Thursday, June 05, 2008

What is this world coming to?

The other night I went to Borders to buy a last minute gift for a friend of mine. I was looking for a book by Lucy Maud Montgomery (who she has just started reading!) that was NOT Anne of Green Gables.

I looked in the children's section. There was my beloved Anne but she sat all alone on the shelf. I moved to juvenile fiction. Again, there was Anne, patient and alone. I went to the adult section. Absolutely nothing. So I turned to the customer service lady and asked if there were any books in the store by Lucy Maud Montgomery other than Anne of Green Gables. Seeing as there were 24 other works (including collections of short stories) I did not anticipate so much difficulty in a Borders Book Store. A store which, btw, boasts:

" . . . more than 1,100 stores around the world, Borders is finding new ways to help our customers create richer and more satisfying lives through knowledge and entertainment. In fact, Borders was recently ranked #1 among 112 companies nationwide for providing an enjoyable customer shopping experience according to an independent survey conducted by Forrester Research. Borders ranked #2 nationwide in the overall survey."

I asked the lady who had volunteered to help me (poor soul), "Do you have ANY of Lucy Maud Montgomery books other than Anne of Green Gables." She smiled and replied, "OH, I'm sure we do. I remember seeing the Anne Cookbook." Oh yes, that's exactly what I meant. I watched her scroll through the system. The only book I saw other than books from the Anne series was The Golden Road which they did not have in stock but could order for me (for $12.95) if I so desired. (Not that it's not worth $12.95 because I assure you it is. But good grief.)

Nevermind about Montgomery, I guess. The feeling grated but I had to move on.

My next question was whether or not they had Beau Geste by P.C. Wren, which I figured was a long shot since it was originally published in 1929 but I thought I'd give it a go. No dice. I realized I needed to best 1960 if I was going to have any luck at all.

Robin McKinley then. She's modern. Surely they'd have something by her, right? Well, they did. One book but I hadn't read it and it looked suspiciously like one of her more weird works. (I was hoping to find Beauty which I have it on good authority is her more popular work. Which might explain why they didn't have it.)

By this time I was getting a little angry and was mentally declaring Border Boycotts in my head. As I glanced around I saw teeny bopper books in mass quantities. Titles I had never heard of and didn't even bother remembering because they are dated to the latest computer crazes and I know they won't be around even half a dozen years. Frusteration was running deep. I thought if I saw even ONE more copy of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants I'd give an unsuspecting Borders employee the good old what-for!

Then my husband reminded me about my latest favorite fantasty book Looking Glass Wars. (I HIGHLY and strongly recommend this book. It's listed in my store which is linked on right. It's a fun read. I don't like the sequel as much but LOVE the first.)

One copy left.

That was all I needed.

And I'm not going back anytime soon.

They might be ranked #1 for providing an enjoyable customer experience if you really prefer the authors that you read be in the land of the living. But if you dare look to the grave (with the exception of the "Borders Classics", of course) you're probably up a creek. I'd give them a rank of 111. They'd get the 112th position except they did have one copy of The Looking Glass Wars. So I shall allow them to live one more day. But they obviously do not need me to survive.


Unknown said...

That's one reason that I buy almost all of my books online--amazon is almost always cheaper and they have such a great selection.

Anonymous said...

I had a similar situation the other evening at Barnes and Nobles... Often I do order online, but I'm headed out of town for a conference and had a list of books I wanted to flip through before I decided if I wanted to buy them...

So I get out my file of books that look good (I'm a librarian - I have a file folder on my desk that anything of this sort I jott down or print out goes into) and had a list that took up 1 and a half pages of a legal pad...

6 of them were in the store and none of them looked worth spending the money on (a couple of hardcover ones I might have bought had they been paperback - I'm more willing to take a chance on a paperback) And these were almost all ones published in the last 3 years!

So luckily I remembered a couple of novels a friend had recommended and was able to get them...

Sheila said...

More reason to buy from Amazon! :)

I agree that Border's selection is limited. I found this terrific bookstore in Victoria, BC, with an amazing selection of kids books. I wish we had something like that here in the Seattle area.

Are you using It is terrific for getting books a little off the beaten track.

Literary Feline said...

I'm sorry you didn't have better luck at your Borders store. I've come to prefer our local Borders to B&N even though I have a discount card for B&N. Borders more often than not has what I'm looking for. I've been known to hit both stores in one day finding some books I want at one store and then going to the other to find the others.

It's true though that you're bound to have more luck online in general.

Lisa Spence said...

Confession: I've only read the Anne series by LM. Which other titles do you recommend?

Carrie said...

Lisa -

ANYTHING. =) I guess if I had to pick one title only though - I'd recommend The Blue Castle. It's a little more unique from her other works and the only one NOT set on PEI.

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