Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Flushed Away

A reader types (Not one of our readers, mind you) w/ a pretty good (Because it matches our prejudices.) recap of the Borders bust:
Fine if you're flush, but Borders wasn't. Speaking of flushing, that was the M.O. of shelf merchandising; all of the in-section books had to shelved so that the edges of the spines were flush with the edge of the shelf. We'd get messages during crunch times from Ann Arbor that we be lean and mean; only do what was absolutely necessary; be smart with time and tasks; concentrate on sales. But a day later we'd get a message from the district manager that they would be visiting and that the store should be fully flushed.

Wasted time. Wasted payroll. Inventory sitting in the stockroom because there is not the time or the staff to get it out.
We'd left before management got around to the pagers & walkie-talkies, but the "flushing" thing was acted out many a time. Fucking idiots.


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Flushing books?

Fahrenheit H2O!

Tom said...

Christ, M. You worked at Borders?

I run an online bookstore that gets all its inventory fulfilled by Amazon (meaning, they steal our money with their outrageous "commissions"), but I mostly get to hang out in a basement and ogle the attractive camp counselors (all of legal age, mind you)who share the building with me.

BTW, I'm pretty sure that our business model is unsustainable and that I'll be out of a job in a couple of months, but who would deliberately put themselves out of a job by telling the non-profit overlords THAT unpleasant fact?

Which is to say, Amazon is evil. Maybe more evil than the dearly departed corporation mentioned in your post.

Aside from the lighting and the muzak, I never really minded Borders that much, as a customer. The face of utter resignation on all of the employees, though, leads me to believe that it must have been one hell of a shit place to work.

Deepest sympathies &c.

M. Bouffant said...

Lit. Ed.:

1998-2002. Mostly overnight, stocking (& "flushing") the shelves, & picking up & re-stocking the crap people left all over the store all day long.

As far as a crummy place to work, yes, & they fired the editorial us merely for telling an overseer that we had to get out of there before we killed someone. Imagine!

The store where we worked was shuttered even before the current corporate meltdown. It was something like 50,000 sq. ft. on two floors, & we were told they would never again open a store that large, 'cause they just couldn't make a profit on it. They may never have opened another store again, period.

Said store, by the way, was w/in a mile of the UCLA campus. If they couldn't make a go of it there ...

Tom said...

At least you didn't have to interact with customers.

But srsly. If you gave me 50,000 square feet within a mile of UCLA, I'd lease 49,000 feet of it out to life coaches and fitness gurus and psychologists, put up a front "bookstore," and sell Adderall and individual cigarettes illicitly. Maybe I'd throw in an espresso maker, just to make it seem on the level.

But no one wants to listen to MY ideas, because they're illegal. Harrumph. At least I wouldn't go bankrupt.