Sad Bookstores, so sad…

Where are all the customers?

I visited 5 bookstores this past weekend for my St. Louis Bookstore Review.  Three were Borders and two were B&N.  And I’m not happy to report that out of all 5 stores – spending 20 minutes or more in each – not a single employee spoke to me.

I’ve contributed to the death of brick and mortar stores myself over the years – buying online and now owning a Kindle.  But it’s not customers who are killing the bookstores by not shopping there.  It’s the lack of customer service.  I saw employees sweeping the floor, manning the register, holding up the “customer service” desk.  But I didn’t see any employees actually working or interacting with customers on the sales floor.

I’ve tried to keep my reviews as positive as possible, but I can only say so much on how well a store is stocked or how nice their gift selection is.  I reserved my buying for the stores where an employee helped me, and after visiting five stores in one day, I still came home empty handed.  And in the one store where I actually saw an employee on the floor, he walked right by, looked at me and didn’t say a word.

And yet, just last week I went to three independently owned bookstores in one day and was immediately greeted in all three right when I walked in the door.  I’ve worked in bookstores before, and worked customer service my whole life, so I know the business.  And now I know why business is lacking.  Check the blog every day this week for a new review.


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