Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Barnes & Noble - you know where this is going, right? (a vent)

Today there are a boatload of new releases I'm itching to read. My local B&N (in Hingham, MA) is the most unpleasant bookstore in the world. Last week, when I ran there, they didn't have the latest releases for Richard Kadrey or Julie Kagawa (as well as several others). In addition, they'd shrunk their romance section to half it's size, their sci-fi section to 1/3 its size & the young adult to maybe half it's size. Basically, 1/3 of the store is high end home shit & children's toys, 1/4 is their "Nook Department", and the books are crammed in the rest. I won't go into the stuck up, snotty attitude of the employee's because I could spend HOURS on that.

There's also a B&N in Braintree, but its half the size of the Hingham store & is shrinking in the same way.

So, based on the luck I had hunting down books last week (don't ask), I decided I wasn't going to risk it. I was making the run to B&N in Burlington. If you don't live in MA, that's about a 47 mile drive from where I live. Yeah. Up Rtes. 24 & 128 which is under construction. But damn it, Lilith Saintcrow, Devon Monk and Chloe Neill all had books coming out & I know that B&N Hingham doesn't have either Lilith or Chloe's books.

I think they think anyone that reads urban fantasy is a satan worshipper. I know they think everyone that walks through the door is part of the unwashed masses they have to avoid. Perhaps we're a zombie horde. I don't know.

Aaaanyway, I drove 45 minutes (do the math - I was flying) up to Burlington. I found last week's releases easily enough. None of this weeks releases were on the shelves. So, I forced myself to approach an employee (generally, they're okay in this store) and asked. She had five carts of books in front of her, loaded with teen, sci-fi and romance books. In addition, there were several sealed boxes. I knew KNEW this was where I would find today's releases. In fact, Lilith's book was right there in plain sight. So I asked for it. She wouldn't let me touch the stack, but deigned to pull the book out of the stack and give it to me. Then I asked for Devon's book. She told me it was with the new releases. It wasn't. I went back to her. She allowed me to look at the books on the carts (but not touch). I found Chloe's book, which she removed. She put it in my basket doing her best not to even interact with me. But Devon's book wasn't there. She finall,y with a big huff, looked it up on the system. Turns out it was in one of the boxes right there at our feet.

She refused to open them.

I explained that I'd driven an HOUR there and had an HOUR drive home and that I did that for these three books. I told her she wouldn't even have to look for it, I would do it. There were four boxes, none of them big enough to hold more than 20 mass market paperback books.

She again REFUSED to open the boxes. When I pleaded with her, she told me to take it up with the front counter. Maybe one of them would be willing to come up & find the book in the boxes since she was busy SHELVING them. WHAT??!?

Yes, you heard that right. She was opening these boxes and shelving these books. She knew the book was in one of the five unopened boxes. She was going to have to open those boxes eventually. She had them laid out to be opened. She knew I'd made a two hour round trip drive. It was her job to open those boxes and shelf them and she REFUSED to help me.

I left B&N without the damn book. Can you believe that?

On the way home I stopped at New England Mobile Bookfair, an indie bookstore that is both amazing and overwhelming (they shelve all their books by publisher). They were more than willing to look for Devon's book for me. They found Hannah Jayne and Celia Jerome's books (which were probably in those unopened boxes at B&N as well). But they hadn't received Magic on the Line yet. (They were expecting the shipment late afternoon.) They apologized profusely, offered to hold a copy for me, offered to ship the book to me (when they found out how far I drove). That's customer service.

Unfortunately I still don't have Magic on the Line by Devon Monk. I don't even have anyplace else to go to find it around here. (I miss Borders so much.)

Now all I can do is order it from Amazon and wait another few days for it to come. Once again B&N employees have proved to be complete and total douchebags. I hope they go out of business. (And that's saying something coming from me.)

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