Sunday, November 19, 2023

Book Marketer Shoplifts To Save Humanity!



Let me state up front, I am a thief.

No major felony stuff, but I have stolen from a super market — dozens of times. No, I am not confessing to teenage dares or any mistaken indiscretions of my youth. Just plain old stealing as a middle-aged adult. No, I didn’t do it out of a desperate financial need, either.

You may wonder why a successful entrepreneur and well-known book marketing expert would steal — and brag about it publicly. Let me tell you why.

I have strong convictions about automated, cashierless check-out counters. I hate them and never cared for them. Aside from creating more unemployed people, it frustrates the customer and dehumanizes the experience.

My response to this? I steal.

When I go to get eight items at a self-checkout counter, I end up scanning seven. One is on the house. I feel justified. It is my form of protest, my little way of raging against the machine. I have no defense. I am a thief. But I am also a victim, robbed of human dignity.

I grew up used to the experience of seeing a cashier, making small talk while they ring things up and bag my items. Now, they charge for bags, I have to price-swipe and pack my stuff, and I pay while not interacting with a human being. This is progress?

Every time I am forced into using the self-checkout counter, I lament that technology is reducing us to isolation. Granted, I don’t become best friends with the lady ringing me up at Target, but this becomes one less of increasingly fewer in-person human interactions.

I apply the same thinking to movie ticket purchases. If I go online to buy a movie ticket — and they do away with their need/cost to have a cashier to sell it to me — why am I charged a fee to buy that ticket? I get my revenge by lying and saying that everyone in my party is a senior and get a discount. I simply despise a missing human element and then BS charges when the process actually saves a company money.

The humanless interactions are greatly on the rise.

I can already order things online and never see people in a store, never talk to a salesperson, never even get to express polite concern for another by holding a door for them. But it goes beyond occasionally ordering from Amazon. Everything is becoming like this, where everything is done online.

Dating? Love is all online.
Finding a pet to adopt? Fluffy is online.
Go out to the movies? Just stream.

We talk to fewer people.
Touch fewer people.
See fewer people.

Out of sight, out of mind. Our collective will to care for others likely wanes if we are exposed to fewer people.

Even learning what is going on in a friend’s life is something that may happen only if I scroll their social media posts. What happened to calling or seeing me? Where is the one-on-one, give-and-take exchanges as opposed to one-sided public outbursts?

We text people instead of calling. We email invites instead of mailing them. We zoom over meeting in person. We take online courses and work from home instead of coming to an in-person environment. No wonder why Gen Z and some Millennials are stressed out and can’t act like fully functioning people.

Our social actions are no longer personal or in person. Our human contact is reduced to zooms, robots, apps, and emails. It is amazing any of us venture outside.

I may sound like some aging geezer lamenting on old-fashioned ways. No, I am a middle-aged guy who knows of a pre-Internet world, one where people saw, touched, and lived with one another. Of course, life was not perfect back then, but all other factors aside, life is best lived with more people interacting more often — not less.

So, supermarket or movie theatre, you want me to do things without humans — and pay more for the “privilege?” 

Not on my watch.

Need Book Marketing Help?

Brian Feinblum, the founder of this award-winning blog, can be reached at  He is available to help authors promote their story, sell their book, and grow their brand. He has over 30 years of experience in successfully helping thousands of authors in all genres. Let him be your advocate, teacher, and motivator!


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About Brian Feinblum

Brian Feinblum should be followed on LinkedIn. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2023. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog, and El Chapo, a pug rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent.  This award-winning blog has generated over 3.4 million pageviews. With 4,600+ posts over the past dozen years, it was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby  and recognized by Feedspot in 2021 and 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by as a "best resource.” For the past three decades, including 21 years as the head of marketing for the nation’s largest book publicity firm, and two jobs at two independent presses, Brian has worked with many first-time, self-published, authors of all genres, right along with best-selling authors and celebrities such as: Dr. Ruth, Mark Victor Hansen, Joseph Finder, Katherine Spurway, Neil Rackham, Harvey Mackay, Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, Warren Adler, Cindy Adams, Todd Duncan, Susan RoAne, John C. Maxwell, Jeff Foxworthy, Seth Godin, and Henry Winkler. He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America, and has spoken at ASJA, Independent Book Publishers Association Sarah Lawrence College, Nonfiction Writers Association, Cape Cod Writers Association, Willamette (Portland) Writers Association, APEX, and Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association. His letters-to-the-editor have been published in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Post, NY Daily News, Newsday, The Journal News (Westchester) and The Washington Post. He has been featured in The Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald. For more information, please consult:  

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