Barnes & Noble Roseville - what a turnout!
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 redrocker.com, 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.