Friday, June 27, 2008

Why I Will No Longer Shop at Borders

I'm really sad. Borders used to be one of my favorite places to go hang out, and more times than not, I'd end up buying something. But it's gotten progressively unfriendly. First, the Harry Potter party last July was pretty horrible (especially compared to previous ones we had attended). Then I started getting annoyed that we get pestered to join Borders Rewards every time we buy anything from them. (We choose not to because I don't like the idea that every purchase I make is logged in some computer somewhere so we can be advertised to; while I don't buy questionable material (but who decides what is "questionable" anyway?), I don't like that it is available for someone to obtain if they wanted - as opposed to the library which doesn't keep records of what people borrow.) Today I heard of a knitting book I wanted to buy and checked Amazon and they did have it (of course), but as I was planning a trip to Borders tonight, and I wanted immediate gratification, I decided to pay a little more and buy it at our local store. So, after dinner we went over to Borders and browsed a bit. While I'm in there, I just got this vibe of unfriendliness. They have reduced the number of books they have and there seems to be lots of empty space. Employees seemed a little more "in your face." It was just uncomfortable. But I found the book I wanted and planned to buy it. I also wanted to pick up some knitting supplies, and since there is a Hobby Lobby in the same shopping center, I left Jimmy with the book and went to Hobby Lobby to get what I needed, intending to meet them back at Borders. As I was heading to the checkout line, I looked up and saw Jimmy. He said he needed the keys. They wouldn't let him sit and read a book at Borders, so he left. What happened is that he tried to find seating and when it was all taken, he sat on the floor in the section in which he was browsing, and an employee told him he couldn't sit there and had no suggestions of what else he could do, so he left. So now, on top of having higher prices, reducing their inventory, pushing their rewards program, and just feeling unfriendly, they discourage people from browsing. Well, I was already irritated with the line in Hobby Lobby, so I put everything back (did I mention I really don't like Hobby Lobby, either?) and went to the car, where Jimmy told me he had bought my book. I had just been thinking how I didn't want to buy it from Borders and would get it on Amazon for cheaper, so we went back to Borders so Jimmy could return the book.

From now on, if I want to browse I'll go to Half Price Books or an independent bookseller (if I can find one...) and most purchases will come from Amazon (or anywhere but Borders). I'm sure I'll go back at some point out of necessity, but it will most certainly not be my first stop ever again.

4 comments:

Jeane said...

Wow, that is really sad. I used to like Borders a lot but don't live near one now so haven't been in a long time. I can't imagine a bookstore that would discourage book browsing! That is unthinkable! Especially when it sounds like there's plenty of open space, so he's not blocking an aisle?

Somer said...

Borders just launched a new website, and it's clear they're trying to build up more of an online business. I read a thread on LibraryThing a few months ago about changes occurring, but now I can't find it to link to. Borders is apparently trying out a model of offering. This Wikipedia article talks about Borders' new business model. Too bad...

Debi said...

Oh Somer, that totally sucks! We tend to live at, er, I mean, shop at, Barnes & Noble, but do occasionally hit Borders. Your post definitely makes me want to avoid them now though...how rude! Geez, the kids and I plop down on the floor at the bookstore every time we're there, always being careful not to be in anyone's way, of course. You can be sure if we were no longer allowed to do that, we'd never be seen again either.

N.Vasillis said...

That is so true. Nowadays in Borders, you really can't find a great inventory. Most of the time I have to go to an independent seller for a book I think Borders should have in stock.It no longer pays to go there.