Barnes & Noble Roseville - what a turnout!

March 25, 2011 by velvet jones

The Sammy signing last night was a disappointment for many of us. First of all, it was a GREAT turnout. The store was packed, despite some of the worst rain I’ve seen in years. An employee said there were about 500 in line. He said it was the best turnout for an event that he'd seen in his 22 years. It quickly became clear why Roseville was among the handful of places to be blessed with a stop on the book tour. Barnes & Noble ran out of books 50 minutes before the signing started! Shame on B&N for not having 500 more books on hand, as Sammy was signing 2 copies per person. Shame on Sammy for not having an extra 500 ready on the bus for a book signing tour?!? 500 more books times $10 a piece profit? Seems like a missed opportunity to me. Since the rule was signing books only and no posed pictures, fans were turned away because there were no books available. A B&N employee was going down the line asking if anybody had extra books!

I got there about 3 hours early - God bless those who got there at 5:30am.! I was somewhere in the middle of the line. Sammy arrived and headed over to the radio and news area. He did an interview and started signing at 7, right on schedule. Saw lots of smiles from those who got their signatures as they'd head out of the store. Noticed that Sammy signed a few other things besides books, which surprised me. As time went on, the line was moving faster and faster. Seemed the first 100 people had lots of time to chat, shake hands, pose for pics, etc. They SHOULD have this extra time, IMO. The hardest-core, up-front fanatics who stood in line for 13 hours. I was surprised to see the line move so quickly. Before I knew it, it was my turn. As I rounded the final turn in the line, I saw Sammy's 'handlers' herding people thru the line really quickly. They were saying "Books ready. Books ready. Books ready. Books ready." and literally pushing people past the signing table. They grabbed my book, slid it across the table to Sammy, and herded me past the table to the 'exit' line. That was IT! Over…Done… I wasn't expecting to sit and have a beer with him, but this was terrible. Never got within 5 feet of him. No handshake. No time to snap a photo (had my camera on and ready, as instructed...) No time to say "Thanks Sammy" or "Great book." Never even made friggin eye contact! Literally 2 seconds in his general vicinity and I was in the exit line. I actually had to fight my way back to his “people” to get my book back! I didn't even get 'my' book back, just one they grabbed off the table. And the signature was awful. I've seen hundreds of Sammy sigs over the years - I couldn't even tell if mine was upside down, much less if it was even his signature. Getting a snapshot of him signing for his own Facebook/Twitter contest was out of the question, unless I just took a picture of the line or the building.

So they blew thru the line really quickly. This is a 2 hour signing, and he finished in less than 1 hour. He stands up, throws his hands in the air in a ‘victory’ stance, says Thanks and headed for the door. There were about 20 of us with cameras/phones waiting around in a group, hoping he'd chat for a couple of minutes, maybe pose for a picture, since he suddenly had an extra hour to kill. He wasn't having any of it. Just smiled and walked by - he couldn't spend 3 extra minutes with us? I relate it to expecting a 2 hour concert, only to have him play a one-hour medley with no interaction or encore and taking off. Really disappointing.

I've been to at least 25 Sammy shows - bought all the records, the t-shirts, all the merchandise. (Sammy, Cabo, VH, Red Rocker etc.) This was the "big moment" in my 25 years of following him and he couldn't give me 5 seconds of true interaction. Paid for stage tix once and was allowed to take photos, but no signatures. This was finally my chance to interact, if only to say “Thanks”.

I saw lots of happy faces coming out and lots of disappointment – 2 totally different sides of the experience. Someone called the Mark and Brian show this morning and shared a very similar experience to mine, except he said his wife nearly got trampled in the stampede.

Sammy never ‘owed’ me anything but good music, but this was basically a slap in the face. Racing through what was promised as a 2 hour signing in less than one hour. He can blame B&N, he can blame his handlers, he can blame the rain. Bottom line, it’s HIS name and he should take a look at the way this was done. HE was the one who ran out the door at 7:57. Another 3 minutes of interaction with us would have at least meant he clocked-in HALF of the time he promised. The fact that he’d had the prior 2 days off should have offered an even better experience, as I’d expect he’d be somewhat rested.

Based on prior signing events I’ve attended and the “Signing Expectations” post made on, I went in knowing what to expect from this event. “Hey Redheads, we've been hearing that some of you have ended up a little disappointed after the book signing events. You know that Sammy loves you all and is very upset to hear this. Unfortunately, we can't control the book signing events like our usual Meet & Greets so all he has time to do is say "hi" and sign your book. As much as Sammy would love to have a personal moment with each and everyone of you the line has to move as quickly as possible to be fair to all of the Redheads who show up.” I didn’t even get the “saying hi” part. Despite the message, Sammy COULD have controlled the signing. He saw the way his fans were being slammed through the line. Nobody made him leave an hour early and he could have at least posed for a photo on his way out the door. Being “fair to all of the Redheads” would have involved spending the full 2 hours of signing, as promised, not blowing through the line in 1 hour. He didn’t even live up to the meager “Signing Expectations” that were promised here. Based on the photos posted here and Facebook, some people had an opportunity to click a quick picture. A couple are decent, but most are blurred, obstructed, shot from the back, etc. Would a 2 minute photo-opp after the last book was signed have been out of the question?

I know plenty of fans have had great experiences meeting Sammy before and can attest that he really cares for his fans. I’m glad they’ve had memorable moments. I did not. I was robbed of my few seconds. It wasn’t right, and Sammy should be aware of it because I think he genuinely cares about his fans and doesn’t want them to be disappointed, like many of us were last night.

Now, seeing “rockmom3”s comment, and the guy on Mark & Brian, I’m convinced that it wasn’t just me. I have a legitimate bitch.

The good news is, my tickets for the Tahoe shows will be on the market soon, after I offer them (at face value) to a friend. I’ve had enough and am not going to bother making the drive. If Sammy doesn’t have 5 seconds for me, I don’t have a weekend for him. Thanks, Sammy - it’s been a great 2½ decades.

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 6  Redhead Comments

pams041's picture

Im sorry you didnt have the same experience that i did. I guess I didnt expect a meet and greet.
I got there at 7:00AM, In enough time time to enjoy the people in line and LOVE the whole experience and not to think it was all about ME! Theres only so much time in a day and sammy needed to have people to protect him. Enjoy Sammy for who he is and not what your selfish needs are. He is a great rocker and thats why we love him not to expect anything FROM him! Rock on Sammy! Cant wait to see you in May. MUAH.

David Mccain's picture

I was VERY nervous that I don't even remember what I said to him ( hahaha ). But I got a handshake and a signature for my copy. But even though I goofed up, I got to meet TONS of new friends and became fast friends with them. It feels good to be in great company ( and I feel less lonely that they are just as fanatical as me! ). Take care and it was great hanging with y'all!

StPeteRedHead's picture

Sammy is really great to his fans. I'm so surprised to read this.
What a bummer that this has turned out so bad. His team should have expected a big turn out. I figure it was the people running the event that caused the chaos, but bottom line… Sammy is the boss. He can run it anyway he sees fit. I'm REALLY surprised he didn't slow it down for his fans.

If 2 hours was scheduled, it should have been done and with interaction with his fans. At least to ask your name and include it in the autograph. I will not buy an autograph. The point is that you meet the person. He might as well just sign a bunch of books at home and sell them online.

I'm not anywhere near a book signing event so I wasn't planning on going. But after reading this I definitely would not go.

But Velvet, don't give up on Sammy just yet. You should go to Tahoe. You know you will have a great time.

flowerladycw's picture

Wow! I think this guys comments were harsh. Yes... I was there three hours early and I did get to see him and even get a kiss, but it was quick. I had been following his other book signings on his site so I was prepaired for the quick visit. It didn't bother me that there was hardly any eye contact... He was on a mission. He was trying to sign hundreds of books. It wasn't supposed to be a social visit. It was business with a high five here and there in between. I can't believe you call yourself a fan if you are willing to give up on him because of this one day. If you trully know Sammy, he is probably the most "fan friendly" entertainer out there. Shame on you!! I closed my business to be there and was thrilled with doing so. Lovin him!

KrZyLaDyM's picture

I couldn't have put this better myself, pretty much my story exactly except I didn't stay all day in line in the rain. I went back at 5:30 to get in line. His 2 GOONS (both tall big guys, one with grey thick chin beard & the other with the dark hair/goatee) were total ASSES! There was no need to RACE through it it as they did. You're right, Sammy should have noticed that his Men were being jerks, slowed their roll, and got those photogs that stood in front of him for the hour out of the way so we could have got some good shots of
Sam. One of them slammed my book down so hard that we all jumped, all because I handed him the book that had already been signed. And it was at the end when there was nobody else in line... I did have a miniscule second for a photo opp - Sam was leaning into me for a great pic, then he was slammed from his left with more books, so he's looking down while leaning into me for my half a second moment. I too was disappointed when he jumped up and ran out the door, in under 60 minutes of a 2 hour signing.

I hope that San Francisco fans and the rest of the book signing tour fans don't receive the same treatment. Big kudos to all the B&N staff for their hospitality with so many of us in the store. Sam's music was loud enough to enjoy, and they were all extremely friendly, exactly the opposite of TweedleDee & TweedleDum. And the gents in suits were all very polite as well.

Sammy, don't lose us fans over this kind of sh*t man! We love to show you our love, but I too felt that sting and letdown last night. Congratulations on your #1 NYTimes Best Selling Book!!!


DragonTBear's picture

The guy in front of me brought his wife, kid, and two friends. They only had one book, Which is fine with me, but ... there were so many people that when Sammy looked up after signing, he had no idea who to look at. He held his hand up for the 'high-five' and I think he thought someone else was going to 'high-five' him.

Not only did I not get a "HI". I didn't even get eye contact.

I was only expecting about 4 seconds with Sammy. I got ZERO. But I did get a signed book. So I left generally happy.

Like you, I was near the middle of the line. (showed up a little before 5pm). (btw: did you notice the sun came out right when sammy showed up around 6:00?)

Then to hear that he left early ... OUCH ... he could have slowed down just a little bit, and still gotten everyone's books signed long before 9:00.

Sammy, we feel a little bit like you did holding those guitars in the rain, and Sly Stone didn't hold the door for you.

Having said all that ... I'm still a fan. But I gotta say: I'm more of a fan of his work than the man.