Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Price of Name

I don’t have to ask what’s so attractive about sports bars. I know what the draw is. Big TVs. Cocktail waitresses in tight tank tops. Beer. Loudness. Sports. Many, many sports.  

It’s just that I don’t like sports and I don’t like bars, so there you go.

I am, however, open to adventure. OK, that’s not exactly true. I’m mostly closed to adventure, but my friend Tracie asked if I wanted to go to a local sports bar because a celebrity was having a tasting of his new wine. So, my husband and I and Tracie and her husband went.

I am not going to tell you the name of the sports bar. I’ll just say that the owners and staff were very nice, but service went way down the tubes once the place got packed. 

I am not going to tell you the name of the celebrity. But here’s a picture of us, with faces and other stuff blurred out. Guess which one is me.

Yeah, I’m the one reaching into my purse for more money.

See, the celebrity’s website says his wine is twenty bucks a bottle, but when I got up to the signing table, his “people” (some guy) told me it was $30. I looked directly at Mr. Celebrity and said, “It’s $20 on the website.” Which I may not have had the nards to say had I not had two martinis prior to his arrival. The martinis were delicious, hence my having two of them, which, lightweight that I am, I normally wouldn’t do, but I was on an adventure.

Anyway, I made the comment about $20/website and Mr. Celebrity sort of sheepishly replied something like, “It’s extra for the signature,” and signed my bottle. I tried to make small talk about working for the local paper, but his people (some guy) ushered me along so that other adventurous sporting fans could pay $30 for $20 wine that probably cost $5 to make.

The four of us went outside and commiserated. I found the situation mostly humorous, but that could’ve been due to the excessive martini consumption. We went home and I texted my 21-year-old daughter, telling her about my adventure, and she said, “Charging for autographs is tacky.”

She’s right.

I’m no celebrity—at least not like this dude is—but when I do book-signings, I usually eat the sales tax (here meaning pay for it myself) on the books I bring, plus I give out bookmarks and bumper stickers. For free. The celebrity not only charged extra for the wine that he’s already making money on, but if you wanted to taste it, the sports bar was charging $7 per glass. I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt, because it’s possible that they may have had to pay full price for the bottles. And because their zucchini fries were good.

The upshot here is that it seems a little douchey to charge an autograph fee. It’s not like you’re Leonard Nimoy and this is a Star Trek convention. These people are here to buy your product. Dude, you may be a good guy, but you should seriously reconsider the autograph surcharge. Oh, yeah, and Tracie told me your signature is already rubbing off her bottle. So you may need a different pen, too.

Want Wendy Dager’s autograph? She’ll send it to you free, anywhere in the U.S. Just email info@wendydager.com with your name and address. She’ll even pay for postage. That’s how not-douchey she is.


  1. if they did feel the need to attach a fee for his signature i think it's funny that they think this celebrity's autograph is only worth ten dollars.

  2. Maybe it had to do with how much they thought they could get away with.