Heinlein’s Tea for Two

I was feeling especially civic-minded after spending all of last week writing about Peter Watts’ trial. I’ve always intended to read Robert A. Heinlein’s Take Back Your Government eventually anyway so I decided to do it now. He might help me think about a citizen’s response to events like this. So I set out to order a copy.

First I went to Amazon.com. Three vendors were willing to sell me the 1992 paperback for $52. Others were willing to let me pay a lot more. Outrageous! Because I know these are not autographed copies. (Sherlock Holmes could not have deduced that more quickly.)

Then I remembered someone had written during last year’s campaign that Baen might reissue the book. What had they done since then? I checked the Baen website. Good news. Take Back Your Government was available as an e-book for just $5. A sweet deal, because Baen offers its e-books in multiple formats. I’d be able to load a copy on my Kindle.

There was an option to buy Heinlein’s book separately or bundled together with a book called Taxpayers Tea Party for $10. Why would I want that? So I hit the purchase button to order the Heinlein e-book. The shopping cart screen appeared — but it was empty. Well, I must have done something wrong. I worked my way back to the page with the purchase button and hit it once more. The shopping cart screen came back empty again.

The third time I tried clicking on the Heinlein/Tea Party bundle. This time the shopping cart showed my order. I said Aha! and started having conspiratorial thoughts. But because I’d have happily paid $10 just to get the Heinlein book, I rationalized going through with the purchase.

And I thought, I’m going to blog about this.

Then this morning I started wondering if I’d really just done something dumb? I’ve been happy buying from Baen all along. I’d hate to criticize them if it was my fault. So I returned to the Baen site and tried ordering a single copy of Take Back Your Government. And you know what? It worked perfectly the first time.

So I guess I just did something dumb yesterday. I will not get to name this post “Take Back My Merchandise.” Which just kills me.

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7 thoughts on “Heinlein’s Tea for Two

  1. Man, you really blew it!
    You should have gone off half-cocked, ranted and raved about the pernicious influences on our divided state. how SCOTUS opened the door to exactly this kind of thing with their “corporations really are people” decision (and of course SF fans know they are, but that wasn’t the way we intended it to be), about how shocking it is that Baen has become a tool of the man, and how absolutely and utterly sinful it is to corrupt the memory and legacy of RAH in such a crass, commercial manner.
    Then you would have gotten a note or two from the Baen folks, most likely gently explaining that this is not a conspiracy – you’re just an idiot.
    In the meantime, several (if not more) fellow bloggers, (like me) several of whom (if not more) would have gone off half-cocked and tweeted and posted their two cents, aggregators would have picked it up and someone (if not more) would have added it to the FAIL thread on some wiki somewhere.
    Hundreds, perhaps thousands, would have instantly gone to Baen’s ordering system and would have tested this for themselves; some would have inadvertently gone through with the ordering process.
    Meanwhile, you would have gone through the mea culpas (which itself would provide more fodder for the web) and
    your traffic would have increased, Baen’s traffic would have increased and Baen would probably have sold another twenty copies of RAH’s book (and maybe half a dozen of the tea party thingies).
    Talk about Fail!

  2. Ah, the ever popular FAIL meme amongst those who blog.

    I am reminded of what Pat Cadigan had to say about the whole FAIL concept:

    “That’s it–no more FAIL. No more Race Fail, no more Gender Fail, no more ANYTHING Fail.

    “I’m aiming to make progress, I’m intending to succeed–eventually if not right away. I refuse to give in. But if you call something FAIL, that’s what it will do: Fail.

    “If you really want something better, don’t sign up to FAIL.”


    And the tag for here posting: fail=crap meme

  3. Unfortunately, steve davidson’s scenario is all too likely.

    Also, since Jerry Pournelle wrote the forward, you could always get him to autograph that if you bought a paper copy.

  4. A friend of mine had a similar problem trying to order the Anticipation CD of the Hugo ceremonies. He didn’t know what the problem was, but he couldn’t get the web site to register his credit card order. He tried several times.

    Then he came over to my place, and showed me by trying to place the order from my computer. Worked first time.

    Beware! The internet has already demonstrated the first signs of consciousness — incompetence.

  5. Most likely something in his protection software was preventing the necessary cookie from being set, or some similar problem, Tarla.

  6. Gary. It could have been something like that. The amusing thing about him being stumped was that he was a professional on-line computer trouble-shooter for a major pharamaceutical company, and wasn’t at all amused that he didn’t know what was going wrong.

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