Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Barnes & Noble; Pulling In The Welcome Mat?

Cindy was meeting a friend of hers for tea and a short visit at the Barnes & Noble bookstore on Colonial tonight, so I tagged along to look over the books and magazines I don't need to buy.

After a few minutes of browsing I picked up a graphic novel and took the escalator upstairs, planning to plop down in one of their comfortable overstuffed chairs or at the least sit in one of their straight back wood chairs. But as the escalator slowly lifted me to the second floor, I looked around to see that something was amiss.

There were no overstuffed chairs in sight.

Even the straight back wooden chairs were few and far between and each was occupied. I finally spotted one of those little round step stools over in corner by the Spanish language books and sat down on that. During the 45 minutes or so that I sat there with my butt going numb and my back asking me what it had done to deserve such treatment, I watched other customers who were also looking for something to sit on finally give up and sit on the floor with their backs pressed up against the end of a bookcase. One young man just sprawled out on the floor flat on his stomach, propped his chin in his hands to read his chosen tome and made himself as comfortable as if he were in his own living room. I kept waiting for someone to round the corner and trip over his prone form.

So, what's going on? What prompted the removal of the nice, comfortable, overstuffed chairs? Was it too much reading and not enough buying? Homeless people taking up residence? Fistfights over who got to a chair first?

Whatever the reason, it sure felt like the welcome mat had been pulled in at Barnes & Noble.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Most likely it's to prevent all the reading and encourage buying. But as you saw, it doesn't work. People will just sprawl wherever. Even in my store, adults will either sit at the one kids table we have or sprawl on the floor to be tripped over.

I can see the point from a retail point of view. After all they're a store and unfortunately, they need to make money. At the same time as a consumer, I know there've been times that I've bought a book just because I got sucked into reading a few chapters.

BTW, when are you coming down to visit me at my store? LOL

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