Lyt posted on: August 29, 2009
As someone who has worked in various bookstores (privately owned, independent and large corporate), this was pretty spot on. I've always found Borders to be the worst of all bookstore options.
I would disagree with your complaint in point 7, though. It would be an absolutely terrible idea for a store to page over the intercom a lost item. A) Most customers ignore the overhead pages (in my quite vast experience), and B) You're opening yourself up to someone falsely claiming the lost item. When customers lose something (and it happens quite frequently; you'd be hearing pages every 10 minutes), you really can't expect a store to track them down. Working in a small store, we make the effort of answering a lost cellphone when it rings, but other than that, there's really no practical way for a store to track customers down for non-emergency reasons.
Otherwise, spot on post.
Anjar posted on: September 27, 2009
I too am a Borders employee. I have to agree with the above post completely in that many of us are happy to have a job during the recession, but miserable working for the company we do. Combining a mandated salary freeze, position freeze and a total disregard from the corporate office for its employees, it's no suprise that morale in the company is at rock bottom. You have to understand that as an employee, it is disheartening to know that no matter how hard you work, or how little you care, you are treated equally by the corporate office. Borders is "owned" by investment group, Pershing Square. The current corporate direction appears geared to short term gain, not long term profitability. Thats why there are so many sales and coupons out there I believe. Liquidate the product to return the investment. It is sad to see a once great bookstore turn into what this is today. Enjoy the holiday sales, but please have a heart for us employees who can't afford a Christmas.
Jen posted on: October 21, 2009
As a former employee, I will agree that I have seen your points in action. If I may, many of them stem not from the stores, but from Ron Marshall's systemic stripping of Borders of what was once its most valuable asset: trained, enthusiastic booksellers, all to try to earn back a few pennies on the dollar for Pershing Square.
In general, most of your points can boil down to the fact that stores are dramatically understaffed, and management equally overworked. With no more than 3 staff working at any time in most stores, there are no people to organize shelves, return lost property, train on internal systems, or be visible to help you find something.
I would bet you any money that the manager who closed the store in point 7, in the past week, has worked 6 days at 12 hours/day. In that same week, he has received three threatening emails from his district manager and has been screamed at by 15 customers.
It doesn't excuse rudeness, but it makes it a bit more understandable.
Tom posted on: October 29, 2009
I came to Borders in 2006 with nearly a decade of bookstore experience, worked there for almost two years, and was laid off in the spring of 2008 as part of a swift downsizing of in-store leadership. This was when George Jones was running the ship, and many of the problems we see here - messy stores, pissed-off (or non-existent) employees, subpar computer systems, too many freaking coupons, and EVERYTHING riding on Borders Rewards - were problems well before Marshall came on. Maybe it's gotten a whole lot worse since then; I don't know, because I haven't set foot in a Borders since I lost my job.
Last fall, I was between moves and an old manager at Barnes & Noble graciously took me on as a bookseller for a couple months. The differences between B&N and Borders couldn't have been clearer. B&N has never had the short-staffing issues, the shelves were well-stocked, and the employees just seemed happier. I'm sure B&N isn't perfect, but at least the culture isn't cancerous.
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