November 11, 2009
Dear Borders Books
Chose snap of cute baby Yak to illustrate my small rant (get it, yak?) - at a bookstore with my son this afternoon, in the children's room to hunt down a picture book. The children's area looks like a bomb hit it, books - the great big expensive kind - flung all over the floor, one woman sitting there with her kids had big drinks for them all (because we all know the place to serve your children hot chocolate is not in the cafe but among the new books), her son had opened up (OPENED UP!) a magician kit and was playing with it (I am talking removed the plastic, tore it open, removed the pieces, and he was around 8 - well old enough to know better), her daughter was having a gimme-gimme tantrum on the floor kicking up books - a girl around four, her mom was doing the "work it out yourself" school of parenting called non-responsible ignoring, and I couldn't even get through their mess to look for a Jane Yolen book I wanted. The girl kicks a Dragonology book at me in her whiny rage and my inner librarian kicked in and began picking up the books and stacking them as the mother stares at me in disbelief. Her son had the grace to look guilty and try to sneak everything back in the ripped box, the woman makes a remark about other people making this mess and I smiled and suggested her daughter cease kicking books that cost about twenty dollars a piece and possibly help me pick up the books from the floor. Which she made a vague gesture at - she picked up two without getting up. I am surprised she didn't call me names. Mind you, this store is in a very expensive area of New York and this behavior is not uncommon whatsoever. Mentioning that the children's area was trashed to some clerks and how I could never work there because I would surely get fired getting mad at bad behavior. One told me how she has to write a letter of apology - with a gift certificate (!) to a very rude customer who wanted her to wrap gifts FROM ANOTHER STORE along with her purchased books and when she objected, the rude customer got management. Is this what we are coming to in this economy - shop owners so afraid of losing money that they put up with rude twits and force their staff to suffer indignities? Dear Borders, I buy an absurd amount of books, cards, and miscellany from your stores and I do not appreciate having to watch you tolerate rude people who destroy items. This is not the first time. News flash: these people are NOT BUYING - they are spilling, ripping, trodding upon, wrecking items but NOT BUYING. I am buying. And I would like you to allow your staff to tell people they are not allowed to ruin merchandise unless they are going to pay for it, treat stores like free-for-alls with their children, and punish staff and humiliate them for being appropriately appalled. I think all true bookstore lovers - and we are the buyers - would agree. And with the holidays coming up - all shop and store owners of all merchandise - same message. And please, everyone, let's play nicely out there in this big lovely world. Thank you. Rant over and out.