Wait! Before you say “yes,” are you sure you’re ready? Are you really willing to make this kind of long-term commitment? Many people think, “If it doesn’t work out, we’ll just go our separate ways.” It’s not quite so easy as that, my friend.
I refer, of course, to joining a book club.
I know you can’t imagine ever growing tired of receiving two books every month with titles like “Ten Minute Meals Using Your Car’s Cigarette Lighter,” or “The Hidden Horrors of Cheddar Cheese: What They Don’t Want You To Know.”
Or maybe you go for the pulp fiction. Sure, right now you’re swept away with “Softly He Whispers,” or some other torrid romance novel with a title in which the words can be arranged in any order...but what about six months from now? A year?
“Oh,” you say, “when I get tired of it I’ll just cancel.”
I see. Just like you’re going to lose fifteen pounds after the holidays and arrange the contents of all seven boxes of memorabilia into scrapbooks. Excuse my bitter laugh.
Who, me? Why yes, as a matter of fact, I have tried to “just cancel.”
A few months after joining a book club, I began to have second thoughts. It’s not that I wasn’t interested in owning “The Edible Hibiscus: a Gardener’s Guide”—it’s just that I wasn’t sure I wanted to spend $29.95 for it, even if it did have breathtaking color photos of okra plants at dusk.
I pulled out the book club brochure assuring me that I could “simply cancel at any time.” Only thing is, with no phone number, no website, and no e-mail address listed, it wasn’t so simple.
I included a letter with the invoice of a recent book shipment that ended our relationship. But even as I dropped it in the mailbox, I suspected Mr. Book Club and I had not seen the last of each other.
The next month my books arrived, right on schedule.
This time I scrawled “CANCEL” at the top of the invoice with a thick black marker. Perhaps those book club administrators weren’t big readers themselves, but surely that would get my point across.
The following month...well, you can probably guess.
My final letter indicated that I would treat any future book shipment as a gift. Apparently that did the trick, since I received no further packages from them. Of course, it probably didn’t hurt that the letter had been written on my husband’s law firm stationery.
Needless to say, that’s the end of book-clubbing for me. But go ahead and take the plunge! Just don’t say I didn’t warn you when the honeymoon ends.
In the meantime, I’d like to borrow that book on cheddar cheese when you’re done with it.