Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Barnes & Noble - a vent

As I've mentioned before, I really REALLY don't like Barnes & Noble. But with the unfortunate disaster that has swallowed up Borders (and until they've sorted things out) getting new releases means a trip to my local B&N in Hingham, Mass.

Can I say I hate that place??!?

Today, I ran there to pick up the new releases from various authors that I love. I quickly found Devon Monk's Magic on the Hunt, James Knapp's Element Zero and a few others. The problem came when I tried to find Rage (Jackie Morse Kessler) and Red Glove (Holly Black), as well as The Art of Seducing a Naked Werewolf (Molly Harper) which has been out for a WEEK. They were NOWHERE to be found.

So, I go to the help desk. I stand there and wait for someone to acknowledge me as the women behind the counter (who weren't helping anyone) in their Anne Taylor snootsville outfits pretend I don't exist. Eventually one of them, with a little huffy sound, asks how she can help me. She does it in such a way that I check to make sure I don't have lice crawling all over me. Nope, sweatshirt, jeans and Adidas running shoes all look clean & spiffy, hair's in place, makeup on. So, I say yes, I'm looking for Holly Black's Red Glove. She types it in, stares at the screen & informs me it's a young adult book - like its entirely inappropriate for a 48 year old woman to be asking for it - and like I didn't know that. Um, I say that I know that & inform her its not over there. She huffs and adjusts the POLE up her ASS, glares at me and tells me to look in the YA paranormal section. Then she asks if there's anything else & its obvious she's hoping me and my less-than-couture clothes will go crawl back to the pestilence section. I say, yes I'm also looking for Rage by Jackie Morse Kessler. She lets out another sigh & tightens up her sphincter on that pole, tilts her nose up in the air and types into the computer. Then she hautily informs me they don't carry that book or its predecessor. That if I want it, I'll have to go into the B&N at the Prudential Center in Boston to get it. Um? Hello? Sure, I'll hop in my Jag & zip in there right away (JK - I don't own a Jag. I own a Matrix.) I inform her its a really wonderful series & they ought to carry it. She looks like I've just suggested they fill the store with cockroaches & says she can order me a copy to be delivered to my house, but that they have no intention of carrying it in the store. WTF? I inform her I can order it online myself (and I'll be damned if I'll order it from THEM). She sighs again, truly put-out at this point by my dregs-of-society presence and asks if that's all. I decide I'm just going to bust her balls at this point & ask about Molly Harper's The Art of Seducing a Naked Werewolf. I thought she was going to pass out! She asks for the author's name again, beats on the keys and then asks me to repeat the title - which I do maliciously and loudly. Hell, if I'm going to ask for it, I might as well make a scene, right?!? She looks and tells me they don't carry that series at ANY B&N. What??! I guess the title is too much for them or something. Finally, when I don't go away, she asks again if I'd like to order it and I tell her no. I'll just buy it elsewhere. She asks if I need help finding Red Glove and I tell her yes. (Believe me I wanted her help about as much as I want a poker jammed in my eye, but hell. I couldn't find the fucking thing.) So she stomps in her designer pumps over to the YA section, marches up and down it & pulls out the book and hands it to me. (It was not filed alphabetically - it was with M's! Why? I don't know.) When I thank her (because I'm polite even when I'm being a royal bitch) and say something inane like I looked and couldn't find it, she draws herself up and says 'that's why I work in a bookstore'. What?!? Um, hello? I worked in a library. I read more books in a week than she probably does in a year. I know the freaking dewey decimal system back & forth. Pretty sure I could have found the book if it had been filed ALPHABETICALLY in the right place. And why is it not with the NEW RELEASES?? Hunh?! Anyway, she turns on her dainty little three hundred dollar heel and takes off before I can say anything more. She's probably still in the bathroom washing the cooties off herself from having to stand within three feet of me.

You'd think this would be the end of it. But no, I get in line to buy the books. There are two registers open. The one woman is doing NOTHING, but does she offer to ring up my books? NO! She looks at me and adjusts her Talbot's sweater like she's gearing up for war and then ignores me. Eventually, the other woman finishes and also IGNORES me. I'm the only freaking person in line! So I march up to her register and set my stack of books down. She looks at me. I look at her. She adjusts her glasses and straightens her Coldwater Creek blouse. I look at her. She looks at me. I clear my throat. Her lips turn down into what I like to call "the B&N bitch face" and asks if she can help me. What the hell is wrong with these Stepford freaks? I'm at the register with 6 books. I have my credit card & B&N card in hand. What does she think I'm there for? A critique of my clothing choice? I smile and say I'd like to purchase my books. She looks at the books - Devon's book is on top. Her frown increases and she picks it up like its a frog right out of the pond. With each successive book her face grows more grim and the POLE up HER ass tightens until I think it might explode out her head. Finally, she asks if I'm a member. I hand her my card and she takes it & runs it through - she asks for my name & phone number like she thinks I've stolen the thing. (Seriously, I don't look like a vagrant - honest to God). I give it, charge my books, sign my name & get the HELL out of that SNOOTY, STUCK UP store.

And that is why I hate Barnes & Noble and I'm weeping for Borders. I'd rather have nails driven under my finger and toenails, be branded with a hot iron and have my teeth pulled then go in there again. But go I will because they're the only store carrying new releases (at least new releases they approve of) around me. Does that SUCK or what?

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