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"
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 anything...in 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.
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.