We made a trip across town to our Borders this morning, not quite sure what we'd find. Ours is one of the 200 stores slated to close by April (if not earlier). As we drove up, there was little indication that anything was different. There were no big red or yellow Store Closing / Clearance signs in the windows, only two small notices printed out on an inkjet. One stating that the Cafe was now closed & apologized for the inconvenience, the other stating that no checks, refunds, or returns would be accepted.
Sure enough, when we walked in, the cafe was taped off, the chairs and tables all stacked and shoved against the wall. The counters and cases cleared out & the lights turned off. No lingering about, & no more abstract notions of closing - Reality sunk in, the store is actually closing. These people, few of whom did I actually recognize, will actually be out of jobs. It seems, perhaps, many already are. And soon enough the store itself will be an empty shell, like the remainder of the the storefronts in this little shopping center.
There were lots of people shopping, taking advantage of 20% off sales (admittedly, it's a little hard to enjoy the savings when you're still getting 30-50% off coupons in your email). Still, a lot of people were spending a lot of money and leaving with bags full of books.
The store still seemed to have plenty of stock, although the overflow shelves (above the normal shelves) were all emptied. There were lots of copies of pre-Oprah-stickered Freedom by Jonathan Franzen - so many, that I think I'll wait for the next round of price cuts before I attempt to purchase a copy. Of course there were few to no books on the shelves that had been released in the last month (possibly two). So no Mr. Chartwell or Swamplandia!
For the most part, it looked like a lot of paperbacks, games, and CDs were leaving the store today. I didn't see anyone bogged down with an abundance of hardbacks. Certainly no one carrying out tables or chairs.
All of the fixtures, tables, chairs, shelves, etc. remained in tact, and the only empty area of the store was the cafe, which is somewhat ironic, since it was always the cafe that was crowded, and the stacks that were empty.
Labels: Borders, Liquidation, notes