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Border's bankruptcy filing possible next week

Old 02-14-11, 09:31 AM
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Re: Border's bankruptcy filing possible next week

Originally Posted by Josh-da-man View Post
That's been my experience as well; in the last few years the store selection has really gone downhill. I think I first noticed it when they started cutting back their CD/DVD selection a couple of years ago and rearranged the floor layout of the store. Seems like they started devoting less space to books as well, and there's a now a lot of empty floor space in the store and tons of junk where books used to be.
Much like Blockbuster, they are trying to fill their stores with other crap in hopes of luring new customers in. Blockbuster has sold "artwork", Blu-ray/DVD players, Sound systems, Pickles in a bag, CDs, Computer accessories etc. I've seen Borders carry more and more 'crap' (Twilight merchandise, iPod accessories etc.) in hopes of getting new customers. After they shrunk their Optical Disc section (CD/DVD/BD), I really only go in there to look at magazines (which also shrunk - all the cool specialty ones are gone) and use my Amazon App to scan books I want to buy (at a cheaper price).
Old 02-14-11, 09:33 AM
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Re: Border's bankruptcy filing possible next week

Originally Posted by Sweet Baby James View Post
Indeed. The more competition, the better.

I have never understood the glee that some take when a company goes under. If you don't like a store, then don't give them your business. Pretty simple.
You know what I miss? Returning un-opened DVDs/BDs for store credit that could be used at Amazon. Man, those were the days

But otherwise, I'm thrilled. We shouldn't allow business' to stay up that are not profitable. Circuit City failed for a reason. If it's a bad business, it's a bad business.
Old 02-14-11, 01:01 PM
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Re: Border's bankruptcy filing possible next week

Originally Posted by Sweet Baby James View Post
Indeed. The more competition, the better.

I have never understood the glee that some take when a company goes under. If you don't like a store, then don't give them your business. Pretty simple.
If Amazon starts price-gouging the way Borders did, then some other online source will undercut them and become the new Amazon.
Old 02-14-11, 08:24 PM
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Re: Border's bankruptcy filing possible next week

Originally Posted by musicfann View Post
AND OTHER EMPLOYEES JUST WALKING AROUND AIMLESSLY !
I seriously doubt that.

1) Just because you see other employees doesn't mean they have a register to ring on. Other employees do work in stores that never touch a cash register.

2) Just because you don't know what their job description was doesn't mean they were walking around aimlessly. It mean's you were clueless and quick to judgment.
Old 02-14-11, 08:43 PM
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Re: Border's bankruptcy filing possible next week

Originally Posted by musicfann View Post

We are talking on the average of 30 deep at the checkout line, with a compliment of 5 checker outers, AND OTHER EMPLOYEES JUST WALKING AROUND AIMLESSLY !
Oh, so your Borders must be one of those that has 20 or 30 checkout stations.
Old 02-14-11, 09:19 PM
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Re: Border's bankruptcy filing possible next week

Originally Posted by GizmoDVD View Post
We shouldn't allow business' to stay up that are not profitable. Circuit City failed for a reason. If it's a bad business, it's a bad business.

I still feel CC died because they really never got their shit together. I don't really know how hard it could have been to at least emulate how Best Buy worked on a store level.

But alas, their problems were deeper than mediocre selection and apathetic employees.

I have far more awesome memories of Borders and I do CC, which is why it pains me to see Borders be so damn crappy. I mean, I have a 40% off coupon and I struggle to find a single thing I want.
Old 02-14-11, 09:42 PM
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Re: Border's bankruptcy filing possible next week

Originally Posted by UAIOE View Post
I still feel CC died because they really never got their shit together. I don't really know how hard it could have been to at least emulate how Best Buy worked on a store level.

But alas, their problems were deeper than mediocre selection and apathetic employees.

I have far more awesome memories of Borders and I do CC, which is why it pains me to see Borders be so damn crappy. I mean, I have a 40% off coupon and I struggle to find a single thing I want.
I unfortunately went to Borders with a coupon that didn't print out right (didn't realize this til I was standing in line) - the manager who's usually nice and lenient, was an utter douche to me (he must have gotten a corporate memo or something because he was acting REAL bitchy) - needless to say, I didn't (i.e, 'couldn't') use the coupon, I left in disgust... let Rome burn for all I care.
Old 02-15-11, 04:19 AM
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Re: Border's bankruptcy filing possible next week

Borders was a pretty good place to shop for CDs and books, although their DVD selection was nothing special. The ones here in Hawaii carried Alpha DVDs for about $4.99 for the longest time, and being the Alpha DVD fan that I am that was a good thing for me. Everything else could be gotten elsewhere for a lot less money.

However, when they do go under I'll never miss them as much as I miss Tower Records...in a perfect world Tower would still be in business.
Old 02-15-11, 04:57 AM
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Re: Border's bankruptcy filing possible next week

Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post
Damn, where am I going to pay ridiculous prices for books now?

I'm guessing Amazon, once their competition is gone and they start charging MSRP.



More likely, you will be paying inflated MSRP's for their Kindle books and proprietary dvd-r's once they bankrupt the distributors and publishing houses.

The myopia on this board is embarrassing .
Old 02-15-11, 10:32 AM
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Re: Border's bankruptcy filing possible next week

with iBooks being good competition don't expect to pay MSRP for Kindle books either. there is also Sony's web store along with a few other niche ones like O'reilly. And Google just opened one as well
Old 02-15-11, 10:35 AM
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Re: Border's bankruptcy filing possible next week

Originally Posted by UAIOE View Post
I still feel CC died because they really never got their shit together. I don't really know how hard it could have been to at least emulate how Best Buy worked on a store level.

But alas, their problems were deeper than mediocre selection and apathetic employees.

I have far more awesome memories of Borders and I do CC, which is why it pains me to see Borders be so damn crappy. I mean, I have a 40% off coupon and I struggle to find a single thing I want.

CC's problem was making the checkout process a hellish experience. in the one closest to me you had to stand in line at the customer service desk for most transactions and it could easily be a 30 minute wait.

unlike best buy where i spent less time in december than Circuit City in July
Old 02-15-11, 11:56 AM
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Re: Border's bankruptcy filing possible next week

Borders has been doing horribly for years. Most of it started at the top with poor management. One of the first things to go was respect for their employees and along with that, hours to work which quite likely translated in unhappy workers on the floor dealing with customers.

Management believed that the best way to cut costs was to cut employees. This meant people with book knowledge and experience, gone. Actual people on the floor? Gone. Did the employees want this? Nope. Did they have a choice? Nope.

For the past year to 2 years, most stores run at an absolute minimum of people. During the basic day, at any one time there is about 4 people working in the store. A little overlap for lunches, but basically 4. That's one cashier. One person in the cafe making drinks/food. One person at the information desk and one manager. Sometimes the last two are the same person.

When there is a line at the checkout there is no one to call for help. They just don't exist.

Yes, I was an employee. I was lucky enough to see the writing on the wall and got out about a year ago. Still make nothing, but at least the stress of working for a company with no raises for 3 to 4 years, being forced to shove one specific book down people's throats, customers who demand that they use an expired coupon which the computers won't take on the one 2.99 book they're buying, cut working hours even for full timers, constant screaming at by the GM because their boss is screaming at them about why we're not selling 1,000 glitter balls an hour...(and I could go on) is done.

I think a lot of people forget that the people working on the floor have absolutely nothing to do with pricing or policies. The average retail worker is told to be the bad guy and follow the company's policies (i.e. return policies) and the managers, to quiet the complaining customer before they go to the higher rung, allow customers to get away with murder making the person just doing their job look like a jerk.

While I'm not sad about this company going under, they treated too many people like disposable objects and like criminals to deserve my respect, there still are a lot of good people who care about books (and movies!) that are about to lose their jobs in this economy where it can take years to get another one.

Not to mention...this is another brick and mortar that is going away. Pretty soon if you do want a book, dvd or cd, the only place to get it is online. No more rushing out for little Jimmy's book report that's due the next day and finding it at a local spot. Need 4-10 days for that!

I know in my town, (~100,000 people), this is the last bookstore. We have one used place, but it doesn't stock any new releases or any multimedia. The nearest is about 2 hours away.

Ok, sorry, didn't mean to rant, but I did have to stick up for the remaining people who do good work in that company that will now have to go through liquidators and rude customers who are only interested in making bucks off a dying company or saving pennies.
Old 02-15-11, 11:59 AM
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Re: Border's bankruptcy filing possible next week

Originally Posted by calhoun07 View Post
I seriously doubt that.

1) Just because you see other employees doesn't mean they have a register to ring on. Other employees do work in stores that never touch a cash register.

2) Just because you don't know what their job description was doesn't mean they were walking around aimlessly. It mean's you were clueless and quick to judgment.
as an ex employee im betting those you saw walking around aimlessly were walking around picking up after douchbag customers who would trash the store on a daily basis..98 % of the job was returning books and crap to the shelves
..kind of hard to pickup after people like that with a smile on ones face..but then again Borders bred that with the whole library atmosphere..why buy the book when you can just sit in the store..read it for free with a coffee..then just throw it on the floor and let the hired help put the crap back
one of the worst part time jobs I had
Old 02-15-11, 12:04 PM
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Re: Border's bankruptcy filing possible next week

most people don't care about good service, they want price. we had this in the 1990's when best buy destroyed a bunch of smaller electronics stores with good service but higher prices. it has been proven that people will go to good service stores, waste employees' time and then buy at a cheaper price somewhere else

Borders was first hurt by Amazon and the fact that they could stock more inventory than anyone else especially niche books. and now by ebooks. i see a lot of kindles and ipods/iphones in the NYC subway. not so much iPads. people reading paper books is going the way if the dodo. other than carrying them around, no one wants to use up valuable space in their home to store books that they will probably only read once. and a lot of the classic non copyrighted books are now free to read instead of paying money at the bookstore.

it's like RIM and their BIS/BES investments. they didn't dare make an iphone/android competitor because they had just spent billions of $$$ building out datacenters all over the world and now it was time to scrap them. Borders management had a huge B&M investment and didn't dare invest in ebooks because the bean counters said it was bad for business
Old 02-15-11, 06:42 PM
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Re: Border's bankruptcy filing possible next week

Originally Posted by LJG765 View Post
Borders has been doing horribly for years. Most of it started at the top with poor management. One of the first things to go was respect for their employees and along with that, hours to work which quite likely translated in unhappy workers on the floor dealing with customers.

Management believed that the best way to cut costs was to cut employees. This meant people with book knowledge and experience, gone. Actual people on the floor? Gone. Did the employees want this? Nope. Did they have a choice? Nope.
One of the things that continues to amaze me about the two Borders near me is the tenure of the employees. I literally see the same people working there from seven years ago. I know times are tight, but if the place sucks so much, why not go work somewhere else? It's not like these are six-figure types with big bonuses and stock options....it's retail ferchrissakes!

Originally Posted by LJG765 View Post
For the past year to 2 years, most stores run at an absolute minimum of people. During the basic day, at any one time there is about 4 people working in the store. A little overlap for lunches, but basically 4. That's one cashier. One person in the cafe making drinks/food. One person at the information desk and one manager. Sometimes the last two are the same person.
I agree with you here, staff is slim. Often, there is no one available to man the info desk, and fuggedaboudit if you need something from the back. Have a warm, sunny day in the Spring? Half the help calls in sick.

Originally Posted by LJG765 View Post
Yes, I was an employee. I was lucky enough to see the writing on the wall and got out about a year ago. Still make nothing, but at least the stress of working for a company with no raises for 3 to 4 years, being forced to shove one specific book down people's throats....
Yea, what's the deal with THAT? I remember when they were pushing The Middle Place for about a year. Do I look like a dumb sappy chick who'd read a book like that? I wasn't the last 9 times you asked me, so why would I be today???
Old 02-15-11, 07:24 PM
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Re: Border's bankruptcy filing possible next week

It took me a year to find another job. I have 2 degrees and still can't get work in my field anywhere near where I live and still work in retail. Could I move, maybe, but I do have obligations here. I know others who have been looking for longer. Try to find a new job. Dare you. It is not easy and anyone who says it is hasn't looked lately.

As for the "make book" fiasco, basically, the CEO at the time, Ron Marshall, decided that Borders was going to "make" a book a bestseller. Basically, to show publishers, "yes, we can make you a lot of money, see, see, see! So please, keep on sending us books since we keep sending you them back cause we're not selling them and we need the money." However, the titles picked were not universal, usually included rape of some sort and were expensive. Did Borders make several of them bestsellers? Yes. Was there high pressure on booksellers, up to and including write-ups for not selling enough and people losing their jobs? Yup.

I know one day I up sold about 200 dollars worth of books to a customer who was looking for something new to read and got yelled at because the customer took one look at the make book, laughed and didn't buy it. Let's ignore the fact that $200 bucks was made, but because it wasn't the "right" book, it didn't matter. Things like that made Borders what it is today.
Old 02-15-11, 07:52 PM
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Re: Border's bankruptcy filing possible next week

Hey, I understand how hard it is to find a job. I just rejoined the workforce in January after being unemployed for 15 months....I hear ya.

My point is, if you have some experience in retail, can't you just go to the local B&N, Staples, Best Buy, Starbucks, FYE, or whatever, and pretty much get the same pay and benefits? These people I see at Borders are making a career of it, and I'm not talking about managers. I don't know where you live, but the two Borders around me are right in the middle of big retail districts, with dozens of stores (including a mall) within a mile or two.
Old 02-15-11, 08:40 PM
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Re: Border's bankruptcy filing possible next week

Even in retail, it's hard to get another job. Especially if you're full time and want to stay that way. And, I don't know about other markets, but I have 3 colleges in town here. There are plenty of college students willing to take minimum wage and 20 hours a week.

Plus, up until the last couple years, Borders was nice/okay to work for. And up until recently, if you weren't part of the mainstream, if you were more alternative, it was a good place to work. We had a pretty diverse staff that loved to read and could recommend something for every one. You go to Target or Best Buy and they can show you the product on the shelf and say, "this one does this." Have they used it or done more than look at the box to find out details? Probably not.

A bookseller, a real one, has read quite a lot, in many different genres. Mine was sci-fi/fantasy, plus kids. Your kid liked horses? I could name 3 series off the top of my head that I've read that I could recommend and tell you details, plus what age level/reading level is needed. Don't know who Neil Gaiman is? I do. I could go directly to the shelf, tell you plots of several of his books and tell you which version you want.

A student looking for a book report? I could list not only the classics but also modern classics that were more interesting than anything by Charles Dickens.

That's what was lost with the change in management over the years. It did used to be all about the customer and customer service. To do that, though, first you have treat your employees right and not like they are mentally challenged. Also, when I was hired I was asked several questions about what I read, who my favorite author was, things like that. Now-a-days, they are only interested in people who a)aren't looking for more than minimum wage and b)can sell you a used car whether or not you're in the market for one.

It's hard to let go of that feeling of connecting with a customer who truly shares a passion with you. And, having worked in other retail stores before, it's not a feeling you get at other retail stores. So people stick with it. Misplaced loyalty, be it for a company they once knew or the other people in the same boat as them. Perhaps they've been looking for a job that offers benefits and the same pay since they have been working there 10-15 years...

I know when I found another job, it was at a pay cut, plus I lost my benefits. Totally worth it to not be stressed out all the time but I could manage to do that a lot better than some others I worked with who barely were keeping their heads above water as it was.

I know that when most stores hire, they really aren't interested (and I am speaking around where I live, can't speak for other areas) in hiring more than part time and certainly not at the same pay rate you were making before.
Old 02-15-11, 09:47 PM
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Re: Border's bankruptcy filing possible next week

Originally Posted by BuckNaked2k View Post
My point is, if you have some experience in retail, can't you just go to the local B&N, Staples, Best Buy, Starbucks, FYE, or whatever, and pretty much get the same pay and benefits?
That's assuming most of those places are hiring for the same pay/benefits. Or even hiring at all. Most retail stores are cutting hours significantly and some running on a complete Skeleton staff for half of the day.

A friend of mine who had worked for Borders for maybe 8+ years (?), F/T + Benefits, finally got fed up with how things were going the past 2 years at Borders and quit.

With that much retail experience you'd think it would be easy finding something similar right? He got a job at Best Buy, who only picked him up for Seasonal Work, saying there would be a chance for the switch to F/T. No go and they let him go after Season ended.

Recently he got a job at Whole Foods. Same thing, even with his experience he got picked up for 15-20 hours (P/T) with the hope that they would switch him to F/T eventually.

If retail stores are not running on Skeleton crews, they are cutting down a lot of Full-Timers into Part-Timers. Can't afford to pay the F/T when your daily sales goals suck and no one is buying anything.
Old 02-15-11, 10:32 PM
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Re: Border's bankruptcy filing possible next week

Originally Posted by LJG765 View Post
As for the "make book" fiasco, basically, the CEO at the time, Ron Marshall, decided that Borders was going to "make" a book a bestseller. Basically, to show publishers, "yes, we can make you a lot of money, see, see, see! So please, keep on sending us books since we keep sending you them back cause we're not selling them and we need the money." However, the titles picked were not universal, usually included rape of some sort and were expensive. Did Borders make several of them bestsellers? Yes. Was there high pressure on booksellers, up to and including write-ups for not selling enough and people losing their jobs? Yup.
I've never had anyone at Borders attempt to hard sell me anything. In fact, I can go there, spend a couple of hours, and not have a single employee speak to me. There is a Borders near a shopping center that my girlfriend frequents, and I'll go there for a couple of hours while she's out shopping for shoes, bubble bath, bedsheets, and clothes

Just wondering, but are they supposed to approach me and put a copy of the rape book in my hands or something?
Old 02-15-11, 10:40 PM
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Re: Border's bankruptcy filing possible next week

Originally Posted by asianxcore View Post
If retail stores are not running on Skeleton crews, they are cutting down a lot of Full-Timers into Part-Timers. Can't afford to pay the F/T when your daily sales goals suck and no one is buying anything.
I've heard many similar stories.

Shouldn't really be surprising that people aren't spending money at retail when they're paying $3.15+ a gallon for gas, $200 a month for their cell phones, $50 for internet, $100+ for satellite/cable tv, while retail prices climb higher and higher.
Old 02-15-11, 10:50 PM
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Re: Border's bankruptcy filing possible next week

Well, one thing I learned from this thread: People like Alpha DVD's.
Old 02-15-11, 10:55 PM
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Re: Border's bankruptcy filing possible next week

Originally Posted by Josh-da-man View Post
I've never had anyone at Borders attempt to hard sell me anything. In fact, I can go there, spend a couple of hours, and not have a single employee speak to me. There is a Borders near a shopping center that my girlfriend frequents, and I'll go there for a couple of hours while she's out shopping for shoes, bubble bath, bedsheets, and clothes

Just wondering, but are they supposed to approach me and put a copy of the rape book in my hands or something?
This ended a while ago. Around last spring, actually. There was a new CEO who replaced Marshall. Marshall was the one that came up with that idea. If you consistently went into the store in the spring/summer of 2009 through March (I think it was March, could've been April) of 2010, you would've been approached. If not, (I know that I refused to shove it down people's throats unless I was being watched) you probably saw a book displayed in the doorway, on the info desk, on the top 10 bestsellers list, at the registers and at least one or two other places on display. Middle Place, Horse Soldiers, Girls from Ames, City of Thieves, You Better Not Cry (which was funny but NOT a book for the average customer) and so on...
Old 02-16-11, 12:53 AM
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Re: Border's bankruptcy filing possible next week

Originally Posted by mhanlen1 View Post
Well, one thing I learned from this thread: People like Alpha DVD's.
Nice to see you were paying attention!

Seriously, I know a lot of people sneer at Alpha DVDs but for $5 a crack I got to see a lot of movies I only got to read about as a kid plus no one else was offering them at all. If given a choice between having a movie on an Alpha DVD (many of which are pretty good transfers, it depends on how good the original elements were) or not having that movie at all, or for a lot more money for a not very much better transfer, I think most of us would opt for the Alpha version.

Probably the beginning of the end for Borders was when they stopped carrying Alpha DVDs, or when they raised the price enough to make them less competitive. From that point forward their demise was inevitable.
Old 02-16-11, 05:41 AM
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Re: Border's bankruptcy filing possible next week

Originally Posted by Josh-da-man View Post
I've heard many similar stories.

Shouldn't really be surprising that people aren't spending money at retail when they're paying $3.15+ a gallon for gas, $200 a month for their cell phones, $50 for internet, $100+ for satellite/cable tv, while retail prices climb higher and higher.
Agreed 100%. Hell gas prices are at around $3.40-$3.60 here in Northern California.

At the same time I've heard (from previous Retail Experience) Customers give employees a hard time about running on Skeleton Crews.

It's not like anyone working at a Retail Store likes doing triple (sometimes more) the amount of work because there aren't enough hours to go around per week (which get lower and lower depending on sales).

Places like Target always feel like there are well staffed because (if I'm not mistaken) last year they went heavy on the P/T and cut a lot of F/T positions at each store level. Also I'm sure that Target's sales goals are better than a lot of specialty stores right now.....easily.

Low sales= Cut hours = Decent staff at peak hours/terrible the other 9-10 hours of operation.

I left my Operations Manager Position at Borders about 9 months ago to finish my degree. Definitely glad I did.

Originally Posted by LJG765 View Post
This ended a while ago. Around last spring, actually. There was a new CEO who replaced Marshall. Marshall was the one that came up with that idea. If you consistently went into the store in the spring/summer of 2009 through March (I think it was March, could've been April) of 2010, you would've been approached. If not, (I know that I refused to shove it down people's throats unless I was being watched) you probably saw a book displayed in the doorway, on the info desk, on the top 10 bestsellers list, at the registers and at least one or two other places on display. Middle Place, Horse Soldiers, Girls from Ames, City of Thieves, You Better Not Cry (which was funny but NOT a book for the average customer) and so on...
Yup. Also depending on who your Regional Manager was and who your General Managers were, you got reamed for not meeting goals for those books. Write-Ups, Counseling, and constant questions about what your "pitch" was to get these books in your customers hands.

Borders has been hurting for a while, but Ron Marshall really threw the small number of things Borders had going for it completely in the coffin. It also only took him a year to do it!

Last edited by asianxcore; 02-16-11 at 05:46 AM.

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