So there I am, second week in a row, looking to buy a book at Barnes & Nobel. There are two on my way home from work, and I have stopped at the new one in Brighton.
Last week I go in with a list of 12 books to buy for work. All are on popular list’s, all are highly recommended by reviewers, and they are all between six and nine months old.
When I enter no one greets me, looks in my direction, or stops the busy work at hand. I go to the central desk where there are three computers, a few phones, and no one to assist me. I stand. I look. I stare into the void of my soul. After a moment or two pass, no one comes over to help me. So I step over to the computer with my list to see if I can find anything on my list. A woman appears with the snotty “can I help you?”
“Yes please, I have a list of books I need to buy tonight.”
She acts as if I am interrupting her. Which, I may well be, but they shouldn’t open the doors if they don’t want customers.
After struggling with the computer, a few names, my poor handwriting, we find three of the 12 books. The rest she has never heard of and they do not have in the store. “I can order them,” she offers. To which I say, “I can do that online, thanks.”
This week I give the store another chance. There is one book that I have wanted for a month, the author has been on the radio and television circuit promoting, and the spending chip in my head is pushing me to buy.
I enter the store unapproached and unwelcome once again. I stand at the counter and say “HELLO!” several times before a nasty old woman comes to help. The phone is ringing and she answers that rather than help me. The caller is placed on hold (she cups her hand over the phone) and yells for a co-worker. The co-worker gets to me and looks up the author. They do not have the title. But, she can order it for me…
“Are there other stores in the area that might have the book?” I ask politely.
She types, and then says, “Ann Arbor has two copies.”
I reconfirm which store in Ann Arbor she is talking about and walk out the door.
Thirty minutes later I walk in a busy Ann Arbor store that is a larger and older Barns & Nobel than the first. No one is at the “help desk.” Again I call “hellooo” and some lady shows up.
“I was at the Brighton store looking for this book, she said you have two copies here.”
New sourpuss types in her computer and says, “No, we don’t have that book.”
“No. She didn’t call here, the Brighton store should have called here to confirm. I can order that title for you.”
“Ya know, I can order that book online too, but instead I drove 30 minutes south, do you think I want you to order it for me?”
“No, no I don’t. But I’ll tell you this, I am not coming back to Barnes & Nobel. I can order things online myself.” After four steps I turned back “Oh, by the way, YOU SUCK as a book store.”