Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Liquidation: We're All Going to Need Therapy

Liquidation sucks.

Let me expand on that: Liquidation sucks for employees.

To me, Borders was over the day liquidation started. We had no idea what was going to happen, but we did not anticipate the complete madness that ensued. That first Friday, the discount was only 10% but we were hammered all day long. Our normal sales goal was blown out the roof, even for Christmas standards. As we locked the doors that night, I had to fight back tears. The wreckage was unbelievable. From that day on, the store was unrecognizable. Our customers are not the same. Now we have "bargain hunters", mostly people who have never set foot in a bookstore but want great deals. These people do not care if they open merchandise and then throw it on the floor. These people have to touch everything in sight or it's not real. These people don't do math, so the constant question is, "How much is this?"

To cope with all of this, our team has bonded like I never thought we could. Instead of quitting on the spot or backstabbing each other, we've grouped together to get through this. We have rubber band fights and build forts. We blew up all the balloons in the story time supply closet and put them in our GM's office. We push each other around on carts and laugh until we can't breathe. We put random Star Wars sound effects on the overhead. We made our own mixed CDs with REM ("It's the end of the world as we know it!") and SemiSonic ("Closing time, you don't have to go home but you can't stay here.") We dance to *NSYNC out on the floor for customers to see and laugh when they don't even care. Most of all, we lean on each other for job hunting and career advise. I have some really great co-workers, and the end of Borders will mean the end of a great team. I don't know if I'll find a workplace like this again, but I hope it's out there.

My current plan is as follows: substitute teaching (again...) while I work my way into the Peace Corps. My recruiter is working with me to put together the perfect application, which is refreshing. Instead of a rejection, someone wants to give me a try! There is light at the end of this tunnel. While I wished for two years to find a full time teaching job here in Texas, it seems that Texas doesn't want me. I'm meant for bigger and better things. When I return from overseas, I hope to continue my education and pursue my doctorate degree in theatre history or theatre education. After putting this "plan" together, the future doesn't seem so scary anymore.

I'll close with a recent quote by a customer in response to the fact that we can no longer use computers to look up books: "You mean I actually have to look on the shelf??!!"

No comments: