two toward greatness.
5. I want to thank my competitors who constantly screw up EVERYTHING they do. (Overcharging on postage, carrying everyone else’s inventory but mine, don’t answer my letters or emails. Remember this, they do not know it’s them who are the newbies. I don’t believe ANY of them have a newsletter, paid or unpaid! Not one!
Good Night, I have some more orders to fill.
And, wait until you see the new Morphy Coin! Just two more weeks and I don’t even know the price yet for the bronze or Gold works of art. I have an IDEA but I have made some changes lately. One of these days these will be fantastic rarities.
I have some customers who NEVER ask me about the price, JUST SHIP IT. Saves me from working up an invoice and then later find they have changed their mind and I wasted all that time lost for a NO SALE.
By the way, in an email blast I sent out this afternoon, I sold a lot of store and this doesn’t count those who will order next week! I am out of CHESS PROGRESS. I have one copy left of McFarland’s Classical Era of Modern Chess by Monte. What an incredible piece of scholarship (no opening theory, per se, for those who indulge in that sort of thing). Beautiful hardcover. Picture reproductions too and an index that would make the Library of Congress wince. Not for everyone but for those who like the history of how things came to be, this would provide weeks of reading and a strong lap!