I feel like I should say a few words regarding Borders Bookstores’ recent passing. But I’m not sure what those words are.
Like with most corporations whose services I’ve sporadically employed I feel only a faint attachment; an attachment made more tenuous by the fact that I know no human person who will be dramatically affected by its demise (i.e. employees; CEOs). We were kind of fair weather friends. I guess if I’ll miss anything about Borders, it’s the little things. Like the logo. The book signings (only took advantage of that once, a Molly Ringwald signing in Sacramento last year with my friend Sara; MR was is and forever will be the Queen of the ‘80s). The spatial layouts of the ones I knew well. The extra weight the Borders Reward card adds to my wallet. The Seattle’s Bests. The member emails (well maybe not).
I guess the thing I’ll miss the most is the actual experience of going to Borders. It’s been a go-to time-killer for years. (Equation: Nothing to do + Borders proximity.) Going to Borders usually meant strolling into the air conditioning; casually perusing the Best Sellers and Featured books on the front tables (prompting many an engaging political discussion; the Glenn Becks and Sarah Palins ripe for skewering); making my way past the CDs and DVDs, recoiling at the high costs; waiting as my boyfriend got his nerd fix in the fantasy aisle; grabbing a latte or a $4 clearance cookbook; brushing past the calendar displays (kittens, Yosemite, Justin Bieber); picking up chocolate impulse buys at the Ghirardelli display case; and if it was an ambitious Going to Borders, I’d head for the Literature rows and run my hand from A to Z, in search of the newest addition to My Beautiful Bookshelf.
But my purchases have been dwindling, all the more so since I developed an invigorated love of used bookstores. Also since iTunes. Since Netflix. I suppose a lot of other people weren’t making purchases either. I don’t have a head for business and I don’t know, or couldn’t tell you, exactly why Borders failed; some people blame the Internet. Or prices, or something like that. (This is the point where I usually opt out of earnest discussion to avoid sounding like an idiot.) It just strikes me as strange how the conqueror of the mom-and-pop has itself been conquered by these new technological/corporate frontiers, all in the space of a couple decades. Yet there are still "mom-and-pops", thankfully. Which is where you’ll find me, and now all the more so. (In terms of go-to time-killing, however, I've yet to find a suitable substitute.)
So goodbye Sunnyvale El Camino Real Borders. Goodbye San Francisco Stonestown Borders. Goodbye Sacramento Fair Oaks Borders. Goodbye San Jose Santana Row Borders. (Am I forgetting anybody?) And goodbye Davis Borders, where I slaughtered so many hours; I think I’ll miss you most of all.