R.I.P. Borders?

Posted: April 9, 2011 in The Roper Files
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The times they are a-changing; it’s true. But I’ve never been the type of person who accepts change. It’s one thing to “move my cheese” but it’s a whole different thing to have your way with it, kill it and chop it up into little pieces and toss it in the landfill.

Paper books appear to be going the way of VHS tapes, cassettes and vinyl records, and the mega-chains like Barnes and Noble as well as Borders seem to be in a death-throe of make-it-or-break-it and much like Starbucks are closing stores and cutting corners to survive. I visited the local Borders last night and the employees all had the same look on their faces the employees at American Airlines had when I took a flight to LA two weeks after 9/11.

And while some people sneer and say “Good Riddance”, “Burn In Hell” etc I can’t help but be a little sad.  Yeah sure Borders  put a lot of Mom and Pop stores out of business, but they are the last place here locally I can walk into and find the Rhino CD re-issues of the Ramones 70’s LPs or the only place in town I know of that still carries jazz CDs.   Target,WalMart and Best Buy only stock the dreck that’s currently popular this week.

And while EVERYTHING’S available on Amazon, you still have to pay for shipping and handling, the CC charge etc. I’m just old-fashioned I guess. I LIKE walking through a physical store, picking things up and looking at them. “Hey look what I found” still goes a long way with me. Amazon is a 24 hour, seven day a week store that has everything all the time but in a way that’s seems a little over-whelming to me; I don’t have enough coins to toss in that fountain.

I will confess to looking for books at our local Half Price Stores before I buy them at Borders, but still they are the only place left locally otherwise where I can find books like George Carlin’s LAST WORDS or drummer Bill Bruford’s autobiography which I saw last night. But even before their recent downturn they always had overstock shelves with marked down merchandise; when I go there it’s the first place in the store I zero in on. Most of it’s crap they couldn’t sell (see above) but I’ve also found some really good deals on DVDs, CDs and oh yes books too in the overstock bins: some great jazz discs, HAIRSPRAY (the original John Waters version) and BLUE VELVET for $8 each (which is about what DVDs ought to cost anyway) and once in a while an interesting book or two.

Last night I dropped a little over twenty dollars on two Sonny Rollins CDs; “Plus Four” and “Tenor Madness”  They only clock in at about thirty minutes each but for one sweet glorious hour my lonely apartment swells with the sounds of cool jazz. A tenor sax, stand-up bass and drum kit are helping to soothe this savage beast. I doubt if the twenty-odd dollars I spent is going to save Borders, but at least I have two new CDs as a souvenir.

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