Booksellers Unite!

I don’t know about you, but I sometimes have a very hard time listening to people talk about things I love or seeing things I love look disgraceful. You’ll see me sometime twitching when I hear people talk about movies or books sometimes (maybe even art too). Having said that, I also have a hard time listening to people complain about things that are rather obvious when it comes to the jobs they select for themselves. I mean you don’t expect a trash man to be shocked that they will be around smelly trash, or a grave digger might actually get dirty doing his/her job.

Where is this going? Yesterday I was in Borders with my step-daughter, Gabrielle, she was spending some of her stash of gift cards. I need to preference this shopping trip with I don’t like Borders. I don’t like how their stores are organized (I should say lack thereof) and their Children’s departments are a nightmare for finding anything a parent is looking for. I would rather be in a Barnes & Noble or Waterstones (but of course I’m not in Europe – Oh how I miss Waterstones Booksellers) anytime. Also I would be happier also in an independent books store, where you can always find someone to help you with what you are looking for.

Okay – so Gabrielle starts looking in their Independent Reader section for a few things I went into the children’s department to find a book for each Lex and Loki. At Barnes & Noble, where I once worked I spent the majority of my time in this department. I love the kids department, I loved making recommendations, helping lost parents and grandparents or even introducing a child to a new and exciting book. I’m guessing the “Booksellers” at the Mansfield Crossing Borders don’t feel the same way (at least in the children’s department on Thursday afternoon at 2:30PM). I was browsing the shelves and I hear a Bookseller say to another Bookseller, “Since when are we personal shoppers?” Excuse me? What did  you say? Since when are you a personal shoppers? Oh- since you punched the clock sweetheart! Honestly what do you think you are? Unless I am completely mistaken (and if you feel this way please let me know) if you are a bookseller, you sell books and therefore you will be asked for recommendation, help finding a book and oh I don’t know (most importantly if you work in the children’s department) if the books is age appropriated for a child.

This interaction between booksellers completely floored me. I pulled out my cell phone and called Mad Dog right away. I explained where I was, I then ask if in the time we were at Barnes & Noble, (or any of his other many book related jobs) did he ever think of himself as a personal shopper. He laughed at my questions. Of course he did – that is what you are when you work at a bookstore. I relayed what I had just overheard. “WOW!” was all he could respond.

Being a parent and also being someone who has worked in a bookstore, I had no real issue assisting Gabrielle in finding her books, though again the layout of the store was annoying (absolutely no thought to where stuff is. By the standards at Barnes that we were use to in Enfield, this store would have been laughed at.). But if I were any other shopper, parent in the children’s department and I heard that I:

A) Wouldn’t dare ask a question.
and
B) Probably would leave without what I was looking for. 

Isn’t the bookstore industry having enough issue, with out alienating their customers? I know we all have rough days, if you do go stock a shelf, clean a section, but really don’t discourage customers from shopping, asking for help and giving the gift of reading, because you’re having a bad day.

Since this is such a negative post, I have to end it on some kind of positive note. Thank you for all the Booksellers of the world (Borders Booksellers included) who assist and recommend great books to shoppers. Thank you to the Enfield Barnes & Noble Staff (2132) of 2006 and 2007 they did all that and more, it was a pleasure working with great booksellers, wonderful people and a great group of friends (far too many to name). Thank you to the fabulous team at Books on the Nightstand , Michael and Ann your continued work and dedication to this project is a wonderful addition to the book community. The podcasts are a wealth of information, recommendation and a pleasure to listen to. To my husband Mad Dog, my second BookBoy (after Michael Kindness who was the original BookBoy in my life) who keeps me in a wealth of audio books from the library, made me get my library card and picks up my reserves each time he goes. He has recommended a bounty of books over our time together and though I sometimes ignore them and later find out he is right, I love that he keeps trying and keeps me reading.

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~ by Cute Fan Girl on December 31, 2010.

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