I don't remember exactly how it happened, but it seemed I had signed myself up for a free Amazon course of two hours in Burnaby, B.C.
Why not go? I thought, being an author and all. After all, Amazon keeps changing the algorithms in favour of their self-published books (so rumour has it). Perhaps this lecture will reveal the secret to getting around these mysterious numbers. And so I showed up, grabbed my free cup of coffee and sat down.
In walks the presenter. Handsome, tall, thirty-something, his hair greased back as slick as the talk he was about to give. And no sooner did he begin, did he utter a serious Canadian faux-pas. He said, "You can make a lot of money on Amazon despite your race."
Ahhhhh! What????? I immediately turned around to see what the demographics were in the room and discovered there were only three white people there. My hackles raised at his divisiveness, and I nearly let out a low growl, but instead decided to listen to what he had to say. After he's only human, right? We all mistakes.
That's when I noticed his accent was American, and thought, "Perhaps he doesn't know. Maybe I should give him the benefit of the doubt and tell him afterward."
Soon he was tempting people to sign up for a three-day Amazon course for only $1299 by offering them a free kindle. Then he explained the strategy of buying top selling items at wholesale price and selling them on Amazon at a profit. Hmmmm. So much for my writing career. But still, I had decided to give him the benefit of the doubt.
At the end of the talk, I went to him and asked him about the book algorithms, and he didn't deny it. When I asked him how I could get around them, he suggested I sell something else. (Good thing I didn't pay for this lecture.)
But my kinder side prevailed and I said, "May I give you some feedback?" still reeling from the race thing.
"No!" he recoiled in true Trumpian fashion, his arms crossed, and face in a scowl.
"But it's important," I said.
He acquiesced, but still looked ready for battle.
"When you said that bit about selling things on Amazon despite your race? Well....this is Canada. We don't have racial problems like you guys have in America. There are some, but all in all, we just get along. It's easy. It's not necessary to say that in Canada."
The handsome young man suddenly transformed to Donald Trump himself, red faced as Potus and began arguing with me. Real professional.
My reply? "My hackles were raised when you said that. It's just a suggestion. Take it or leave it."
And with that, I left, not having signed up for his course on how to peddle on Amazon and a bad taste in my mouth for the world's largest on-line company.
As I was catching the elevator, I spoke with an Asian man who'd sat through the speech. Turned out he was as offended by the race comment as I was.
How marred my image is of Amazon now, me, an Amazon Prime holder. Think I'll go hang out at the old-fashioned mall instead of on-line. (Huge sigh of relief.)