11/16/2017 by syrbal-labrys
Barnes and Noble in Lakewood is the last book store near us here in this wet gray November Washington State. I love book stores. I go there at the end of other shopping/errand/bill paying rounds. I get coffee at the cafe and a snack. I browse through books and/or magazines or cards. I rest for thirty minutes before resuming the hectic pace of the day/week.
This summer, our Barnes and Noble “remodeled” their cafe. They didn’t remodel. They took OUT about one third of the seating. So, since then finding a seat was very difficult. Today? It was impossible, because they took out enough of the remaining seating to equal a total loss of about 50% — filling the space with calendar racks and notebook merchandise stands.
So we went in and got coffee and then realized there were no seats. We complained to the manager about the so-called remodeling. She offered to throw out customers who “are just in there studying.” Wrong answer, damn it. I told her she should throw the merchandise out of the damned cafe, that throwing out already paid-up customers who were not conveniently leaving fast enough was NOT the answer.
(Un)Dear Barnes and Noble:
When you reduce “relaxation space” in your book store, (and there really aren’t near so many chairs elsewhere in the store as there once were, either) the message I receive loud and clear is “Give us your money and get OUT.” You called reducing seats in the cafe “remodeling” — then you shrank it more with merchandise taking more seats. So clearly you don’t care what customers want – you just want us to pay and go.
So, you know what? That’s what I did. I hope you enjoy the $40 for a holiday gift and holiday cards. We drank our coffee and ate our cookies in our car in your parking lot. This was likely our last purchase. I drive 40 minutes to reach your store. I can save gas by buying books online and make my own cookies. IF I have to rest and eat while out and about, there is a Panera across the parking lot; they don’t make me feel I must pay up and get out.
THIS is another reason some brick and mortar stores are not thriving. You make customers feel unwanted. So, this was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I can drive to Portland’s Powells four times a year and get a mini-vacation out of it. I don’t HAVE to support a business that doesn’t care what I want AS a customer.
A One-Time Member