****I first started working there at the end of June 2000. As a lover of books, of movies and of music this was probably the closest thing I had ever come to a "dream job". I had been shopping at the store since it first opened in the early 90's. Why? Because it stocked everything under the sun and I could always walk in looking for something obscure and usually find it. Several years later, a Barnes & Nobles store opened literally around the corner and I naturally went in to see what it was like. After a couple tries, I decided I didn't like it and returned to Borders. Why? Because B&N seemed to only stock the most mainstream items: NY Times Best Seller List and Top 40 music. Whereas I could walk in off the street and pick up a "His Name Is Alive" cd right off the Borders shelf on my way to work, everything I was looking for B&N never seemed to have. They could order it for me. The shopper does NOT want to hear those words. Ever. They want to walk in and walk out of the store with the desired item in their hot little hands. B&N was uptight, starchy and corporate; Borders was laid back, eclectic and stocked to the rafters with almost anything anyone could look for. After I began working at Borders, it remained the same for a few years until they suddenly started emptying the shelves. I do not exaggerate when I say that over half of the entire store product was suddenly gone; we were carting out umpteen empty bookshelves. Where once had been saleable product now there was carpet. I was actually walking through the store with the GM who was raving about how nice and spacious the store was now with plenty of room to move around. Yes, I said, but you can't sell "space to move around" . . . you sell books and cds and dvds. What's the point of having a store with no product in it to sell?
****And this is the REAL reason why my former Borders store is now closed. Sure, the internet has put a severe dent in things. So has itunes and amazon and kindle and any other work of the devil. However, when given the choice of desiring a dvd and having it in my hot little hand this very hour or waiting for amazon to mail it to me, I would chose the former. Why would ANYONE want to get in their car and drive across town to a store that didn't have any product in it other than "The DaVinci Code", "Who Moved My Cheese" and Rod Stewarts' latest "American Songbook" cd. At one point, I seriously went over to the Beatles section and it didn't have "Sgt. Pepper". What kind of store is that? A store that's heading towards oblivion. And yesterday it final reached it. During all this time, Barnes * Noble started heading the other direction; while Borders was getting more mainstream, boring and corporate, B&N was getting less so and stocked more eclectic material. Sure, they are hurting to but you will notice that the B&N store around the corner from my old Borders is STILL open for business -- DESPITE the horrendous road construction which has been going on for a couple years now. This should tell us all something.
****The reason I left . . . the reason we ALL left the "Hellmouth" . . . is because they had turned a very pleasant, efficient and money-making store into a very unpleasant, hostile and empty store. On many occasions, I would drive from Borders to B&N -- any day of the week and any different time of day or night -- and I would leave a Borders deserted of customers (literally 3 in the building) and walk in a Barnes & Nobles packed with patrons. They were probably a quarter mile apart, folks. This should tell you something. It told ME something . . . and that's why I left. That's why we ALL left. The Borders we all knew died years ago; the company just didn't know to bury it until yesterday. Am I sad that I didn't go in for one last look around? I don't think so. I think it would've been too upsetting and I've got enough upset and pain in my life right now. I don't need any more. I don't need to be reminded of what a horror my current job is and what a truly rewarding and fulfilling place to work Borders had once been in my life. I echo the sentiments of Star and Epiphany concerning the friendship that were made there once upon a time. The place is gone but the people are still around. I miss seeing them and we do need to fight against fading from one another's life. I work during the night while everyone else is asleep and I sleep while you all are awake. This has meant that in the last year and a half I have had basically no existence at all and lately I have honestly felt, for the first time ever, that all that time has been completely wasted. I say this not for any pity party but to express how much I truly miss seeing all my friends due to this soul-destroying job which separates me from everyone that means so much to me. There's nothing I can do about that now but hopefully one day that will change and I will be able to see you all once again. I just wanted you all to know that I still think about you and it hurts me not to have seen you all for such a long time. Don't ever think that means I've forgotten you or you mean nothing to me. Nothing could EVER be further from the truth.
"Sunset at Borders" photo provided by Star*