AKA – How I helped kill the bookstore through depraved indifference
I’m going to take a guess and say our local Borders bookstore occupied its spot for about 18 years. Perhaps it was more like 20 years or as few as 15. Anyway, Borders always appealed to me more than Barnes and Noble because it seemed less corporate. Inside and out, it lacked B&N’s architectural finesse and refinement of design. It was a bunch of tall shelves full of books with no particular sense of order. They cared more about books and less about coffee shops. It felt authentic.
They offered obscure titles, too, as if they were a cool bookstore in the city rather than a boring one in the suburbs.
So was it two years ago they closed? Three? It’s hard to say for sure, since we all saw it coming for ages. This much I recall: Who didn’t feel bummed out when it finally happened?
Whenever a big store closes, some are sad, but we are also intrigued by what might replace it. In the case of my local Borders, they put in a DSW, which, if you are unfamiliar, is basically a warehouse store for shoes.
Are you kidding? They took away our bookstore and replaced it with a shoe store? How boring. Row after row after row of shoes on display with the boxes crammed right underneath, self-serve style. I’d bet that a single DSW has the combined inventory of an entire shopping mall’s worth of shoe stores and then some.
Thing is, I have chimpanzee feet. Thanks to a dreadful experiment conducted by a mad scientist named Dr. Moreau, I was changed from one primate species to another… except the equipment malfunctioned before the transformation was complete.
[I’ll let you guess whether I changed from human to chimp or chimp to human]
Because I am burdened with chimpanzee feet, my shoe options are rather limited. I needed new shoes for the office and a pair of trail hikers for the summer. To find those items in size 8.5, quadruple wide, I pretty much had to hit up DSW.
Saturday, I entered the retail space that formerly housed tens of thousands of books and walked out with two pairs of shoes in size 8.5, 4E.
Standing there on the sidewalk in front of the store, the transaction from moments earlier replayed in my mind: The cashier scanning the bar codes and telling me the total, me handing over my Visa card, the cashier swiping it, me signing the little screen with the rubber pen, and the cashier giving me a receipt and a shopping bag.
I waited for a car to pass then crossed the lane to the parking lot, disturbed by the realization I had just spent more money at DSW in 2 minutes than I had at Borders in 18 years.