Thursday, August 18, 2011
Bye, Bye Borders
I am heartbroken by the demise of my favorite bookstore. I loved shopping in Borders Books! I can’t tell you how many times I came across a great book just because I was browsing the shelves. I could buy it, grab a cup of coffee and get started reading it immediately (and not have to wait days on the postman). Don’t get me wrong, Amazon is great. Heck I publish and sell my books through Amazon. Yet, there is something about the Borders experience that I will definitely miss.
One of my best friends and I had a ritual. Every time I’d go home for a visit, we’d meet up at Borders. We’d browse the shelves, discuss the books and have a few good laughs. Next, we head downstairs for lunch at my favorite Chinese restaurant. What will we do now?
But the demise of Borders goes a lot deeper than my personal enjoyment. I worry about the overwhelming dominance of all things Internet. I liked going to Borders. I liked chatting up other bibliophiles. I liked picking up the books and flipping through the pages. I liked having that cup of coffee surrounded by other readers. I liked walking out of the store with my books in hand. I get none of that with an Internet purchase done in the silence and security of my own home. Sure, I can browse, but it isn’t the same.
Call me old-fashioned but I actually like getting out of the house. I like seeing other people. I like talking to other people. Sadly, I think those experiences are dying. We can download movies from the comfort of our homes through Netflix. We can buy books, clothes and just about everything else online. Who needs to actually see or speak to friends when you can Facebook, Tweet or text them? Kids don’t play outside anymore. They stay at home watching movies, playing video games and going online.
It isn’t surprising to me that common courtesy is becoming increasingly uncommon. Behind the anonymity of the computer, we don’t have to be nice, considerate or courteous. Is it any wonder that we are becoming less nice, considerate and courteous in the ‘real’ world?
A trip to the grocery store often illustrates my point in vivid color. As I look over the shelves for my favorite products, increasingly the people who walk in front of me can’t even mutter an “Excuse me.” As I check out, often the cashier doesn’t even make eye contact. At the end of the exchange, instead of telling me how much I owe, on many occasions, I’m expected to view my balance on the register. I’m not saying this happens all the time but it happens much too frequently.
I shudder to think about where all of this is headed.
I guess for now, I’ll have to find a Barnes and Nobles to get my book fix, still it won’t be the same.