OK. It’s happened. My favorite “hang out” place is going away… Borders is closing its doors! This is bad, bad, bad news. I became a Borders addict way back in 1993 when I was in Scottsdale, AZ at a sales conference, and my husband & I happened upon a “Grand Opening” of this curious, but trendy-looking bookstore. Since we love books and can rarely resist a bookstore, we went in and were instantly charmed. The decor, the wonderful selection of books, magazines, music, movies, and… THE COFFEE SHOP! What a concept. We sure wished we could find a similar retail experience back home when we returned. As luck would have it, we did.
There was indeed a Borders Books & Music store in Tacoma, where we lived at the time. Predictably, it became our favorite place to hang. We would spend hours browsing, reading, having coffee, talking, and of course, shopping! We became regulars to the point of not needing to place orders at the coffee shop. The baristas would invariably have our selections ready and waiting for us the minute we walked in. What a pleasure! What an oasis for the soul! Soft music in the background, sometimes jazz, sometimes classical, live music on Friday evenings, book signings from time to time, and the sales! The bargain section–frugalistas that we are–always a favorite.
One day, we were faced with a move across the country, to Georgia. It was a relocation for me with the company I worked for at the time. As crazy as this may sound, one of the “deal breakers” for this move was whether or not there would be a Borders Bookstore near us. Fortunately, there was. So we moved.
I loved Borders so much, that I ended up working for them as a part-timer (in addition to my full-time job), just for the sheer pleasure of becoming immersed in its culture, the books, etc. After a while, I decided I didn’t have the energy to hold down two jobs, besides the fact that I didn’t really need the money (which truth be told, it wasn’t that much anyway, and it mostly financed my book habit plus gas), so I went on a “contingency status,” which means I was called when needed. This worked out fine, because I still was part of the company, plus I could still enjoy the employee discounts, the first stab at the promo items, etc. Thanks to this, I was able to build quite a neat little music library with all the promo CDs I was able to get, FOR FREE! Same for books. We got publishers’ proofs, BEFORE titles went on the market, so that was cool too.
But eventually, they stopped calling me… Alas, that should have been my first inkling that things were slowing down. But who would’ve thunk it? How could such a great company, one that had almost become an institution among the book-loving contemporary “cafe society” folks go down like this?
And now it’s all over. We will miss you, Borders. You leave us quite bereft and ungrounded. Because Barnes & Noble is not an adequate substitute. But that’s just my opinion.