Yesterday, I went on an "adventure" with Ron and Noah (that's what Noah calls them, anyway!)
Despite getting heaps of books for free as a reviewer, I spend a great deal of coin on books via Amazon and, when I'm in the vicinity, local brick-and-mortar bookstores (sadly, none are close).
So we were at the Barnes and Noble bookstore in Morgantown, West Virginia, right? Now, when we go there, we usually spend about 2 hours or more there...and $100-$200 (hey, everyone has to have a vice!)
Noah spent probably 40 minutes selecting a guide to France (his newest interest). I spent about 40 minutes collecting various books (at least $100 worth). I asked them up front if I can keep my stash there (who wants to lug around tons of books while browsing?) and they kindly allowed me to.
Another 20 minutes goes by, and I add more to the stash. They just smile as I reach over and place more on the towering stack (well, the female clerks do).
We then commence to the cafe to look over/read about a dozen more books we want to get, erstwhile drinking Starbucks Mocha Coconut iced coffee and noshing on Candy Bar Cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory. After about 20 minutes, and winnowing down our choices, we go to check out.
I ask for my stack, please.
The young female clerk's eyes go wide. She stammers..."We...put them away."
Blood pressure goes from 120/70 to ballistic.
A bald-headed, faux-hipster 50-something jerk of an associate begins laughing (he was conversing with two other employees at the end of the row of registers). They were looking horrified (not sure if it was at him...or me).
I ask loudly, "This is funny to you?"
I then exclaim, "This...this is why I am a loyal Amazon fan. Why I use a Kindle. Why I spend most of my money there." (In fact--and I didn't mention this because I didn't want to deflate the import of my diatribe--it's also one reason why I ePublish exclusively through Kindle.)
The young clerk checking me out apologizes profusely. I'm just shaking my head, trying not to lose it.
One of the other associates, a cool guy I had the pleasure of chatting with earlier about Transcendalist Spirituality, Marxist economics and "everyone's right to a public defense--it's a constitutional thing" (he just got his JD and was waiting to pass the bar), comes up to me with a book and bookmark I had picked out.
"Are you psychic?" I couldn't believe it! (Hey, I'm a New Ager...I tend to look for far-out synchronicities...so sue me).
"No", he replied sheepishly. "We're trying to remember what we put away and get them back for you." (Did I mention I'm pretty fearsome, even when I don't try to be?)
I told hm not to bother. Really.
What irks me is that I was almost out the door when I remembered one of the major things I wanted to get at BN: a French kit so Mr. Noah could learn le français.
So I had to go back, find it and buy it.
Once in the car, I started to remember all the books I had on my stack...
One of them was the coolest Sherlock Holmes Casebook thing that I wanted to get Noah for his birthday.
Le sigh. Arguably the worst rub? I walked out of there $170 poorer... ::face palm::
This isn't the first time I had a bad experience with that over-the-hill hipster douchebag, either. And, the Greensburg, Pennsylvania Barnes and Noble isn't without blemish: I remember when there were lines for Harry Potter releases and a 40-something male associate was rude to everyone and positively hostile.
This is one reason I didn't feel sorry when Borders closed (they had some real idiots, too), nor do I feel bad that most chain bookstores are (hopefully?) hurting: they don't GET customer service. They thought they all had us in the (book)bag, free to treat us bibliophiles like shit.
Well, dumbasses, Amazon.com--and the eBook and indie revolution--has shown you otherwise.
May your rotting corporate corpse be littered with deckle-edged toilet paper wiped on Jonathan Franzen's self-important ass.