Ode to a bookstore death

Thursday, September 22, 2011


A Border's employee created this awesome list as the bookstore where they worked met its demise. Most of the things they say are both sad and really true. I particularly love the bit about not being a daycare. Wouldn't it be great to be able to vent the stuff that frustrates you at your job? But I suppose if that meant you had to lose your job, it wouldn't be worth it.

Also, did you all know Kindles could officially download ebooks from libraries? When I got a Kindle for Christmas this wasn't an option and I was so bummed. I can't tell you how excited I am.

The photo and original story can be found on Entertainment Weekly's site here.

24 comments:

Kristi said...

Love this! It totally blows my mind that someone would return a book after reading it. Why would you return a book at all? It's not like a shirt you buy and find out it doesn't fit. So weird!

I'm with you on the kid thing. I have three kids, but if they start to misbehave in a store, we are out of there. I would never let them roam free and make a mess of a store.

That's great about being able to download Kindle books from the library! My library is kind of behind the times and super tiny, so I'll probably have to wait until I move back home to San Diego for that capability.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I love this list - shoppers can be weird at times, can't they?

I am very excited about Kindle Library downloads, although there is often a long wait for the popular eBooks.

Sandy Nawrot said...

Boy that is one person who let it all out...I bet he/she felt better afterwards. I particularly love that comment about Nicholas Sparks.

Gina Hott said...

That was terrific thanks!!

Jillian said...

Haha very funny! I could understand some of these rants for sure! I worked at Borders for about a year too and while it was so much fun, we really did have some characters coming in too. Still sad about the stores closing; I feel like I am having withdrawals to be honest.

Alex (The Sleepless Reader) said...

WOW, that was... honest! But completely understandable. LOL on the Sparks comment!

Mrs. Q: Book Addict said...

hahaha loved the letter! I loved the Oprah comment.

Heather said...

That is a FANASTIC letter. So very honest. And so sad, because despite how much they liked and din't liked, it's now over. I miss my Borders. :(

Yay for Kindle books at the library! I saw my library has added them too.

Heather said...

Oh, and I LOVE the dig at Nicholas Sparks. Amen to that!

Mumsy said...

I've returned books that I read, but only to B & N. Because they deserve it for instituting the most draconian return policy on the planet. I once had a B&N employee tell me with a straight face that they offer "gift receipts" with EVERY SINGLE SALE. So tell me: have you EVER been offered a gift receipt at B&N?

This made me laugh. I have been behind that customer who didn't know anything about the book except that "it had a woman on the cover? I think."

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Kristi - I know, it's not a library! There's nothing wrong with taking your kids to a bookstore, it's the crazy people who just let them run wild that bug me.

Diane - I immediately checked my library for a few popular ones and the wait is really long.

Sandy/Alex/Heather - I almost threw up when I read that interview with Sparks where he talks about how talented he is and how he's the only writer who can do what he does. Yuck.

Jillian - It makes me sad when any bookstores close.

Mrs. Q - I've been guilty of not buying books because Oprah likes them. I used to get so mad when she would pick a classic for her book club and act like she "discovered" a great book.

Heather - It makes me want to be more aware of my actions in big bookstores now. I'm sure I've done something on this list.

Mumsy - I don't think I've ever gotten a gift receipt at B&N. I'll have to keep that in mind the next time I'm there.

Brenna said...

This is so funny, but it also crushes all of my dreams to someday work at a bookstore.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Brenna - I would hope that it would be different if it was a small independent bookstore.

Nymeth said...

I was a bookseller for a few months many years ago, and I can relate to so much of this. It was a chain bookshop at a mall, though - I also hope an indie would be better!

Kayla said...

I LOVE this! I laughed out loud at the "Quick Question" one and the one about not knowing the author, title or genre. I've been guilty of the first one, I admit, but I've always resisted doing the second. :)

I've never returned a book I already read. That would make me feel like I was stealing from the store. My conscience would never allow it.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Nymeth - I worked at a B&N for a year in college and had a similar experience.

Kayla - I feel like the "quick question" would be true in any store. That phrase is never accurate.

Meg said...

I saw this on another site recently and couldn't help but laugh! I worked at Borders for two years and could definitely relate to most of it. The astounding things people would do, like leaving their kids unattended in the children's/YA section as a form of costless day care, was galling.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Meg - I wonder if this was just one employee's thoughts or if a fe of them conspired together.

Suey said...

Awesome list. I think I could come up with some for them, like how much it bugged me that my Borders people weren't familiar with our local authors!

Jenners said...

They should make this into a poster and put it in all book stores!

And I totally need to check into this Kindle thing. That is AWESOME!!!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Suey - It seems like independent bookstores so a much better job with local authors.

Jenners - That was my only big complaint about the kindle in the beginning. I hated that I couldn't get books from the library. So exciting!

Christopher said...

A fabulous posting! That list was very enlightening. It was definitely a sad day here in Valencia, California, when our local Borders went 'bye-bye'. We still have a very nice B&N here, but now we're just down to one bookstore for a community of about 180,000. I guess it all came down to the success of Border's business plan, and it just wasn't working. I'd dearly love to see more indy bookstores, but given the advent of online shopping and the growing ebook industry, that probably isn't likely to occur. Fortunately, there are some really sterling indy bookstores scattered about the LA area.

Anonymous said...

To be perfectly candid, I was a manager at Borders, and this so-called "Ode" is an embarrassment; it shows an utterly immature processing and expression of indeed very valid emotions. First of all, an ode is a artistic work that pays homage to something or someone, and this list is not paying homage to anything. It is an impotent and unfocused soap-box tirade, a mere child's tantrum played out on paper. Clearly it should have been put in the break room, not the sales floor for public eyes. Customers, rude or not, need to be handled in a finessed and strategic way because they make or break the business. Believe me, I've had to handle certain incidents at my store - drug overdoses, public ludeness, assault, even death threats - and more often, more asinine things like an irritating game of 20 questions with some customer who's never shopped in a bookstore before, but I ALWAYS remained a professional to whatever end. My livelihood depended on it, and plus my underlings relied on me to keep the ship even keeled. Shame on the authors of this travesty.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Christopher - I think it's important to frequent indy bookstores when possible, but I agree, there aren't many popping up any more.

Anon - I can see how this would be a pretty frustrating thing to see as a manager. I think everyone vents their frustration in different ways and this is obviously not a very professional one. I'm sorry you lost your job as well. I hope you've found another one that you enjoy.