Tuesday, August 2, 2011


The thing about a liquidation is that everything has to be sold. Or, as the many bright yellow signs posted all over say, "EVERYTHING MUST GO!" Because liquidation--at least, the process of liquidation--is all about the signs. They're everywhere, and if you haven't been in to a liquidating Borders and you think I'm exaggerating, think again. Signs grow thickly from the ceiling like demented jungle vines, a riot of yellow and red. Signs form a wallpaper behind the cash registers. NO CHECKS. ALL SALES FINAL. NO CHECKS. ALL SALES FINAL. NO CHECKS. ALL SALES FINAL. You really can't miss them.

In addition to the EVERYTHING MUST GO! signs dangling from the ceiling, there are also signs that proclaim EVERYTHING 20-40% OFF! (have I mentioned that the exclamation point is also very important to the liquidation sale process?) and STORE CLOSING. Every single endcap has a sign that indicates the percentage discount in that section. Every other case in each section has the same sign, in addition to a chart so that each customer can easily figure out how much the coveted item will cost after the discount.

The signs are tacky, really tacky, but they do deliver the message. Over and over and over. 

And yet. 

People wait in a long line to return an item they bought in a moment of close-out fever and decided, upon more rational reflection, they didn't need. Or they wait in a long line and when given their total pull out the check book.

"What do you mean no returns! It doesn't say that anywhere." 

"What, I can't write a check?"

Or they'll stalk the store tracking down a bookseller to ask what the discount is in a given section. (Maybe they hope it'll somehow be better than the one that's posted.)

There are big signs plastered across all of the computer monitors indicating that they're out of order. So why do I see people trying to boot them up?

Jason is a bookseller in my store who's compiling a series of bookstore anecdotes he's going to call Why Are You in a Bookstore If You Can't Read? I mean, really folks.


EnriqueFreeque said...


Yeah, but what about your blind clientele? What good are signs to them?

Rebecca Glenn said...

Oh my god, you're right. The blind are among the biggest consumers of the printed word. How short-sighted of us.

J.G. said...

I've seen those signs . . .

Is Jason taking submissions? I have a few classic stories from my bookseller days I could send in.

Rebecca Glenn said...

Oh, I bet Jason would be more than happy to add to his collection. What did Tolstoy say? "All happy customers are alike, every silly customer is silly in his own way" or, um, something like that.