I love Barnes and Noble. I know, they’re a chain, but our local bookstore options are pretty limited. We have one minuscule indie that, I’m sorry to say, is a sad excuse for a bookstore, and another chain (more on them in a minute).
Our B&N is a beautiful store, right in the heart of downtown San Luis Obispo. It’s a great place for browsing (although the chairs have recently disappeared) and the staff is kind and helpful. Also, it’s the only building in SLO with an escalator (but only one…you can escalator up, but you must walk down), so there’s the added entertainment of watching kids try to run down the up escalator, followed by an employee booming out “No playing on the escalator. It is NOT a toy.” This cracks me up every time.
However, because the B&N is downtown, there’s no such thing as a quick stop by the bookstore. Parking is an issue, and whether it’s one of the rare street spots or in the parking garage, you have to pay.
So I frequently stop by the other chain in town, Borders, located in big box store land. It is not as beautiful, nor as well-stocked or well-employed as B&N. Walking into B&N is like hearing angels sing. Walking into Borders is like walking into an out-of-control daycare. For some reason, children like to have screaming tantrumey meltdowns in the store on a regular basis. And the employees are either very helpful, or very clueless. So the chance of a good Borders experience is a total crap shoot. They also seem to rearrange every other month, so I can never find anything outside of the fiction section. However, they have free parking and they give good coupons, so I keep returning.
And that brings me to the point of this whole love-fest/rant. OMG, Borders, stop sending me emails every other minute!!!! You are seriously pissing me off. Also, the recommendations thing creeps me out, because why are you tracking my purchases?? And stop bugging me about the new Rewards program! Yesterday’s Oprah email (buy the book now!) was the last straw…I swear, Borders has no shame. I’ll admit I don’t want to be removed from the mailing list, because those 33% coupons are too good to turn down, but I did set up a filter so that all of my Borders emails now get dumped into a folder, where I can conveniently ignore them until I want a coupon.
The bad part of me wishes they would just go out of business and take their tempting 33% coupons with them, and that some risk taker would open up a really cool indie store in its place. If that happened, I would even forsake the place where angels sing.