Tuesday, October 25, 2016

When the Mothership Betrays You...

Yes, I'm talking about you…

 Image result for barnes & noble

I have often referred to Barnes & Noble Booksellers as the mothership, the fact being that inside that bookstore there are books that will take you out of this world. I mean, has anyone else read Geek Love by Katherine Dunn, or The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams; I can go on and on here with names of books that transport the reader to another time and place. So that is why I labeled B&N with this highest honor- the mothership.

I have been a Barnes & Noble member for years. I recall when it was located on Shaw and Blackstone, with a beautiful staircase leading to the café. I spent countless hours sitting on the floor of that bookstore reading books, skimming others and buying many. Try sitting and reading a book now at the B&N at RiverPark for over ten minutes, you will quickly be reminded that you must purchase the book and “please don’t take pictures of it”.

Since I have been a member, my membership benefits have included 10% off any item in the store and countless coupons some 40% , 30% or 20% off sent to me via email. I would go up to the cashier books in hand and pull up my email code through my Google account and voila, I’d receive most books discounted with all my member benefits. I have never gone into B&N and not spent less than $80.00, ever, ever, my bill always topples that.

On occasion when I have forgotten my discount coupon, I have been reminded by the cashier that I had one available and she would quickly grab a code, whether or not I provided it via my phone and ring me up.

So, last Friday on my lunch hour, I find out that the amazing and talented writer, Dave Eggers, quietly released a new book, Heroes of the Frontier. I head over to B&N immediately and purchase that book as well as a children’s book for my youngest son and a writing journal. When I reach the cashier, I say, wait I have a coupon 20% on all new releases, which Eggers’s novel was. She stares at me with her sour, make-up less face and says I need the code. I proceed to open my email, but am unable to due to B&N and Starbucks Wi-Fi being an insecure network and my phone which has been hacked into before form an insecure Starbucks network (who knew this actually happened, but it does) and now my phone has extra security, I was unable to bypass the warning and therefore could not log-on to procure my 20% off B&N code.
Image result for heroes of the frontierImage result for the circleThe lady with her blotchy face was rude and would not do what so many other B&N cashiers would do which is grab a code by placing my email address in, etc. Instead she refused to give me the discount, which would have saved me little considering the book was valued at $29.00. I have no problem paying that much for an Eggers book. He is a genius and one of my favorite contemporary writers. It was the rude behavior and nonchalant way in which I was treated that made me walk out of there bookless.

That afternoon, I ordered Heroes of the Frontier and The Circle and Black Seed Oil (health supplements) from Amazon for less than $30 for all three.

Bookstores are disappearing at an all-time rate. I am a loyal customer. In Fresno alone, B&N is the only huge, major bookseller. There are a few used bookstores scattered throughout Fresno, like Hart’s Haven, Book Nook, Clovis Book Barn that have still maintained a presence, and I hope they continue, they are true gems in a fading world.

So to Barnes & Noble Booksellers, you have lost a customer forever. Yes, that’s right, forever. Every dollar spent on local stores, stays local. Was it really that hard to give a loyal customer a break??? Perhaps, they have lost the meaning of what a bookstore really is, sure it’s a business, but it also brings a community together and continues to cultivate the love of literature to every customer that enters and exits that store with a book. Kindness goes much further and leaves a longer impression than 20%.

One day I will own my own used bookstore and I will be sure to never lose sight of what difference a book makes to an individual. To my readers, don’t forget that B&N is not the only bookstore in the Fresno area. So, stop by Hart’s Haven in the Tower District, or Book Nook off First and Herndon or take a drive to Old Town Clovis and enjoy the day at Book Barn and soon, come to Madera to Anthem Books & Writing and spend time with me.

Bye, Bye Mothership you have gone too far into a galaxy where no one wishes to travel.


Written by Francine

Anthem Books & Writing

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