Saturday, July 23, 2011

So Long, Borders

I'm sure everyone has heard by now that Borders is going to close every store and go completely out of business.
This makes me really sad.  I remember when the Borders opened up near me when I was a child, and I LOVED it there.  I could stay there all day and not even realize I'd been there that long.  My family and I referred to this as the "Borders Time Warp," since we'd go in and not even realize we'd been there for four hours.
Later on, Amazon and Barnes and Noble came along, and we used those, especially when I had a job at Barnes and Noble.
But Barnes and Noble is NOT Borders.  There is no such thing as a "Barnes and Noble Time Warp," because it isn't as much fun to go to Barnes and Noble.
Borders was great because of the atmosphere and the selection.  It was relaxed yet organized, and you could get books, music, and movies there.  And they almost ALWAYS had what you were looking for.
Over the past few years, the one thing that made me want to use Borders over any other bookstore was their Rewards program.  Now, both Barnes and Noble and Books-A-Million have rewards programs, but they can't compare to Borders Rewards.  With Borders Rewards, you could sign up for FREE and you got coupons every week for up to 40% off items in the store.  And for every hundred and fifty (or hundred, if you'd spent enough money there for an upgrade) dollars you spent, you got $5 in Borders Bucks to spend on anything in the store.  For $20, you could get the Rewards Plus which meant that on top of every other discount you got another 10% off, free shipping on the website for ANYTHING, even books bought from third parties!  Not even Amazon gives you free shipping from third parties unless they're fulfilled by Amazon.  Plus, you got a pack of coupons with the Rewards Plus and $10 in Borders Bucks.  I always managed to get spectacular deals at Borders.
The other bookstores' rewards program aren't as good.  You HAVE to pay for those and you only get 10% off.  That's it.
Another thing that made Borders a more enjoyable place to shop was the selection.  Remember the Wall Street Journal article about the woman who couldn't find a suitable book for her teenager?  Well, she went to Barnes and Noble, and their YA section leaves much to be desired.  Borders' YA section, however, was excellent.  I wonder if perhaps instead of going to B&N, the woman had gone to Borders, she would have found something for her daughter to read that was not "objectionable." I kinda think she would have.
A lot of times I feel kind of down and depressed, and a lot of times I know that if I go to Borders, it will help me feel better.  It's a nice place to browse and have a latte. And they usually had cool T-shirts.  I got a Hunger Games T-shirt there once.  The other stores didn't have those.
But now Borders is going away.  It feels like it's the end of an era to me.  The people at my local Borders loved me; a lot of times the cashiers had read the same books so we had good conversations.  I always had a good time at Borders and always left happier than when I came in.
I suspect that when I visit Borders over the closing weeks, I'll be a bit sadder when I leave the store.


  1. I'm glad you had such a great experience at Borders. I've been working at the Vancouver, WA store for 4 years and we just had our first day of liquidation yesterday. It was a mad house, and the liquidators don't want customer service employees on the floor helping guests find books; it's just point and move on. I understand this, since after we closed it would have take at least 4 hours of clean-up (with a crew of 5+) to get the store back into a presentable shape, but it saddens me to know that when you go into a Borders store at this point, it's really not Borders. Don't expect to be greeted by anything other than sadness in the air, and the 20+ min long wait-tine lines.

    I prefer to remember the good times. Uncountable connections to guest that then return for visit after visit, slowly turning into one large extended family. We will all miss it. I'm glad you made such lovely memories there.

  2. I drove past the local Borders yesterday and there was ridiculous traffic and the parking lot was packed. It's sad to see it go; not only was it MY Borders, but I know two authors who frequented the store when they were younger too.