Borders Doesn't Want to Sell Me Books


Sometimes I feel bad for the small bookstore owner, noting their courageous competition against superstores like Borders, discount warehouses, and Wal-Mart. But it's clear to me that independent booksellers almost always beat the big boys in service, and that service must never be compromised.

Case in point: Last night I searched online and found that the Borders store nearest to my workplace carried in stock a Thomas the Tank Engine book I wanted for my son. Then I saw this:


In theory, Borders will find the book to verify that it is still in stock, reserve it for you, and email you back within 2 business hours. Sounds like a time-saver, so I did it.

And an hour after opening, the store indeed sent an email with this disappointing message:

Thank you for your online reservation request. We're sorry to say that the remaining stock of the item you requested has been purchased since our last online availability update. You may want to check online to see if there are other items that will meet your needs. Your local store will also be happy to special order the item, if you wish.
Blah, blah, blah...

To make a long story short, I checked online again, and the book was still in stock. So I went to the store, and within 30 seconds I found the book I had reserved, exactly where it should be in the Children's book section. Surprise, surprise.

Did Borders employees even bother to check the shelves? I'm not surprised. My previous encounters with Borders elsewhere were also sub-par.


One of books i bought from Borders in Washington a couple of years back had half of the chapters missing; i couldn't get a replacement. I did email the author as well. But i have to say their service is a lot better than in many other countries.

Methinks they didn't actually check the shelves, but relied on a stock-keeping program, which probably said there weren't any in stock. For major shops, it's a big hassle to keep accurate stock. It's a huge mess at the place where I work.

If you want a book so bad just go in the store and find it yourself or ask someone in the store to find it for you. 90% of the online reserves are not picked-up anyway so special attention is not really given to them. Special attention, actual finding of merchandise,and great customer service is reserved for the customer who actually walks in the store and pays for the merchandise. Not some lazy person sitting at a computer who makes an employee spend time searching for merchandise that he forgets to pick-up. Have some personal responsibility and go get what you want-don't rely on someone else to find it for you.


Powered by Movable Type 5.02

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Kevin published on August 5, 2005 2:55 PM.

Markets in Everything: Breast Milk Edition (Updated) was the previous entry in this blog.

Thought of the Day is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.