City Paper is not for tourists
Last week, Housing Complex decided that it’s OK not to mourn Borders’ money problems. The book chain is ugly and located on busy streets (downtown, Friendship Heights) or tucked into mega-complexes (Pentagon City, White Flint Mall). Yes. It is ugly and located in non-neighborhoody spots.
And it’s so much more. It has the same selection as an airport kiosk but at twice the size. It seems to think everyone needs to be greeted with towering displays Palin and/or Beck and/or that No Spin guy. It is expensive. Why would anyone go there when D.C. has really strong independent stores?
Probably the worst thing about Borders is the long slog of stories about Borders’ financial woes. WaPo‘s piece yesterday is just the latest. Can it just die already?
Full Disclosure: I used to work there in 1996. So here’s my insider reasons why Borders may be closing:
- At least in my store, the metal detectors didn’t really work.
- The store had an incredibly lame music staff. I once got berated for playing Patti Smith instead of the Rent soundtrack.
- Management banned staff from reading on the job. Even when there were no customers in the store (say 10 p.m. on a Tuesday).
- At a certain point, I did a really shitty job shelving the knitting and tatting section.
- Customers only ever seemed interested in the Jesus books.
As you can see by my references, my reasons might be a wee bit dated. Sorry. In the mid ’90s, there were no Kindles or iPads.