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Seriously...It Will Do You Some Good!

Well, it seems that this is the end of BNLJ - now little more than a ghost of a room.  We went from a silly, innocent, and admittedly boring place to post bookstore stories to a hateful bitch-fest that had nothing positive to say about anything - especially the company that cut our paychecks.  Many of you cursed my presence/participation - but you failed to acknowlege that I've been here from early on, posting topics that really meant a damn - and encouraging responses from booksellers with a work ethic.  If you've followed "Smithback" posts, you'll remember that my very first topics appeared in the last two years of the Borders forum.  They were funny pieces, meant to acknowledge/ressure those Borders booksellers who fought the good fight til the end.  My BN in particular delivered coffee & donuts to our fellow Borders on its last day.  It was sad for them and sad for us.  We all knew that bookstores were in trouble.

BNLJ went through many different changes through the years.  At first we were a mix of happy booksellers and anti-corporate folk, but over time the happy ones joined the FaceBook page - leaving the ignorant masses to take over BNLJ.  The result was what you can see right now: so much complaining that readers bailed faster than viewers as MSNBC.  This past year in particular - a year plagued by such gut-wrenchingly-immature posts as "Worries," "Dress Code," "Cafe Woes," and "Have You Read the Privacy Policy" - have succeded in slamming BNLJ into the ground, like an episode of National Geographic's Air Crash Investigation.  I guess it's kind of like how MySpace was overcome by FaceBook: the better forum crushed the lesser one.  It all comes down to quality, people...and how what we wrote was a reflection of our characters.  No employer wants to hire/keep an employee who unloads LJ tyrades without thinking.  I hope you've all learned your lesson, and that you're now enjoying new jobs in gas stations that smell like hot dogs, cigarettes, and AXE.  Not the life I'd want for myself, but hey...I'm just Smithback - the apple-polisher.  I'm just an out of touch, middle-aged man who loves BN - and who's planned for his future.  Enjoy your parent's basements.  I, myself, have built a nice blaze in my fireplace...where - thanks to my experience at BN - my third novel will soon be added to the wooden mantle.

Anyway, it's cold outside - and I want to have a glass of wine before bed, before I get up for tomorrow's Discovery Friday shift.  I wish you all the best, and I'll send happy thoughts to each and every one of you - all three remaining - while I'm at work tomorrow.  If you do join another BN forum, I encourage you to remember all the things I've said to you over the last few years.  Be strong, people!  Be mature and productive contributers to whatever job you end up working.

And like they said before the Borders blog folded, always remember just what happened here.

Seriously...it will do you some good :)

Worries

OK, you wanted a new post, and hi, I am new to this community. I am not a new bookseller, though. I rode two Borders stores down, one on the first cut, got transferred, and the second on the close.

It worked out well for me. I saw Borders failing early enough on to get my MFA, so I had teaching positions. I will tell you something. Finshing me BA, my first MA, my MFA, and even teaching, I always said, "I'll quit the bookseller before Xmas." I never have. Even when I didn't need the money.

Well now my wife has encouraged me to move cross country, and she is starting a Law Practice, so I had to give up a position. So where do I go? The bookstore.

I'm worried about digital. In my store there aren't hours for someone to plug it, we are ceding it to Amazon. We are ceding a lot to Amazon. And I am seeing some things Borders did. Starting to cut the midlist, buying more copies of bestsellers than we need as they know we can flip them later as bargain books. These are tricks, they aren't good bookselling.

But Amazon is the enemy. I will say, back in the day, Borders was really awesome, and you guys sucked. We were the reader's bookstore, we had great backlist on the shelves, and an 80/20 ratio of fulltime to part on the goodside.

I'm happy to work for B&N, I just say, keep an out. Amazon has never made a profit. How many times to you hear, oh, we will just buy it from Amazon?

My store, Borders, that I adored, when we were closing, the first thing the reclimation company made us do, was close the restrooms, because they didn't want to pay for custodial. We put a sign up, "NO RESTROOMS TRY AMAZON"

Best, Friends
Hey, minions.  I just signed on to BNLJ tonight to read some of the many hateful comments you've all left within my last post.

But I'm admittedly shocked: has no one posted a new discussion in the forum?


No complaints about the new Samsung Nook?
No complaints about
The Day the Crayons Quit, or the earlier Get Pop Cultured?

Jesus, people...where are my antoginists?  You've all been so VOCAL about my opionions regarding BN's direction...but you've had nothing to say for the past month?  Seriously?  Not a snark, a snip, or a general bitch about where Barnes and Noble is going?  Have you all moved to the BN Facebook page where you have to make yourselves known before you spew an anti-BN diatribe?  I'm genuinely disappointed.  I thought I could always count on my anti-BN, entitlement-demanding coworkers.  At the very least, some of you have been great to jump-start a discussion.


But that being said, I don't mean to sound snotty...but are you BNLJ folks finally getting behind your employer?  If yes, I'm delighted!  We ALL have an opportunity to support BN and keep the brick & mortar stores in business!  BN rocks (though I hope we increase our pay scale), and it's because of each and every one of you that our company pushes forward, and makes those changes that keep us viable in the future.

I'm genuinely proud of BNLJ tonight :)

I'm genuinely proud of each and every one of you!

BN's Future

Two years ago, I predicted that BN would embrace POD machines - and alas, that prediction came true.  My other predictions - media departments, wine bars/expanded Cafe service, comfy chairs/couches - have not come to fruition yet, but I believe they are within BN's future - and that we'll see them shortly.

Despite all the negative shit in this forum, what GOOD things have you seen?  Solid merchandising incentives (like "Pop Culture)?  Better ePlanner directives?  Better ideas?

I'll admit when I've been wrong, and I was a supporter of Lynch's Nook Study/University push.  But that didn't work out as we'd hoped, and I regret the $$$ wasted - and the backtracking/redirection BN has gone through because of Lynch's ideas.  (I can't help but think how that money might have been better spent for store improvements, payroll dollars, and increasing employees' salaries.)  But I appreciate our new direction - faults and all - to become a stronger company in the years to come.  And I believe that the Samsung Galaxy Nook (an outsourcing project that BN should have done years ago) will help us solidify our place within the book selling marketplace.

Thoughts?

Retail / Nook Splitting Up

Hi everybody!
My name is ffatback and I'm here to prompt some healthy discussion. As you may know, Barnes & Noble has recently announced that they are "...mak(ing) Nook Media a separate public company housing both Barnes & Noble's Nook e-book and e-reader business as well as its college stores." What do you think they plan to do with the retail stores? Is this a good or a bad thing for us booksellers?

Good News

Last week, BN got two pieces of amazing news:

1. "BN announced a partnership with Samsung, and the arrival of the Samsung Galaxy Tablet 4 Nook - a device that far surpasses anything that Amazon has to offer.  The Nook has always been a better product than Kindle, but like the Tucker automobile, even a superior product can get overlooked if it's competitor has deeper pockets."

2. "David Abrams - a self-made billionaire and hedge fund manager - purchased a sizable quantity of Barnes & Noble shares, a clear sign of faith in the company.  I'm not a financial expert, but I can recognize that an investment like Abrams' is proof that bookstores are still viable...and that B&N is positioned for longevity."

I see that no one has mentioned that.  Sorry to disrupt the barrage of negative comments, but has anyone noticed the POSITIVE strides BN has made?

Just curious.

Discuss.

Threatened with termination

So I've been with the company for over 11 years now. A couple of years ago I had a kid and my boyfriend started going to school full time so I could only work on the weekends. During the week I'm a stay at home mom. They were fine with my schedule. I also am not too good at selling memberships, it's my weakness. But I'm amazing at everything else in the store. Well tonight I got pulled aside and a manager told me since I only work 2 days a week and don't have open availability that If I didn't start getting memberships, I couldn't work there anymore. I was talking to another manager who told me to go to We Listen because they can't fire you over membership averages. I've heard bad things about We Listen. Has anyone else been threatened with termination over their card averages? Or fired?

1987

Waaaaaay back in 1987, my Business Teacher told me (and the rest of our class), "The world is changing.  The jobs that your parents had don't exist anymore.  Be prepared to change careers at least three times in your lives."  I took that advice to heart, and I still consider it every day - especially with my job at B&N.  But so few people in this forum seem to feel the same way.  Why is that?  Please forgive me, but many people seem "entitled" to a job.

You know, I really do "get" the anger...the grumbling that an employer isn't doing all they can to keep the doors open.  But really, the venom? The entitled bitching about a company that's doing all it can to stay viable within the modern market?  I'm a Bookseller.  ALL of you are Booksellers.  What is the fuckin' deal, people?  Why are so many of you such entitled jerks?  Did you never take a "Business 101" class?  Did you never separate yourselves from your parental teet...?

Seriously...I really want to know.  And while we're on the subject, did anyone's parents ever teach them how to write a resume?  To behave in an interview?  To dress in a starched shirt & pants, rather than a hooka-scented hoodie?  Cough, cough...(sorry).  This forum is scented with gimmie-gimmie-gimmie entitlement.  (Tapping my computer's microphone)...Is anyone sober enough to be an adult?

Forget Barnes & Noble.  How do any of you expect to survive the real world?
I stopped working for B&N in 2011 but I still read this blog every once in a while and am wondering why other former employees still read it as well.

I started working at B&N around 2005 and, for the first couple of years, the B&N experience felt positive and special. My store's atmosphere was friendly, customer service was everyone's focus, and my co-workers were like family. Slowly the whole experience of working at B&N changed: managers seemed to be more concerned with metrics (membership goals and Nook sales) than customer service and customer satisfaction and the business of selling books. Employees started to become unhappy with their positions as they saw their co-workers leaving or being fired. I saw two managers get fired and I saw two other managers get demoted within a year. Several co-workers left after managers (who of course were not fired) treated them in very unprofessional and underhanded ways (i.e. speaking disrespectfully to them, cutting hours so they would quit, setting them up to make a mistake so that they could be reprimanded and eventually fired).

Long story short, I have many good memories from my first few years with B&N and many bad memories from which I learned a lot of valuable life lessons. I still read this blog because it reminds me what I learned from going through some really tough times at B&N as well as how many good people are still working for a company I once respected but that I now feel is beyond redemption because of mismanagement and psychopathic managers.

I want to know if other former employees come here for the same or for different reasons.  

No More Full Time Employees Company Wide

So, the news broke today at my store. All full time employees will be dropped to part time employees. I would be fuming right now except I am still too much in shock.

First they take benefits away from part timers and then they cut hours across the board and now they are getting rid of all non-manager full time employees. Why? To save money. People do not matter to the to this company any longer. We are all replaceable (which I've been told). My friends and I don't know what to do. Several of us have worked for the company for 10+ years and this is how we are treated? Most of us carry healthcare for our families and without B&N I know that I cannot afford it. Even with ACA as an option after the extra cost of that (which isn't "affordable" at all) and the loss of hours, my wife and I will not be able to make ends meet. I have already started to look for new work but it is difficult to find one that pays what I am currently make plus benefits.

I'm not sure if we can make a difference. I would like to think that a total backlash would make them change their minds but I know that is a pipe dream. If this is how they want to treat their employees I will relish seeing it go down in flames.

I do implore everyone here to lodge a complaint. I plan on contacting as many in higher levels as I can. Store managers might be a start but it will go now where. I plan on starting with Mark Bottini and going from there. We should all work together on this.

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