Today I learned a good lesson about owning a business…

Remember how I told you all that my book was being sold in the best English language book store in Switzerland, and that I was so excited and happy that someone bought a book when I was right there talking with them about it and so impressed with myself for being such a good promoter of my book and blah blah blah zzzzzzzzz? Well, I was so high on myself and my “achievement” that I completely dunced out on the most basic of business transactions – the receipt. You know, that little piece of paper you don’t pay much attention to, until you need it? Yeah, that one. Stupid little old me just glided into the store on his own high-on-life vapors and dropped off 5 books a couple of weeks ago – and then went and did the same thing yesterday – both times without getting proof of actually doing it.

And if that weren’t bad enough, I wrote an email yesterday to my connection at the store, the very awesomely patient Julia the Buyer, and cheerily remarked about how 3 books had been sold – and then wrote again after I dropped off another batch o’ books to ask her how/when I’d be getting paid for the ones that sold. Not recognizing that I should have done that before I ever even thought of bringing one copy into the store. Yeah, that didn’t actually pop into my mind until almost a month into this process…

And to make matters worse for my OCD/already overly anxious mind, Xanat and I went to a big Carnival type party (Fasnacht) an hour away in the streets of Basel – and until I got my first dose of confetti bombing, I was pretty much just birthing an ulcer worrying about how I was going to explain to everyone how I’d lost a couple of hundred dollars worth of books just by being the dictionary’s poster child for “naive”. Even Xani’s assurances that “we live in Switzerland, Greg. If we were in the States or México, I’d say you should worry. But you know how it is here – everyone’s honest.”

And so thank all that is good and right in this world that when I finally got a chance to write Julia again, she backed up Xani’s claim by stating “…people usually don’t cheat you here. ;-)”, and that she’d be happy to sign whatever form I write up. A couple of hours later, I dropped off two copies of the first invoice/contract I’ve ever written, and while I don’t actually have them signed just yet (she was in a meeting), I’m anticipating that I’ll be able to consider this a good lesson in what I need to do from now on instead of a what I never should have let happen.

I know that a lot of you out there reading this are probably just shaking your heads, wondering how someone so obviously detail-oriented could bypass the most important details of all. I don’t really have a good excuse, because I am also the most skeptical person I know, and would have told anybody else that they should have considered these things from the start. All I can say (as I paraphrase Rick James) is that the ego is one helluva drug – and when it gets all pumped up on itself, it can make some really basic and fundamental mistakes. Hopefully I can let this be a lesson learned, and keep this good vibe going…

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