Friday, March 25, 2011

Hiding in the Bathroom

Today is a book rep day. I saw the rep on my way down to a meeting. The rep was still here after I returned. I'm headed to the bathroom to hide. Will someone tell me when the book rep has left?



  1. Hahaha. I thought we were the only ones that literally hid in the bathroom from our book rep. I once tutored a student in the bathroom to avoid him.

    What's wrong with the book rep I have?

    He shows up at all hours of the day and doesn't seem to care what I'm doing. He has to meet with me RIGHT THEN, Even if only for a few minutes. I reported him to his supervisor for finding me in class and trying to get with me to meet with him instead of, you know, doing my job. I can understand if I were showing a movie or if the students were working on a group project in class, but they weren't. We were having a pretty spirited discussion.

    And given that situation, you can only imagine the disruption to the tutoring center this can cause. When I have appointments with students I keep them, I don't really care what or who else shows up and starts wanting some of my time. But he hovers (and I do deal with more than one rep, and it really is only one that's the problem). He makes the student uncomfortable. Finally the student usually tells me to meet with the guy to make him go away.

    I've had to ask him to leave and wait somewhere else more than once after the first time that occurred.

    I am the decision maker for my campus on books. I get that. But ultimately my whole staff gets a vote one what book we choose. It doesn't matter how many free desk copies I'm given or what I'm bribed with or how many times the rep brings alcohol to me that isn't even allowed on campus--he's an annoying sod, the book he's peddling sucks, and if you need me, I'll be in the gender segregated bathroom hiding from him.


  2. This is another (though admittedly just one) piece of the "why don't the students buy the textbook?" puzzle: because textbook publishers, like big pharma, have become wolves in sheep's clothing, big commercial enterprises that, despite their supposed devotion to the common good, show every sign of being interested primarily in wringing every possible penny out of a captive audience, the better to please their shareholders and inflate their own bonuses, and that, to that end, employ sales reps with a level of pushiness once found only on a used-car lot. Students have been burned so many times by tricks like constantly updated editions, bundling, and just plain ridiculously inflated prices that they're now resistant to the whole idea of buying textbooks. I don't blame them, but I don't want to be limited to material that's free on the internet, either, or to deprive textbooks authors of just compensation (which I suspect they're not getting now anyway). I'd just like to see a return to textbooks priced like "regular" books of similar size, complexity, and difficulty of production.

    @Proffie: I'd be tempted to call the campus police on the guy you describe. Barging into a class is absolutely unacceptable, as is hovering over a conference that is meant to be private.

  3. I pwnt mine this week after he was hosting his stupid "look at my books" shenanigans, and he cornered me in the hallway asking if I want to see what he has to offer.

    I said, "I don't see the point in looking at your books if you never send me desk copies when I ask for them." You can do this even if it isn't strictly true, since statistically, I think they forget at least 30% of the requests people make.

  4. I don't have issues with book reps. They never visit Midwestern Miracle University anyway. My problem is that I've had more book buyers this semester than in the first 4 years that I've taught!

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  6. We don't get book reps on our campus, but I have been known to pretend I'm waiting for the 'real' proffie to show up and am "just a TA" when I see the book buyers lurking & asking if I have any books to sell back. Now that I think of it, if we got book reps, maybe I'd welcome the bookbuyers more readily.

    I do detest the followup emails & surveys I've been getting (3 on a row now from a certain publisher--T&F) to rate their book that I have yet to flip through bc I'm grading, dammit, & book orders aren't due yet. Are they?!!!!

  7. @ My Little Proffie

    Sounds like the guy needs to be decked. Do you have tenure?

  8. @crazyprof nope! Tenure is not available here.

    The book-rep-iness has faded now that we've made a decision on the text for our class. I just sincerely hope that none of you ever experience what it's like when book reps smell blood. We were changing the text for a course that enrolls 20,000 students statewide every year. That kind of contract? Goodness.

    Let's just say one of the lesser annoying reps actually sent us a scathing e-mail harassing us for our choice of "not his company's book" the morning after the decision making meeting.

    On the other hand, they are all very good at providing us with desk copies. Lots of desk copies. So many desk copies that we don't worry much when a few run away every term.


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