I went shopping today. I don't usually shop because I'm the kind of person that, for the most part, only buys what we need. But today I had a purpose... go to Border's. This "theme-park-multi-level-homogenize-the-world-mochaccino-land" has been a dwelling for our family. I have sipped coffee, took my children to story time, thumbed through beautiful cookbooks, purchased Jane Austen novels, bought my daughter her beloved copy of Little Women for Christmas, listened to a budding local singer/song writer, Russell Aldridge, and purchased my carefully selected kitchen calendar each year. Being inside has always made me hold my head higher and walk with my shoulders pulled back upon entering their doors. I felt more informed just being there, like I had entered this society I had always longed to be a part of.
But they are closing their doors. After numerous attempts at bailouts and such, no buyers were interested. The digital age, I'm afraid, has forever dented the need for bookstores. When I walked up today, there were no outside shelves holding discounted books with brightly colored photos on them to greet me, just concrete, brick & glass. When I opened the doors there were signs hanging from every possible space touting "Everything Must Go" in abrasive colors. I looked to my right and the coffee shop and seating area had been replaced with stacked chairs, empty shelves that were "Sold" and the racks that once held magazines were being stocked with the 2012 calendars they had previously ordered and are now 50% off... right out of the box. The Bargain Books section right off of that truly holds books at a bargain now. The journal/stationary/specialty gift/pen section was displayed as best they could and was heavily picked over. The DVD area was sparse to say the least and the discounts there were not deep enough to tempt me.
And all the while I am wandering around the store, I can't help thinking of the movie "You've Got Mail" with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. Tom Hanks opened a mega-book-mart just down the way from Meg Ryan's family owned bookstore and eventually sends her out of business. There is a scene that takes about 45 seconds, but encompassed how I felt for the employees that were left at Border's today as I pillaged through the remains of what was once a comfortable home away from home.
I wanted to tell them how sorry I was that this place could possibly be a Baby Gap. I wanted them to know that I will miss our random Friday or Saturday nights when we would wander the aisles and phone each other to come look at a new treasure we had found. I'm sure the staff that is left has dealt with the news in their own way. But for my family, it wasn't just a store.
My purchases today:
Persuasion, Jane Austen
The Tenant or Wildfell Hall, Anne Bronte
Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
The Essential Oils Book: Creating Personal Blends for Mind & Body, Colleen K Dodt
Eat Fat Lose Fat, Dr. Mary Enig & Sally Fallon
Wild Fermentation, Sandor Ellix Katz
More Fast Food My Way, Jacques Pepin
Even now as I type, my children are pawing through the pile of books at my feet. Flipping through the pages of Dickens and Bronte. Giving brief quotes on how to ferment our own cheese from raw milk, and commenting about gently scrambled eggs with coconut oil, rosemary sprigs and finished with goat cheese.
We are going to miss our store.