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Friday, July 20, 2007

It's Discrimination!!!

Today, for the first time in years, I was inside a Borders Book Store. Since shopping for anything other than books and yarn is more trouble than I care to get into, I don't get into many stores other than for the basics like food and money. Add to that the fact that the town I live in has one small Walden's store which is packed if more than 5 people are in it at the same time, and I simply prefer doing my book buying through Amazon. But, today, since we were at a strip mall with a Borders, I went inside to look for Anne Rivers Siddons' book, Nora, Nora.

Finding just where they may have hidden Anne's books was more of a challenge than I expected. There were tables and tables and shelves upon shelves of newly released books, books that were part of a buy 2 get one free deal, and various other specialized categories. Naturally I immediately became distracted by the buy 2 get one 1 free.

I quickly became undistracted when I realized that the 2 highest priced books were the ones I'd pay for and the cheapest one was free. That in itself was no surprise, but what absolutely floored me was the ticket price of the books. I had no idea that many new releases (unless they are part of a 30% discount Borders gives to a few select bestsellers) cost $27.95. Naturally anything that interested me was in that price range, and Borders has to be on serious drugs if they think I'm paying that much for one book when I can get a whole bunch of used books at Amazon for that kind of money. Granted, not all of them will be brand new releases, but I'm a very patient person when it comes to books. I can wait until the price drops as it always eventually does on any book in any genre.

Eventually, I did find where Anne Rivers Siddons was hiding, and I didn't even need my flashlight nor my trail of birdseed. Instead, what I needed was stilts. All of the books Borders had by Siddons were on the very top of the shelves, and all of them were pushed as far back on the shelf as was possible. This meant that all I could see of the book was the author's name. The title was completely hidden because I wasn't tall enough to see past the bottom of the shelf the books were on.

Now, I'm 5 feet tall, and I'm not good at jumping. I mean I can do it, but I cannot attain any serious height like Julius Irving could do from a standstill. Standing on my tiptoes doesn't do much good either. When you're vertically challenged, the only real solution to the problem is either carrying a ladder with you all the time or hanging out with really tall people. I was with Beans. She's 4'10". She's got a bigger disadvantage than I do. However, Beans is fearless when it comes to climbing up shelves to reach something we might need. So far she's had great luck and no shelves have come crashing down around her ears, but I do worry that this could happen all because neither of us could reach the cereal, the pasta, the boxes of shelving, or, as in this particular case, Anne Rivers Siddons.

In an effort to be helpful to their customers who are height challenged, Borders does provide step stools around the store, and to my surprise, there was a stool right beside the shelf where Anne was perched. So, I stood on the stool, and discovered that in spite of the extra height advantage the stool gave me, I still couldn't see the titles of Anne's books.

Borders also has ladders that are fastened to the shelves, but there's a sign posted that says the ladders are for employee use only. That's fine by me because the ladders are on rollers, and frankly, they don't seem all that sturdy. Yes, in spite of the posted sign, I did give the ladder a try but quickly decided that was a bad idea. The reason I attempted this on my own was because there wasn't a single solitary Borders Customer Service Specialist (or whatever they call the clerks in that place) available to help me. I saw 2 people who appeared to be employees of Borders. One was behind the counter checking out people who were buying books. The other was having a very serious discussion with a customer who'd just found out that she would not be receiving a copy of the new Harry Potter book that's coming out tonight. Borders only has so many copies coming in today, and apparently they are all reserved. Anyone inquiring today gets put on a waiting list. The customer was not happy, and angry Harry Potter customers look dangerous to me, so I was not about to interrupt with my insignificant problem with Anne Rivers Siddons' book.

That's when Beans came to the rescue. She scaled those shelves like a mountain goat scampers up those sheer rocky cliffs. And guess what we discovered? Borders has every Anne Rivers Siddons book EXCEPT Nora, Nora.

It's entirely possible Borders put that one book somewhere else, but by that time I was totally sick of the place. I never have these kinds of problems when shopping at Amazon. So why bother going anywhere else? Let Borders sell only to tall people. If they can find any willing to pay those outrageous prices!


Anita Jobalot (yasmees) said...

I too am shocked to see how much books cost. You gotta wonder who's making all the money because I'm sure for some authors, it's not them.

Greg said...

I must counter your title by saying the world is biased to short people. From kitchen countertops to public urinals, they are all geared for the Lilliputians of humanity.

If I go out book hunting I usually try local used/discount book stores. I think AbeBooks works with discount book stores. They are worth checking out, but I don't recall buying from them ever. That Nora, Nora book was listed there for $1.00 used.

Manky said...

Aha! It is easier to bend down lower to pick something off a shelf than it is to reach the very top of a book or grocery store shelf. Which means that the world is geared toward the tall people. I have never met a kitchen counter that was the right height for me -- all of them are too high. I wouldn't know about public urinals, though, but I have used public toilets where my feet do not reach the floor. So it seems easier to me to bend those knees a little bit to hit the urinal rather than do some peculiar gymnastic move to straddle a toilet seat. Fortunately I'm very flexible.

Yeah, I know there's better places to get books than Borders, and I usually do buy books used. But I needed something to blog about. Borders got lucky. :)

meleah rebeccah said...


first:) I found you through greg's brain.

second:) I have to say I too have found that Barnes and Nobel and Borders charge way more than Amazon ever will.

third:) "and angry Harry Potter customers look dangerous to me" CRACKED ME UP.

Greg said...

Bending over to quickly pick something up if fine, but imagine being stooped over a kitchen sink washing lots of dishes. Or hanging over a kitchen counter cutting up vegetable after vegetable. It kills the back. Maybe it is the average that should bare the weight of our angst.

Manky said...

Greg: Point taken. Next time I run into an average sized specimen, I'll bite 'em in the kneecaps. Then you can have 'em to thwack 'em on the head with a trout. I find biting and thwacking do wonders for my angst.

meleah: Have you ever seen an angry Harry Potter customer? They bare teeth and snarl. And the thing is, if they weren't so uppity that they HAVE to buy their books at Borders, they could have gone to WalMart which had a whole mess of Harry Potter books just waiting to be bought AND at a lower price. Yeah, you have to go to the back of the store to the lay-away department, but hey, dedicated readers will go anywhere for a book. I went to Borders, for Gawd's sake.

meleah rebeccah said...

I've pretty much avoided the Potter craze. So... NO. I have not witnessed a rabid fan. But I trust your assessment to be accurate... and still hilarious.