Monday, July 25, 2011

Day 6

7am was brutal. Truth be told it was more like 7:08 am, back in the day I would have gotten half an occurrence. I just can't be bothered to care about promptness that early on a Sunday to fix the damage the book weevils did to my store over the weekend. So 7:08 it was, and they were damned lucky to have me. For the next four hours I imagine borders as a sort of massive scale model of an atom with bookseller particles bumping seemingly at random around the store faster and faster as our state of matter changed from closed to open. By the time we were opening it looked like a store again...sort of. I was impressed at what we were able to get done in a short amount of time.

Then there was puke, twice. And electrical outages...many times. And rebooting all of the cash registers twice after every outage. I think i rebooted a register 24 times all together. There were hordes of people walking around saying "well they raised the prices to do this discount" and "10 percent isn't even worth coming out " and i heard "no wonder they are going out of business" many more times than one should have to hear. I closed off the bathroom to the public with some caution tape and a lovely sign so naturally at one point a young woman approached me (thanks to clever deflection from a bookseller, which he will pay for!) "please it's an emergency I just got my period" Okay Okay...emergency is enough. I don't care what manner. I'm not particularly skeeved by period talk, but my goodness what kind of life have you had the misfortune of living where simply saying "it's an emergency" and "bathroom" in the same sentence wasn't enough to get you permission?

Then there was the announcement from our liquidator, the Viper.

"Uh, good after noon, uh borders shoppuhs uhhhhh we want to thank you for coming out today and there are some great blah blah blah blah blahdey blah blah yackety shmackety, etceterah etceterah".


"We Just want to thank you all for being loyal customers over the years and continuing to support us as we close our doors"

Record scratch.

Crickets chirping.



A.) when did you become part of we, Mr liquidator? Oh right, never. You're a separate entity and if you want to maintain any kind of pleasant relationship with these folks you will be aware of that every damn second of every damn day. Southern "charm" works great in the south I'm sure....not so much in Jersey.

2.) The vast majority of these liquidation lemmings haven't been loyal! Hell they haven't even been customers before. I don't want to thank them for fact i want to step on their pinky toe for leaving piles of books scattered like cairns on a hiking trail. My skin jumped off my body when you tried to give these people the warm fuzzies for this.

Apple.) Who the hell are you to appropriate our feelings? How dare you. How dare you thank these people on our behalf how dare you offer up any sense of loss about this business and pretend like you think it's demise is anything more than a sweet pay check for you.

Oh right... you guys own the place, you can dare to do whatever the hell you want. My bad.

So all of this...there was all of this...but then there was Sunday night.

Hell Yeah.

My GM was wearing a cow boy hat, thats how i knew it was going to be a good night. There were probably 20 or more of us past, present, and occasional employees of borders taking over the western end of a country bar down the street from our store. Nascar on every screen saddles everywhere. We tried, by we i mean myself, some friends, and Mr. Jameson to get our gm up into one of those saddles but it never happened. Most of the people who had worked that day were there, plus a lot more. We were all drinking and laughing and just enjoying being around each other. Also i was sneaking fried food off peoples plates when they were distracted by shenanigans. Full disclosure: I was also kind of drunk so I probably wasn't anywhere near as stealthy as I think I might have been.

At one point I grabbed an uninhabited corner of the bar, Chris, the bartender, gave me another beer, and I just took a second and looked and watched . These magnificent people, who have plenty of reason to be angry and sad, Laughed, and flirted, and squeezed nipples (you know who you are) and told stories and had genuine moments with each other. There was never a time in all of that where the thought of closing disappeared,much the contrary, but we were laughing in the face of oncoming doom. That is what keeps us, us. Thats what made Borders. And you can't liquidate that.

Dare you to try.


  1. Damn right you can't liquidate our spirit - the one that brought us to Borders, the one that tried despite (or in spite of) the obstacles to help Borders return to what it once was. Where ever my co-workers go after this, those places will be damn lucky to have you!

    It all goes back to your first post. It really is about people. Such a shame certain folks in the company -and in society at large- forgot about that fact.

  2. That was a great evening. We definitely need to do more of these as the liquidation rolls on, with some sort of giant one at the very end.

  3. I work at Borders in PA. I watched people on the first day move furniture so they could read instead of buy. A few got upset when I walked over to them and said that they are the type of person who can be partially blamed for what has happened to us. I wasn't even on the clock yet. Just buy your damn magazine/book and go home and read it. What were they going to do, complain about my attitude? I wasn't going to have a job in a few weeks anyways. And you are right about the spirit of the employees. Those of us who have been there for some time are sticking together, supporting each other, and snarking to the liquidator asshat who thinks he is part of our team.

  4. Very apt as usual Cory. @Betty - we've taken to writing snarky comments on our lanyards. And taking all of the furniture of the floors was amazing. I watched one man with a laptop walk all around the store today looking for a place to sit.

  5. I worked at 281 for 3 years and just left in December. This last week, I keep thinking thinking thinking of my peeps still there with an ache in my heart. I have been in touch with some and started a Facebook group for our store past and present, but I think it is your blog which is giving me insight into what those who remain are going through.

    As we Borders folk always knew and you are admirably demonstrating, words are - will be - our saving grace. Many blessings to you for writing this blog: I am adding you to the list of people about whom I am thinking thinking thinking.

  6. Hi, I found your link on my mom's facebook page (Barbara Shirley) annnnnd I'm nosy and a total momma's girl so I stalked it. Love your blog, and it's good to hear that the crazy assholes that shop there aren't just singling out my mommy, so thanks! =)

  7. A friend sent me the link to your blog, which I have read with great interest. We will miss the Borders in Concord, NH a great deal. I might not have been a 'regular' and I might not have spent a ton of money, but it was 'my' bookstore in a way, the one I went to and bought what books I could afford, the one I bought gift cards for the teachers at, etc. I always appreciated how helpful the folks that work there are, and I am sorry that you are losing your jobs. Good luck to you all.

  8. So far our liquidator guy seems nice. Doesn't get too involved (no PA announcements!) and gets along with us. I've worked w/annoying liquidators in the past.

    We've been having theme days at our store. The past couple of days were silly hat days. We are trying to make the most of it and the time we have left together.