Saturday, August 27, 2011

A visit to Borders

I wasn’t ready for it, didn’t expect the wave of grief that washed over me when I walked through the doors of our local Borders. My lips quivered and I swallowed hard, like I was forcing a softball down my tight, dry throat.

Truth is I’m losing a friend – a really good friend – and it completely sucks.

This is the place my teenage sons found refuge on a weekend night and I knew they would be safe nestled in a corner reading a book or paging through a magazine while sipping hot chocolate in the cafe. This is the place where I’d lug my laptop (hoping to find a table by an outlet) to write the day away. A place that’s been my home away from home for so long that I know every nook and cranny.

Everything in the store was for sale – even the shelves. Items were priced at 50 percent off and some were even 70 percent off. I grabbed three neat bags (which I planned to buy and give as gifts) and filled them with numerous items. There was the Hooked on Phonics Discover Reading: Toddler Edition, the Wimpy Kid Scrabble Game, five different desk calendars, eight books and a bunch of other stuff. I figured that at these prices I could do a lot of Christmas shopping, and I did. In fact, I had to ask to leave the three bags that I had filled at the counter so I could continue shopping. They were too heavy to carry.

When I finally checked out, I was happy for all the neat Christmas presents I had bought and the money I had saved, but I was sad for the reason why.

I have so many wonderful memories of Borders. There was the time my sons and I waited with hundreds of other people in the crowded store for the midnight release of the last Harry Potter book. The times I’d meet a fellow writer for coffee and we’d gab the night away outlining our stories, helping each other with plot points and dreaming of the day our books would grace the store shelves.

As I left the store I sniffed and my son asked if I was all right. “Yeah,” I told him. “I just wasn’t prepared for how I would feel. I wish I could rewrite the ending.”

Do you have any Borders memories you’d like to share. I’d love to hear them.


  1. I remember Borders when it was just one store on State Street in Ann Arbor. I went there so much that I got to know some of the employees by name.

    Then when we moved to the east side of Ann Arbor, they opened a Borders close to our home. My daughter and I spent many happy times there. It's very sad they're closing.

  2. No memories but it is always sad when a real (as opposed to virtual) bookstore closes. It worries me.

  3. I used to work for Borders. I saw this coming a long time ago. Unfortunately, the company leadership were just a bunch of idiots. They made ghastly business choices, and in the end it killed the company.

    I'm sad to see the company dissolve, and I genuinely hoped they would fix their bad practices in time to save the company. It breaks my heart to see all those jobs destroyed, to see the entire landscape of the book industry change almost overnight, and it even angers me a bit that the leaders at corporate were so blind to the common sense solutions that would have made them more profitable while saving their business.

  4. Borders closing really bums me out. Maybe for more reasons than one. But it was one of my first hangouts as a kid. I also went there once a week with my kids while I was teaching them to read. A treat would be they could pick out their own book and create their own library. Now as an author, I've noticed that their small but constant purchases of my books have stopped. Sigh, oh well, I only hope that something changes.