Don’t Send Cookies!

I’ve been reading my way through Miss Snark’s blog (which is still full of lots of useful information even though she no longer posts there).  And last night I ran across this post, which reminded me of a New York experience I had a while back that I thought I’d share.

Read the post, but if you choose not to, the portion that triggered my reminiscence was this:

Nothing with food.  I swear to god, we had the exterminator in twice before we figured out some moronic nitwit asswipe had sent COOKIES in a package.  Roaches in NYC are a fact of life.  They are not welcome tenants here in the office.  Anyone who causes them to think they are welcome is automatically excluded from representation even if he has a first hand account of Jesus and the Sermon on the Mount.

Also, if you’re a smoker or live with a smoker, read this post.  (And, if you are a smoker, do not rely on your own sense of smell on this one.  Trust me.)

So, the story:

Years ago, I was talking to the owner of a company who was complaining to me about how expensive it was to have an office in New York City.  (This was a company with headquarters somewhere west of the Mississippi but not very close to California.)  Anyway.  During the course of the conversation, he happened to mention to me that they wanted him to pay extra for pest control on top of the ridiculously exorbitant rent he already paid.  (Keep in mind this was a man who didn’t like to pay for anything he didn’t have to and sometimes not even for things he was required to by law.)

So, I had to go to this New York office for a week.  Very fancy building at a “good address.”  Men in suits they probably couldn’t afford, flashing designer watches and slicked back hair.  Seemingly impressive.

They set me up in one of the conference rooms with a long faux mahogany table.  I’m sitting there, at the end of the table, typing away, looking over a few documents, when I hear a plopping noise with a bit of a squish to it.  I look to the other end of the table (thankful that the outlet was at this end of the table, so I wasn’t sitting down there when the plopping occurred) and I see a roach on its back, waving its spindly little legs in the air.  Ugh.  Disgusting.  (Seems it had fallen out of the air vent in the ceiling.)  The thought still makes my stomach do weird little flips.

Anyway.  I wasn’t about to try to kill a New York cockroach.  (If you think New Yorkers are tough, you should see their cockroaches.)  So, I took a plate that was sitting on a nearby shelf, put it over the cockroach, and went back to work.  And when the head of the office came to meet with me an hour or so later and asked if I had everything I needed, I told him I was fine, but he might want to do something about the roach under the plate.

Pest control is not something you want to be cheap about if you live in New York.  And don’t make an agent’s or editor’s life more difficult by sending them food.

Not to mention, if you’re dealing with a big company, you have no idea who is opening the mail or where.  One of the companies I worked for, all mail was opened in another state  (sounds more dramatic than it is, those East coast states are very close to one another), because of anthrax scares.  (And someone’s silly little belief that we occasionally made people mad enough to want to send us explosive devices in the mail.  Don’t think it ever happened, but I’m sure a few folks did consider it.)  So, if you put some cookies in a package, and have them get a little squished in transit, who knows what kind of drama you’ll trigger.

Trust me.  Just send a good query.  And if you don’t want to trust me, trust Miss Snark.  (You know, someone who makes a living at this.)

About M. H. Lee

M.H. Lee is a speculative fiction writer currently residing in Colorado whose stories are sometimes dark, sometimes funny, sometimes darkly funny, but hopefully always thought-provoking and entertaining.
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