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Goodnight Borders

February 17th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted in Books I like

I helped open the Border’s store in Alameda back in 2008 while I was in grad school.  It was a really good store with good people that loved books.  Now, due to financial mismanagement and the hiring of CEO after CEO, each one who knew nothing about books but was going to “Turn the company around.

How did they try and accomplish that?  By reducing store staff to such levels that customers constantly complained about not being able to get any help when they were looking for a book.  Reducing us to a staff that consisted of on person on register, one on the floor and a manager – for a two floor bookstore.  Not only can you not help customers like that, you can’t keep an eye on your product either.   I don’t know how much we lost to shoplifters, but I do know that the amount of empty CD wrappers that we found was a lot more than the cost of adding another body to the floor.

Our store went through manager after manager when Borders decided to try a command style of “Do this or you’re fired!” also known as “The beating will continue until moral improves.”  I’m sure you can guess how well that worked.  We lost good people and good managers.

It took Borders forever to catch up with ebooks, and even then the reaction was to put out a reader but not to put it front and center for maximum exposure.  For ours, we had it near the information desk on a stand that was maybe three feet wide for both readers.  It felt like an after thought.  Same went for our Mix and Burn station, Lord knows how much they spent on it, but it was never advertised and even two years after we opened I would have regular customers as me what it was.  If you spend money on it then you damn well should advertise that you have it!  But not Borders, nope.

And now, after only three short years, the store is being closed with hundreds of others so that Borders can try to survive a disaster of it’s own creation.  Damn shame.