19 July 2011

Goodbye Borders

     As much as it is possible to love a large chain store that homogenizes tastes across our vast nation, I have loved Borders. The store combined the best of variegated selection with the feel of a local one off bookstore. Not only for me, but for my marriage, Borders has been a favorite place for the Mrs. and I to go when we want to get out of the house.  Maybe we find a nice new book, maybe we merely browse, but we'd enjoy a cup of coffee, a pastry, and some time together watching the world go by.  And now we'll be watching Borders go by.

     The deep streak of money-saving bargain-hunter that runs through me is thrilled at the prospect of stuff I like going on deep discount.  Here's hoping that I can grab a handful of Moleskin notebooks for 50% off or more, and maybe some fountain pens to boot (note to self:  invest in a nice fountain pen, a la Hans Landa). However, I am saddened that I soon won't have the option to browse through their selection of ridiculously niche magazines (e.g. Eastern Shore Brides Who Love Ducks And Shetland Pony Polo ... okay maybe not), nor will I have the option of sitting in the comfy and worn leather chairs that are so welcoming to tired feet and hungry eyes while waiting for her to finish her browsing, maybe taking time to think of what I might like to add to the shelves some day.

     I, author, poet, and diarist that I am, have turned to Borders over the years to help me achieve a little style while I write. I confess, as hinted above, to owning Moleskin and am something of an addict for the disposable fountain pens they keep stocked by the cash registers. I like looking over the stationary on offer almost as much as I like looking at the books with the words already in them, feeling the potential, the unobserved states fluctuating as the virgin pages remained unstained by inky thought. In kind with such inspiration, the lighting, warm wood paneling & paint colors, and odor of coffee mingling with booksmell have also made Borders a comfort over the years.  I will miss knowing that I can always go there, no matter if its Bronxville or Butte, and be so welcomed by carefully crafted ambience.

     And now we are left with Barnes & Noble, and that not even in my home town, a place where a book store of such grand scope is desperately needed to bring some semblance of culture to the needy masses.  Perhaps Barnes & Noble will move in, and this is better than nothing, but by contrast Barnes & Noble has a box store feel to it that doesn't calm me into opening my wallet like Borders has.  Though a dedicated book store is much better than having Wal-Mart or Target as our only local booksellers.

     Borders, I will miss you.  Thank you for the years of books, words, paper, ink, coffee, and arguably some small role in building the foundation of my marriage.  You were a box store, a corporate chain that gave space to an eReader early but failed to grasp its importance, but you will always have a special place in my heart, even as I remove my Border's Rewards card from my wallet.  Amen.

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