That weird phone call I got weeks ago was from the prim (but ambitious) lil’ supermarket near my house (they got my number from my blog, go figure). Out of the blue they demanded, not rudely but not friendly either, my “cooperation” in taking down pictures of them I had uploaded to Flickr (for I wanted to write a review of how innovative and important the store really is — "The income level of a country is determined, above all, by the productivity of its largest industries. High productivity in the unglamorous “old-economy” sectors — retailing, wholesaling, construction — is most important, since more people work in them.“). Anyway, it sure looked like a big boatload of crap to me then. They weren’t giving me even hints of good reasons and still they threatened me — me, their most ardent former enthusiast — that they didn’t want to pursue the matter in a different way ”p">(wtf?). I instinctively groped for the freedom-speech martyr role, willing to fight the crusade against dimwitted, Pleistocene shopkeepers to its bitter end.
And so it would have likely been. But then father and Dragonball intervened ELZR. “If you do something that you later find upsets a friend, what you do is stop,” was father’s simple but crushing argument. Dragonball’s was more subtle in its nonverbalness but you could word it into this feel-good motto: “enemies are future friends waiting to be made.” I’ve never kept enemies and so it simply kills me to have one. I can’t. Because even if they never actively hurt me, I’ve always been aware that there will come a time when their help would come in handy — and I need all the help I can muster. In the case of this shoppe, I saw them immediately as customers. If this harebrained scheme I hatch of creating an ad-based online interface to Guadalajara is ever going to take off, I will need the help and patronage of every local business I can find.
It took me weeks to visit them (see previous fear post) but when I did, yesterday, it couldn’t have gone better. I went there and defused the whole thing by admitting error from the very beginning and promising to take down the pictures as soon as I came back home (which I’ve done). What followed was two persons trying to outapologize each other. My caller revealed himself a friendly, good-natured man. Most importantly, I finally got to understand what got them so upset. To begin with, being somewhat new to the retail business they’re paranoid about security after lots of bad experiences and it totally unnerved them when this random guy was able to sneak behind guards (some of them undercover) and take pictures nonchalantly. The crux of the matter, though, was that it turns out my Flickr page was the first Google hit for the store (that happens a lot whenever I talk about something from Mexico, Google gives me a totally disproportionate pride of place — Imagery‘s aftermath, I suppose) and that, combined with the anxiety of having problems with their webdevelopers (who haven’t been able to upload anything — not even a lousy banner — in six months), got them all worked up — how can it be that some random stranger is the one that tells the world what we are?
Now I offered myself up for the job and I may be the one building their web presence, which I’m sure would be a fascinating job. Amazing isn’t it?