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25 September 2011 @ 05:59 pm
Former Borders Employees Reveal Secret Book Store Gripes  

So, who was it? Fess up, ya can't get fired anymore for this.
(Anonymous) on September 26th, 2011 05:18 am (UTC)
Who was it?
It was all of us, of course!
teacup_carousel on September 26th, 2011 06:47 am (UTC)

Edited at 2011-09-26 06:48 am (UTC)
KanojoNoCarrera on September 26th, 2011 11:04 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
(Anonymous) on September 26th, 2011 07:28 pm (UTC)
reel yourself in...
Connecting millions of people with great literature, as we did for 40 years, is not a sham, but a miracle. Believe me, some of these people had very little prior reading experience or interest in books, and countless times we were like lighthouses for their lost ships, and we did it with a smile, no matter how shitty we felt on any given day.

The employees who wrote this list are in a minority of bitter, insecure people lashing out because they were afraid of being jobless. Though their reaction was immature, try having a heart and some compassion on this issue.

But now let me tell you about the majority of us: we endured decades of corporate lies, broken promises, measly pay, unlawful threats, shoddy technology, surprise layoffs, tyrannical GMs, and abusive customers (yes, believe it or not, there were abuses)... all because we believed that bookstores weren't simply retail, but an extension of our education system; we believed in the power that books could infuse a society with. That's not snobbery, is it? I'd say it's good old fashioned idealism.

Your bitter self-righteous tirade, with its ridiculous assumptions and hidden cynicism, is anti-constructivist in nature and I suspect it's merely a means of venting about your own one bad experience with Borders. Retail IS simply a service industry, yes, but define service.

The majority of us offered customers excellent service, but there were customers who abused people with impunity, for many reasons: maybe they'd lost family members, maybe they were used to getting their way all the time in life, maybe they were desperately lonely, maybe they liked picking fights to prove to themselves they were still vital in the world, maybe they were just psychopathic. Whatever the reason, it's no excuse for abusing workers using the 'customer is always right' slogan.

I think you need to reel yourself in and re-evaluate your statements, weed out the falsehoods from the truths. We loved most of our customers and we're sad for losing those relationships. Try being compassionate for those workers who wrote that list; if you were in their place, maybe you'd react the same way.
(Anonymous) on September 26th, 2011 04:33 pm (UTC)
Former Borders Person
Some of those complaints are lame: to some people, Nicholas Sparks is an author and he's laughing all the way to the bank after selling all those books he’s written, thank you. When someone said they were looking for a book, if they came up to a bookseller, of course it meant they needed help. If someone had a quick question, it meant you had the opportunity to interact with a customer and HELP them. We were there first and foremost to help people. If you didn't like helping people then why did you go into sales?

A moot point now since no one is selling anything for Borders anymore.
(Anonymous) on September 26th, 2011 07:41 pm (UTC)
Re: Former Borders Person
I agree emphatically. I can understand the concept of blowing off steam, but this is not the mature way to go about it. If you have to vent, go into your receiving area and kick some empty boxes or something. Don't display this kind of snarky passive-aggressive manifesto for everyone to see. That's just not right. The customers make or break the business, and they deserve a level of respect that this list doesn't offer. Being in liquidation is no excuse to turn your back on humanity and all your principles.
(Anonymous) on September 26th, 2011 06:14 pm (UTC)
Devoid of wit, depth, or anything beyond testy whining.
What, this person worked in the store for a year maybe?
Anyone with any real experience could have written a list with actual substance and maybe a trace of humor.
(Anonymous) on September 26th, 2011 07:44 pm (UTC)
Re: Feh.
So we're testy. We lost our fucking livelihoods, asshole. Humor is a coping strategy. And whining? You're probably one of those spoiled me me me customers who whined when he didn't get his way all the time! Fucking die.
(Anonymous) on September 26th, 2011 11:56 pm (UTC)
Re: Feh.
Heh. I'm to die, am I? Bet I worked for BGI longer than you've been alive. That list wasn't funny. At all. A real employee would have been more venomous, trenchant and funny. And not so whiney.
Hope you find work real soon.
(Anonymous) on September 27th, 2011 02:18 am (UTC)
Re: Feh.
Who gives a flying fuck how long you worked for BGI? The stupidest people worked there the longest, so congratulations on that! The posters got away with whatever they could with that manifesto - any more venom would have spelled trouble for them. Oh, and I have a job already, pays more than Borders in every possible way. Have a great life, loser.
(Anonymous) on September 27th, 2011 02:46 am (UTC)
Re: Feh.
I see. More venom might have got them in trouble. Can't have that. Guess they calculated the venom level just right, huh?
More wit? Imagination? Maturity? Well, any of those might have made it more readable or memorable, but that's a wash anyway.
I'm delighted your life is working out so well and that you seem so well adjusted.
(Anonymous) on September 27th, 2011 02:58 am (UTC)
Re: Feh.
who cares how much wit or imagination it had? It was honest. It was pure CATHARSIS, not a Pulitzer-prize winning work of art, dingbat. are you really that dull?
(Anonymous) on September 27th, 2011 11:15 am (UTC)
Re: Feh.
It was shallow, weak, and fell far short of depicting any portion of the discomfort long-time clerks felt about their jobs and how they were treated.
It's not worth discussing any further, honestly. Like a page from a middle-schooler's diary.
You, on the other hand, are so compelling in it's defence that I could talk with you for hours. Did you write it?
(Anonymous) on September 27th, 2011 08:53 pm (UTC)
Re: Feh.
you are so dense. It wasn't written FOR AN AUDIENCE, IT WAS WRITTEN FOR THEMSELVES, TO MAKE THEMSELVES FEEL BETTER. And simply because they weren't very good writers and articulators, maybe what they felt within was so much more powerful than they could put into words. Just let the issue go, man. You're pseudo-intellectual drivel is falling on deaf ears.
blackblocpapers on September 26th, 2011 10:51 pm (UTC)
People don't get what sets service people off.

Waitrons have a whole set of pet peeves - I can post examples if you're interested.

Booksellers have their own things that set them off, and people outside the biz don't get them.

I get outsiders "not getting it", but I've spent many a boozy night commiserating with my Fellow Workers about the folks who want Nicholas Sparks, The Secret (god, what a pain in the ass that whole book/DVD/phenom was), Can-dyed, Fahrenheit Make-up-a-number, anything involving the ancient Greeks, let alone non-booky things like bathroom behavior... I won't go on.

Repeat any question enough, and it becomes dumb. Repeat any behavior enough, it becomes annoying. You, your own special self, are not pissing us off; in aggregate - STFU already.

So, that's my take on the disgruntled bookseller thing. Let us vent, and keep asking those questions! They keep us in business, after all -- oh, wait a sec.
booksatborders on September 27th, 2011 12:28 am (UTC)
Don't take things too seriously
I think some people take comments about what I'd call the "guirks" of come customers too seriously. In the course of any job you notice things that are just unique, peculiar, funny, weird, etc. Noticing such things doesn't mean you have some sort bad attitude about customers.
bookboss83 on September 27th, 2011 06:57 pm (UTC)
802 in Mansfield, MA
According to Borders Class of 2011 and Before, the list came from 802 in Mansfield, MA.
(Anonymous) on September 27th, 2011 08:51 pm (UTC)
The statements on this sign paint an incomplete picture, and portray booksellers as somewhat judgmental, but many of them are also true. If I had written this, it would be pages longer. Instead of focusing on the customers' intellects (or lack of,) it would have been mostly about their poor treatment of booksellers. And before anyone accuses me of being a short-timer, I loved my job at Borders for more than a decade.
(Anonymous) on September 28th, 2011 05:59 am (UTC)
...we weren't a library?
KanojoNoCarrera on September 29th, 2011 04:38 am (UTC)
Figuratively or actually?
(Anonymous) on September 30th, 2011 05:46 am (UTC)
Considering we had regulars who would buy one hardcover in early January, read it and then bring it back to exchange it for another...continuously rinse and repeating this throughout the year, then maybe have the chain ending in December because they need a Christmas present for somebody...yea, I thought we were a lending library. :P

(Anonymous) on September 28th, 2011 04:02 pm (UTC)
about the "Manifesto"
Christ, I wrote the damn thing, along with two accomplices. I was a keyholder at the Mansfield MA store and this was simply a crude exorcism of our demons, not a fucking manifesto. It was written by us, for us, but it was never meant to be displayed on the sales floor. It was taken out of our breakroom by someone who wanted to sabotage us and get us fired so he could take our hours, simple as that. And he did both, the piece of shit.
blackblocpapers on September 28th, 2011 09:50 pm (UTC)
Re: about the "Manifesto"
Tell us more, if you feel like it. At this point, no one's going to get in trouble ....
(Anonymous) on September 30th, 2011 02:59 am (UTC)
Re: about the "Manifesto"
My lawyer advised me not to say anything to anyone who's not him, especially former coworkers, but otherwise I would.
(Anonymous) on October 3rd, 2011 11:50 am (UTC)
Re: about the "Manifesto"
seems a little less than i would have expected from the team i left at 802. wish you all well
(Anonymous) on October 4th, 2011 07:49 pm (UTC)
Re: about the "Manifesto"
what do you mean by that?
(Anonymous) on October 4th, 2011 11:30 pm (UTC)
Re: about the "Manifesto"
the team i remember was a little more sharp and less generic than this list would indicate. Seems like it was sanitized from what they would have written
nocturne_121 on September 30th, 2011 10:02 pm (UTC)
The list made its way onto BoingBoing, and the discussion thread currently has 177 comments.