Loyalty Fail.

18 Sep

I’m broke.


Not to say my bank account is bleeding, but between paying grad school tuition (sidenote: Can I just say that it feels so gratifying and responsible that I’m paying cash for school?) and all the weddings and trips this year, my wallet hurts. I posted last week about the book buying binge I went on, but I’m slightly ashamed of myself. I don’t know if anyone else has this same compulsion (though I suspect most booksellers, present and former, do) but I am extremely loyal to one major book retailer over another. It’s probably no shock if you’ve clicked through book links on this site to know that I’m pretty fiercely devoted to Barnes & Noble over Borders. For a year and a half after college while I was figuring out what I wanted to do with my life, I worked full-time at my local B&N. So now, when I go to buy books, I automatically turn left from my office front doors towards the Barnes & Noble, instead of right towards Borders. They’re equidistant from my building but I’ve had a hard time walking through the front doors of Borders, feeling like I was committing a little bit of retail backstabbing. It makes some amount of sense: I can find my way around any B&N practically blindfolded and it makes it significantly easier when I know what I’m after in particular. I’m sure B&N appreciates my long-standing business — my Member card dates from well before I was an employee — and until recently, I’ve been happy to give them the vast majority of my book buying budget. The rare exceptions were when I lived in Dupont Circle and made a point of supporting my local small businesses by shopping (and paying full price) at Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe. I was happy to do it, mostly because a few of the local bookstores had been shutting their doors and this one I wasn’t ready to see disappear. And not just for their fantastic ampersand logo. And mimosa brunch.


Recently, I’ve been straying. My hard-and-fast rules about being a strict B&N customer are quickly falling by the wayside. It started when I went looking for Lisa Tucker’s The Promised World the week it was released. My local B&N hadn’t gotten their shipment of the book in yet, but Borders was well-stocked. While I was there, I signed up for their rewards program. Which is free. B&N’s is $25 a year which I will still pay for but I started receiving coupons in my email from Borders immediately. I’ve been back several times now, bought more then a few books in the last two weeks, and I’m feeling less and less guilty about it. My wallet is thanking me (though not really because I’m still buying) but its hard not to feel like I’m betraying B&N every time a Borders charge shows up on my bank statement.


Does anyone else out there feel particularly loyal to one book store over another?


One Response to “Loyalty Fail.”

  1. Malnurtured Snay September 18, 2009 at 1:30 pm #

    I feel very loyal to Borders … but since I’ve been working there as a second job for a year and a half now, I’m sure you can understand why 🙂

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