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Barnes and Noble is Scum

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I’m all about Amazon.com from now on. B&N screwed me.

I’ve been reading all weekend about stuff I should have been reading two weeks ago. Am I lazy? No. B&N is at fault. They were late in delivering my books. Late, and arrogant.

I called their so-called “Customer Service” line twice. Once, I was told told to call back later. The other time, I was mocked and hung up on.

I guess they don’t want my money. So I’ll go where I’m treated a ‘lil better: Amazon.com.

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About RJ

  • Chris Wilson

    I have learned to never go to B & N with something specific in mind. I just browse and almost always find something that sparks my interest. Now if I want something specific – i.e. Life’s Little Instruction Book Part 12 – well, I go to Amazon and happily order away……

  • http://www.tekwh0re.net Ms. Tek

    BARNES AND NOBEL SUCKS DONKEY ASS!

  • Eric Olsen

    RJ, you have found a friend

  • Dwaine AKA Scooter AKA D.J.

    RJ, did ya really have to post two complaints about B&N? We heard you the first time.

  • Eric Olsen

    maybe one was for Barnes and one was for Noble

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    Thank God this didn’t happen to Sam Vaknin before he left. We would be reading about it the 100th time now.

  • http://www.gwbush.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    Sorry about the 2nd post. I mistakenly thought the first one didn’t go through… :-/

  • http://www.memepool.com Dan

    Hey, BN.com is not bad compared to their bricks-and-mortar stores. BN.com only sucks bad, while their retail stores are just god-awful.

  • noble

    how about leaving your house, then you can get the books the day you want them, and we won’t have to read your complaints about slow delivery.

  • Ms. Noble

    I am a B&N employee & I am personally sick and tired of hearing your damn complaints. I work for an awesome company-there are way too many books out there to physically carry in the store-we only have so much space, so we carry what’s most popular. Anything else you might need, we can order, as long as it’s in print-it only takes a couple days, and if it’s not what you were looking for, you’re not obligated to buy it. If your book is out of print, you can still get it on our website. I hate when you guys come in and get pissed cause your book isn’t in stock, & you don’t have time for us to order it cause you need it TODAY for school, or your book club, or your sister’s birthday. If you knew you needed the damn book, you shouldn’t have waited til the last minute! I see teachers do this all the time & it boggles my mind. If you’re a procrastinator, you should be used to disappointment by now. WE’RE DOING THE BEST WE CAN! THE PUBLIC’S DEMANDS ARE VARIED AND PLENTIFUL & I THINK WE’RE DOING A COMMENDABLE JOB OF MEETING THEM!

  • commenting

    I am ALSO an employee at B&N, and I will admit that the truth is inbetween. The ONLY reason why it’s a good company to work for – i.e. Medical Care, paid sick days, etc… – is because they don’t want their workers to unionize, ala Borders. Other than that, it suffers from ALL of the same faults as most corporations; slow to change, no one to take responsibility, a crushing heirarchy that squeezes the humanity out of its workers, and the store where I work specifically is a gynocratic dictatorship of oppression and nepotism.
    Customers are perhaps the worst kind of human, and their requests are almost ALWAYS ridiculous, but unlike some corporations like Amazon.com, B&N suffers from “Old Decision Making Illness,” otherwise known as ODMI. I am the ONLY employee (keep in mind, I’m at the lowest rung in the shit heep, and actually have a bachelor’s degree), at my work that knows ANYTHING about computers. Our operating system is windows 9fucking5, and it takes longer to log into the computers than it does to read “War and Peace.” As far as the ODMI goes, B&N is more interested in quarterly profits than in doing anything for the longterm, so all of its technology is out of date, its managers are out of date – as is their way of thinking – it takes WEEKS to get ordered items as opposed to a day or two and everything sells for retail.
    I work there, and our 30% discount for employees means that stuff on Amazon.com is only SLIGHTLY cheaper! Don’t mistake an easy work environment for a good one. B&N is a frustrating place to work, I can only imagine how painful it must be to shop there, especially with the kind of customer service that I see my fellow co-workers giving our customers. It’s almost universally true that the employees with the WORST customer service skills are the ones that get promoted too.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Borders seems so much better run than B&N I can’t understand how B&N manages to stay in business.

    As for amazon.com – they are great in many ways, but wait until you have a non-standard customer support issue, and good luck.

    Dave

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    I normally have mild disdain huge corporations and mega-stores and try and support mom-and-pop operations when I can, but I find myself really being won over by cheap, effective enterprisees like Amazon and Netflix.

    I find that I save a LOT more money by ordering from Amazon or getting my movies through Netflix than I would by frequenting a brick-and-mortar store owned by friendly folks. I’ll still go to the well-meaning bookstores if I need an obscure academic book or to browse and say hi or if I need an obscure foreign film at the art-house video store (although Netflix has an awesome foreign film selection), but I find that’s much less frequent now that the evil corporations have made life so much easier for me.

    That is all.

  • Pete

    Same problem I ordered over 35 days ago and have had nothing but trouble. Never again. I will use Amazon.com from now on.

  • bnshiva

    I must add myself to the list of bad experiences with Barnes and Noble. A few days ago, I was banned from ALL Barnes and Noble stores around the country (I have never heard of such a thing). The reason, I requested that Barnes and Noble clean their bathrooms so children and myself, do not get covered in feces and urine. My mistake is that I should have made my request anonymously. Live and learn. I then recieved a phone call from the District Manager who was absolutely rude to me on the phone and made false accusations that I was using Google.com to contact her employees. How this is done is not in my network of knowledge, plus I use a9.com for a search engine.
    Most of the time, some the employees, who can tolerate the management, take out the trash from the Cafe and light up some weed. They also transact their drug deals in the process on their cell phones. Security is an absolute joke. I once saw a guy walk out with a $50.00 box of Godvia chocolates. I pointed it out and the management just shrugged. The security alarms go off all the time, but it’s largely a joke. Everyone laughs because no one really cares.
    I’ve decided to tell everyone I know to take their business to Barnes and Noble’s competitors. They are sitting on their laurels and it’s only a matter of time before they fall off their high horse. If you do wish to do business with them on a very brief basis, you can tolerate them, but if you wish to have a long term relationship with them, I suggest you find another supplier. Also, you’re not buying “new” books at Barnes and Noble. Employees are allowed to take them home to read them after which they are put back on the shelf to sell. Coffee stains and other types of stains are not uncommon. During business hours, customers are allowed to browse and destroy and number of books they choose. There is no accountability among the management and they cover their tracks with lies and so forth.
    If there’s anything I’ve learned from dealing with Barnes and Noble is that they are not customer friendly and I should have stopped doing business with them years ago. Now that I am banned from all their stores, I intend to do just that. Don’t bother buying a membership card for $25.00 it’s not worth it. Don’t bother getting their Mastercard because you must first be a member and your membership is automatically renewed once you get the credit card. Read the fine print. You will hear many good stories about Barnes and Noble, but in general you will hear more horror stories than good.
    As with any advise, do your homework before taking mine seriously. You’ll find that I am correct.

  • TARA

    BARNES AND NOBLE IS NOT A GOOD PLACE TO WORK. THEY STEP ON THE NECKS OS THEIR WORKERS. THEY OFFER MEAGER INCREASES OF .25 AND .50 A YEAR. THERE IS A KNOWN THREAT OF TERMINATION IF THERE IS ANY MENTION OF TRYING TO FORM A UNION. I NO LONGER WORK FOR THEM AND I WILL NEVER SHOP IN ANY OF THEIR STORES EVER AGAIN!!!!

  • Hawkeye

    I don’t work for Barnes and Noble buthave had mostly good experiences there. I’m not sure why people don’t post the actual store where they had the problem instead of making general statements about a chain that covers the entire country.

  • http://www.bookofralph.com John McNally

    I used to only go to independent bookstores, where the booksellers actually got to know the customers and would make intelligent recommendations (it’s called “hand-selling” in the business), but both B&N and Borders have both squeezed most of these places out of business. If you want to support independents, go to booksense.com, and they will locate the nearest independent bookstore to you, which will sell you on-line whatever you’re looking for. Unlike Amazon, booksense’s money gets filtered back into your community. It’s not as slick as Amazon and they don’t offer as good of discounts, but the long-term benefits should make it worthwhile. John McNally (www.bookofralph.com)

  • Mike Rodriguez

    I work for Barnes & Noble. As I have read some of your comments here, I find various bits and pieces laughable compared to the atrocious workplace that I knew as BEST BUY. Those of you that are employed at Barnes & Noble should quit and work for Best Buy for about 6 months. Only about 10% of you would last that long, and then even most of you would BEG for your jobs back at B&N. I have never dealt with customers worse than those at Best Buy. Trust me, go to Bestbuysux.org, and you will see what I am talking about. About 70% of the negative employee posts on that website are true. When I got the job at B&N, I was the happiest retail employee in the world. I’ve been there 2 years now, and still like the job.

  • http:paperfrigate.blogspot.com DrPat

    All of which shows, YMMV (your mileage may vary) applies in any walk of life. I buy from anyone who has the book I’m after, and if I get great discounts online, it is offset by the need to wait for the book to be shipped to me.

    Hand-selling, by the way, only works if you can find a philosophically-compatible bookseller. Try getting a lib-focused bookseller to recommend a good read by Ann Coulter, Bill Bennett or Frank Gaffney. Not gonna happen!

  • Mohjho

    Barnes & Noble has air conditioning, books, and coffee, thats good enough for me.

  • Steve Burns

    I worked for Barnes and Noble for 21 years, and when my store was to close, first I was told that there would be full time jobs at other stores for all the lead booksellers[myself included], but 6 months later I was informed I could not work full time anymore and was strongly persuaded to take severance pay. I thought about that last year and 1/2 of the assistant manager niggling at me and writing me up about every trivial thing, and felt that I had been set up. What do you people think?

  • Jeremy Kelley

    I also have worked for the company for about 6 years now. It has been a great company to work for while I attend school. I have worked for a few stores across California and have never had a problem with staff or managers. They have gone out of their way to work around my school schedule. . . maybe B&N are managed better on the West Coast?

    As far as customers, every store I have worked for has gone out of its way to make customers happy so I am sorry for all of your bad experiences.

  • April

    While I humbly respect the opinions of employees…
    I am done with Barnes and Noble…hell Borders…
    This little “credit card” promotion has irritated me to no end.
    Every employee is set on “kill” and customer service has been deadly for the past two weeks.
    As a teacher, i enjoy a 20% discount…which is much better than the card that is being “pushed.”
    After I have informed the employee that I enjoy a discount…I am treated to the same identical speech about how this card can ease my life and save me money- NO ONE IS LISTENING
    Nice contest-to hell with customer service…..
    Bye

  • JT

    I was practically attacked by an employee at exactly closing time as she demanded I pay for my books or put them down. I complained to the manager but he didn’t seem to care. I’ll take my money elsewhere

  • Noblewoman

    I worked at Barnes and Noble for years and it would have been a wonderful place to work if it were not for one thing: the customers.

    BN emplpoyees are regularly threatened, cursed at and belittled by the customers. We have to clean up literal crap in the restrooms left by people who think it is funny to leave their bodily fluids on the floor (and in some cases, on the walls). We see people masturbating in the chairs and at the magazine stand and then when we dare to ask them to stop or kick them out, they get physical with us or at the very least, they threaten us upon leaving. There have been employees that have had their tires slashed or have had to file restraining orders against customers for having refused their romantic advances.

    One comment to all of the parents out there: Barnes and Noble’s childrens section is not a daycare. The number of times parents leave their 3-6 year old kids in the kids section and then leave the store to shop in the rest of the mall is unbelievable! Then when they come back to the store they get mad when they can’t find their kid. If they can find their kid, they usually leave without buying anything, and they don’t make Jr. clean up the huge mess he has made in the kids section.

    By the way, there is a reason that the books you buy may have folded pages, marks, stains, etc. It’s because when people walk into Barnes and Noble all of their manners fly right out the window. I would say that we are not a library, but most people treat library books better than they treat our books. People will highlight passages, fold pages over, use them as coasters, etc. and when we try to stop them, we get verbally abused by them.

    As for staying past closing time, IT’S CLOSING TIME! What do you think that means?! Buy your crap or get out, don’t wander around the store for another 10 minutes, or you’re right, we won’t be happy with you.

    I realize there are employees at BN who may not have the best customer service skills, but you need to meet us at least a quarter of the way by being civil to us. I am sorry we don’t have the rare, obscure, out of print, or wildly populare book that you want to give as a Christmas gift. Maybe if you had contacted us before December 23, we would have been able to get it for you.

    From what I have read from most of the people above, I am sure that both myself and my co-workers are very happy to know that you will not be shopping at BN stores.

  • Claude

    First: Maybe you should include states regions and stores with your complaints about B&N stores because you are basically all complaining about a place I have never seen and I shop the B&N in Gulfport, MS a lot. How long do books take to arrive? A week, tops unless it’s out of print. How long does it take a small local store to locate an out of print book it doesn’t have in stock? Yes, I KNOW that’s “touche”. If your complaints are against corporate sprawl versus local ownership/ workers rights, well, you may have something there, but I don’t think calling it Barnes and Noble is actually calling the problem by its name. As for the B&N employees complaining about customers, hey, it’s a rat race ain’t it. The industrious, helpful rat who shows up to do his job and be helpful FOR the customer generally avoids the most bad attitude in any situation and doesn’t get stomped on so much. I like having a lot of bookstores around and I like having Barnes and Noble be a choice. Let’s not be provincial about our own particular store and call it “everystore” and lets not call a general strike in the name of union as an alibi for personal reasons. What ARE America’s unions up to these days?

  • Jordyn Linkous

    I totally agree with Noblewoman …being a B&N employee myself the customers are mostly the people who cause the problems that are complained about…yes, it is the booksellers job to organize and clean and sell and cover shifts in other departments and greet every single customer at the door, and offer the membership card and find books that sometimes dont exist and listen to a customer sing a bit of a song and expect them to know what it is. So WE CANT BOW DOWN TO YOUR EVERY NEED CUSTOMERS! if the bathroom is a mess talk to the manager dont march to the front and berate and belittle the cashier we CANT CLEAN IT…we can call a manager (who you should have asked for to begin with) to assist you and believe it or not WE ARE PEOPLE and WE HAVE FEELINGS AND NEEDS AND WE ARE NOT JUST WORKING FOR OUR HEALTH WE NEED THE MONEY. Treat employees with a bit of respect for the service we give you and perhaps you will recieve the same for your service.

  • Sarah

    People who work (or have worked) for B&N and still claim that it is a great company baffle me to no end. I’ve worked for that God-awful hell-hole for 5 years because of the flexible schedule they’ve agreed to offer me. I must say that most places are not at all accommodating in that regard. But this is where the credits end. Sure, if you enjoy management (usually high-school drop-outs) treating you like crap on a daily basis, it might just be the place for you to work.There is the nifty little feature called pompously “We Listen” were you can talk to someone who cares. Sure they do! After you talk to them, you are labeled as a potential trouble-stirrer and face painful retaliation. And if someone is even thinking of posting after me that it is fully anonymous – don’t think about it. I don’t know how, maybe they record the conversation and then play it to the manager of the store in question for identification, but they find you out. Don’t believe me – try for yourself. The last drop to my already overfilled bucket was a demand that I come to work and sit in the breakroom without clocking in until I am needed. Now, if there is an insult greater than paying you almost nothing for your time, it is paying you exactly nothing. Needless to say, I quit on the spot. Now I shop on Amazon. And, since I like to be fair to everyone, let me just add that a lot of B&N customers are uneducated, condescending bastards who seem to come to the bookstores because it makes them feel more intelligent to be around books. Therefore, if you are an intelligent, respectful person and get a not-exactly-excellent service, keep in mind that you are so rare an occurrence there the employees simply don’t know what to make of you. Then again, they may be just plain dumb.

  • Anonymous

    I’m not sure about B&N, but Borders’ teacher discount is for CLASSROOM related items. Let me tell you, I bet 75% of the teacher discounts we give, are definitely not for the classroom. I’ve recently decided teachers are the worst kind of consumers out there because they EXPECT discounts, for a multitude of reasons: feel as their job is public service, low pay. I’m sorry, maybe you should have chosen a job that paid a bit more? Who told you to become a teacher for the greater good? And considering that teachers are the quickest to start berating, it’s amazing they have managed to not get fired yet.

    On another topic, of course the books aren’t packed and perfectly new. The companies want their booksellers to be able to recommend titles so employees are allowed to checkout books, like a library. It would be great if a customer came into the store, said they wanted whatever title and just took the book. Our stores would remain clean and the books would be pristine. However, normal consumers would like to see what they’re getting. Trying new authors means reading a few pages of the book before deciding to buy it. It’s similar to that crazy idea of trying on the clothes. And by the way, if the book isn’t in the condition it should be, Borders gives a 10% damaged discount or offers to order a new one in for you.

    Last Monday, a woman came to me and asked “You guys had a book out downstairs in March. It had a yellow cover and the first chapter was really funny. Can you get that for me?” She then was annoyed by the fact that I (and every other bookseller/manager/cashier at work that day) had no freakin clue what book she was talking about. These situations are unfortunately very common, I get at least 2-3 a day. If you thought the first chapter of the yellow book was funny in March, why didn’t you buy it then instead of waiting 7 months???

    We make closing announcements at 10 till and on the hour (11PM). It has never been 11PM and our store is empty. You have to go tell people in person that the store is now closed and they must leave. It is only then that our customers start packing their laptops and their bags and then slowly walk their way down. And sadly, the worst is Friday night.

    Of course all this is after working at Borders for close to 2 years and I can’t wait to leave.

  • Alexandra

    What is it like to work there exactly? I am thinking of applying to the one in Orlando, FL. I am hoping that I will be able to help customers find books, shelve books, and organize them instead of being a cashier. I am not a big fan of dealing with a customers money. But I guess if I have to do it I will but can you request other jobs to do around the bookstore instead of standing behind a cash register all day? Let me know thanks.

  • anonymous

    I’m glad I found this site, so that I can at least tell of my most recent incident at B&N at Wolfchase mall in Germantown, TN. My husband and I were passing thru and I needed a book. I entered the store (my first visit), and immediately saw a cashier to my left who had a customer at his register. There were five or six more registers (some with customers & some not). As the customer left, I approached the cashier only to ask a question. Before I could open my mouth, he rudely said “maam the line starts back there.” (pointing past the other registers & he did not have anyone in his line, nor anyone waiting.) I proceeded to say that I only wanted to ask a question,and asked if he had a particular book in stock, and he “cut me off” again and said “the customer service desk is over there. I replied, “You do not have to be rude.” He said, “I don’t know every book that’s carried in this store.”

    I went to the customer service desk and asked to speak with a manager. The gentleman there was very helpful in assisting me. He looked to see if the book that I had requested was in stock, but it wasn’t. He offered to order it for me, but I needed it sooner.

    The manager (Amanda) appeared. I told her what had happened. She apologized, but attempted to justify the cashier’s actions. I was appalled.

    I belong to a book club and we have purchased many books from B&N over the years, but not anymore. I will certainly inform the other members and ask them not to purchase from B&N and ask them to pass it along to other friends and family members.

    Obviously B&N has forgotten good customer service. Amazon.com here I come!

  • sad

    I’ve worked for B&N for about 7 years now. At first it was a great place to work. We focused on our customers, my fellow employees were very knowledgable about a variety of genres, we were on the floor actually connecting with our customers and making recommendations, we had a great community relations program, our turnover was almost nil, and it seemed more like a community bookstore. Like a mom and pop place instead of a *corporate* place. We had lots of regulars that came in, and we knew most of our product.

    Well that has since changed, has been changing for the last couple of years now. B&N has definitly lost sight of it’s CORE business. Books! We are selling so much chotsky stuff that we have less room for BOOKS! And the people that we hire now? sheeesh. We used to hire people that LIKED books. KNEW authors, classics, etc. Now we just hire anyone off the street as long as thier available hours meet our requirements (or if they have worked in a cafe). Booksellers now can’t just know books…they have to know how to make all the cafe drinks too. That’s so that when the cafe people call in sick, they can pull the people from the bookfloor to cover in cafe. So now you know why there aren’t many people on the bookfloor. Not to mention that they installed the customer service desk…so therefore the company thinks that people on the actual book floor are no longer necessary. So they cut the hours available for that. And lets not even get into the whole micro-managing thing. Do you know that they (corporate) have actually TIMED what they think is the proper time it takes to unpack boxes, load them, shelve them, etc…How long it takes to zone a bay (which means organized the books on a bookcase). So they can use those figures to schedule how many hours our booksellers need to do thier jobs. Now that is not bad…except that there are too many variables. The age of the bookseller doing the job, how many times a customer interups you to help them, the number of product actually on the shelf to scan, cause a shelf of bibles is much easier to do than a shelf of paperback romances or say paperback childrens books. So to say that it should only take 20 mins to do a job is great for a GUIDE LINE….but you shouldn’t try to hold a person to it exactly. It’s impossible. Or if not impossible, damn near to it.
    The company has become much more MONEY minded. REALLY money minded. As in “get all the customers money we can, sell them something, regardless of whether it’s what they want or not”. There is such a huge push on ALL the employees to sell membership cards, offer the mastercard, buy our gift cards, etc…just so we can make sure that you come back and give us MORE of your money. And the employees HAVE to sell you those. They have to mention that at the cashwrap, or in cafe. They HAVE to try and sell you that larger cup of coffee. If they don’t….they get written up. If an employee fails to mention any of those items (plus several more things) during a “surprise shop”, then their name gets posted for everyone to see as to why the store or cafe failed thier inspection. And you can BET that is brought up in thier review.
    I used to LOVE working at B&N. It was the best place to be for me since I love books, and I loved the environment. Now it’s just a stressful place to work, the ‘we listen’ is a joke, we have so much stuff to try and push on customers till they just get pissed, and we have to continually try and train people over and over again, cause we can’t seem to keep the good people, which in turn aggravates our customers cause they want to deal with KNOWLEDGABLE people.
    Unfortunately….it seems like Barnes & Noble is becoming the ‘Walmart’ of bookstores. Hire cheap labor, employee attitudes in the toilet, and a DRIVE THOSE SALES attitude. That’s it. All about the buck and how we can get more of it from you. The community relations has gone down the tube…all they are told to focus on now are bookfairs. Not offsite ones in the schools…but ones in the stores…of course so we can sell more product. Yes it can generate some funds for organizations and schools. It can be a good program if you have good people behind it. But we used to have lots of bookclubs, storytimes, programs that would come into the store, etc…however those things don’t sell enough.
    From what I understand, the Community Relations Position is no longer supposed to be ‘warm and fuzzy’…it’s just another outside sales position. In other words..if you don’t have a dollar we can get from you…then it ain’t worth our talking to you.”

    Too bad. I LIKED the warm and fuzzy place we used to be. So did most of our customers. Now it’s like…what the hell happened to my bookstore?
    My answer? Corporate policy. For all of you customers out there that are unhappy with B&N and how it’s gotten to be such a ‘show me the money” company….Please contact corporate headquarters in NYC. THEY are the ones who dictate to us. We don’t have a choice. THEY are the only ones who can change your shopping experience. The store managers can’t. The person at the info counter can’t. The cashier can’t. ONLY the District Managers, the Regional Managers, and the corporate headquarters decision makers can.
    Don’t like being pestered about buying memberships everytime you go to the counter? Don’t like having the B&N Mastercard shoved in your face? Don’t want every freaking person in the store asking you if you want giftcards? Or how about if you ask for a tall coffee you don’t get asked EVERY time “would you like to get a vente for ONLY 50 cents more?”. No. I just want a small coffee. thanks. Then I suggest you email corporate headquarters, or call them, or just get archaic and post them a note. Tell them to stop shoving this down your throat. Trust me….we, the employees, don’t like having to do it to you either. We can really tell when you are getting aggravated. And we sure as hell don’t appreciate having to be the ones to tell you all this crap. We figure…you’re adults (most of you)…if you want the membership card, you’ll see the signs and ask about it. If you want to purchase a gift card, you’ll pull one off the display that is right there in front of you at checkout. And if you want a large coffee…then you’ll say “I want a large coffee. Or vente. :)

  • Loey

    My poor 85 year old mother went to Barnes and Noble to purchase a gift card for me for Christmas knowing how much I love to read. Instead she was talked into a Membership Card!! The clerk told her it would be much more beneficial to me throughout the year because I would save soooo much money, way over the $25 it cost my mother. My mother fell for this salesperson’s line of crap. If the salesperson would have done their homework, they would have found that I already own a membership card. Obviously they are told to push the membership card with no regard as to who is receiving them. Shame on Barnes & Noble for taking advantage of an elderly person in this way. I’ll let you know how this turns out when I go to their store tomorrow to get it straightened out. If they refuse to credit her for the membership card and give her the gift card I am never entering any of their stores again. Borders is right down the road and Amazon is at my fingertips!!

  • Doug

    I just had a bad experince with Barnes and Noble. Last Wednesday (one week ago today) we ordered 4 books in a series for my daughter. Wen my wife and I arrived home we found we needed book 6 and not book 5. I called to change the order to the correct book. Simply change number 5 for number 6. Sounds easy, right?

    The clerk on the phone said we could not do that. We could cancel the order but could not change it. I asked for it to be canceled. She said she could cancel it but could not reverse the charges on my debit card unless I drove back to the store.

    A week later (today) I went back to get the money back for the three books. I was told they had been shipped to my home. I will now need to wait for them to get to my house, drive back to the store and THEN get my money back.

    Customer service SUCKS!

  • Chad

    Doug, the problem with your ordering isn’t really customer service related in any way. There is quite a bit of red tape that comes from our company using a rather archaic computer/ordering system. I’m sure the booksellers would have helped you any way they could.

    As an employee for B&N for several years I find it disheartening that people never take repsonsibility for there own actions. I see stories here of customers and employees alike who have done wrong to each other. The employees blame customers, the customers blame employees, and it’s an unfortunate us vs them mentality. I have had my fair share of problem customers. I have also spoken with literate, intelligent, and kind people in at least an equal ratio. There are some people for whom I bend over backwards for that will never be satisfied. They have expectations of others that are completely unattainable. Several of the posters here are definitely in that category. On the other hand I have had customers who couldn’t stop telling me how helpful and dedicated they believed i was for simply greeting them and showing them to a book.

    It was stated earlier that the brick and mortar stores are not large enough by any stretch of the imagination to accomodate all books in print. Very true. That subset of customer mentality I spoke of before will never understand that when you berate and belittle someone for something out of their control, it will never solve the problem. Instead there is a blame transfer that is counterproductive to both sides.

    As for specific manager/employee/customer service problems, it’s unfair to blame all of barnes and noble for the one bad manager you met, or the cafe employee who smoked weed, or the cashier who was snippy. There are a very large number of stores in this country and I’m willing to bet that many of them are competently staffed with caring booksellers. I like to think of myself as one.

    In any case, if we could all find some customer/employee middle ground and realize its not easy to please everyone and try to get along, we wouldn’t have so much frustration.

    …and yes, I do like my job.

  • Marie

    As far as the comment about employees being able to read the books and bring them back (hardcovers) well, they do need to be in new condition otherwise we would have to pay for them. How is that any different than somebody who has bought a book taken it home looked at it then returned it to the store.

    The return policy is you get whatever you paid for it back within 30 days. Customers could have read a book withing 30 days. Returns in most retail stores get put back on the shelf it is a pretty common practice unless the item is damaged. I agree with the people who should name the location of the Barnes and Noble because unfortunately not all locations are equal.

    I have had people come into the location that I work at and complain about the treatment they received at other locations. I

    agree with Chad that sometimes customers think that it is poor customer service when really it is just our computer system not allowing or some other technical difficulty. However, I do tend to explain to customers the situation, for example, our system does not let us edit orders after they’ve been placed only cancel them.

    However, I realize why some of the people that have posted on here would not want to shop at Barnes and Noble after the experiences that they have. I wouldn’t either. It is a shame that a one poorly run store or snobby employee can ruin it for the whole company.

  • Michelle

    Get off your butt, go to the store, and buy it from the store yourself. Lazy.

  • Myranda

    I’m sorry but i work at B&N and i love it ive loved it since i was a kid before i worked there and for those people that work there and our complainin than get another job its that simple noone needs your negativity. Also i do agree that the website is alittle frustrating but ive had pretty good results from my orders either you people are holding a grudge or youve just had bad luck no matter what the problem is you got to get over it and move on that’s life. If your still adamant about complaing then stop sitting at your computer complaing all the time and do something about it.

  • BN Cali

    just a correction to Marie, the BN return policy states that a customer has 14 days to return any merchandise WITH a receipt, past that they only get store credit. This isn’t a complaint, I actually work for BN as a Head Cashier, and to be honest I really think the policy is quite fair.
    I also wanted to say that I do enjoy my job at BN, only time I’ll ever have any problems is when moronic customers demand stupid things, such as wanting me to be their own personal shopper during my break/lunch times, I don’t mind helping a customer out when I’m off, just don’t be a jerk about it and think you’re entitled to royal treatment while I’m not on the clock. Other than that, it can be a challenging place to work at, but also really fun and rewarding.

  • Anonymous Bookseller

    I work at B&N, and I sympathize with the unhappy customers.

    In any retail bookstore, it’s necessary to go through the shelves periodically and sort the books (the company calls this “zoning”) — books do get misplaced. The official corporate policy is to do this once every six weeks, and in my opinion that is reasonable. However, our store is so short-staffed that zoning occurs only once or twice a year.

    A second problem is that in many of our departments, the company sends us far more books than we have room for. Since our backstock storage areas are already full, our shelvers have to use “creative” techniques and cram these books into any available space, with minimal regard for categorization.

    The result is that our shelves are a disaster. If a customer asks for a book, and the company computer (“BookMaster”) says we have it, there is a one-in-three chance that nobody will actually be able to find the volume. We check not only the book’s regular department, but also any special displays listed on BookMaster, we look in the receiving room in case the item has come in recently, we search the vicinity of each correct location in case the book has been moved slightly, et cetera.

    And if I phone a nearby B&N looking for a book that we don’t have, they too have a 1-in-3 failure rate among books that their computer says they should have.

    Does B&N upper-level management know that 33% of their books are missing?

  • Heather

    Barnes and Noble was once a good place to work for me. Then it changed. Drastically. I can’t explain how much emphasis there is on being “better than everyone else” including customers. The manager at my store made everyone feel awful and completely useless, regardless of the fact that they worked their asses off cleaning up after, yes, the dreaded customer. It’s become so corporate it’s ridiculous. One of our employees killed herself and I sometimes wonder if a piece of that was Barnes and Noble.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    When I was a college kid, I used to go Barnes & Noble to buy textbooks. Then they were in a basement in Manhattan somewhere. A number of years ago, they changed their format and tried to drive out every independent in the country with soft chairs and huge stores in malls. In 1999 or 2000, I tried to order a book from them, “How the Hebrew Language Grew.” It took several months and sitting on their necks to actually get the book out of them.

    Now we live in Israel. There is no Barnes & Noble here, thank goodness. When we ordered once from Amazon, we ordered from the British site, figuring that they would mess the order up less. They were okay, but after we gave up the credit card, we could no longer order from them.

    Nu, that’s life in the fast lane.

    If BN messes up for too long, folks will stop going there and they’ll start closing stores.

    That too, is life in the fast lane….

  • Anirvan

    1. Thursday, September 27, around 8:00pm, B&N Store, The Pruneyard, Campbell, CA. The security alarm went off when I was going out. There happened to be an unopened audio book “Beowulf” in my backpack that I purchased on Saturday, September 22. The store managers (a lady) and another gentleman suspected I was lifting the item. I did not have the receipt on me. I went back home, found the receipt, and came back to the store. It turned out that when I had bought that audio book, the clerk had forgotten to scan the item. So it was Barnes and Noble’s fault, for which I got into trouble. The store manager (the lady) was less than courteous. She did not even apologize. B&N should always check that their own systems work properly and that their employees are doing their job before they charge customers with something as serious as shop-lifting.

    2. On the same evening, I tried to return TCP/IP Illustrated (a 3 volume set that I had ordered online through the store a few days back). B&N happened to have sent me two copies. So I was trying to return one of them. But, the package was not accompanied with any receipt. When I told this to the same store manager (the lady mentioned above), she refused to believe me. She said, quite arrogantly, that packages never arrive without a receipt. She did not change her attitude even when I pointed out B&N employees do make mistakes (as in incident 1 above).

    3. To continue with “TCP/IP illustrated” – I have visited the B&N store 4 times for this book. The first time, one of the employees placed an order online on my behalf. But I received the wrong book – “The Age of Turbulence”, by Alan Greenspan. I went to the store (2nd visit) to return this item. But they asked me to call up B&N online. I did so, and was told to return the book to the store. So I visited B&N, Pruneyard, yet again and returned the book (3rd visit). This time around, two copies of TCP/IP Illustrated arrived at my doorstep. When I went back (4th visit) to return one of the copies, I ran into the unpleasant lady (1 and 2) above, who refused to cooperate. She called in another store manager, who said that I have to ship it back myself. So now, I have to call up B&N again, ask them for a shipping label, and when it arrives, pack and ship the item. Why should I go through all this trouble because B&N cannot ship the correct items?

  • http://www.myspace.com/SarahRMc Kids Bookseller

    I work for Barnes and Noble now. I used to work for Borders. It’s the same both places. I’ve seen it a couple times where the customer orders something from the website and they get the wrong book. Or they don’t get it at all. Sometimes, they even get more than one of the same thing. I’m talking BOTH companies. It varies from store to store, but in the store I’m at now, if you bring us a book you got from the website, with the packing slip that every shipped order has enclosed, we will either A) Get the right book for you off of our own shelves or b) Issue a store credit for the amount you paid for the book. I had a guy return 6 copies of a $35 book just two days ago, because they were late arriving. No Problem. I just ask that all of you who have had a bad experience with one of our stores or the website, don’t judge the rest of the stores or the company as a whole because of it. There are a few of us out here who pride ourselves on our customer service. But, let’s face it. A lot of companies, including B&N, are hiring teenagers for the stores. It’s cheap labor and most teenagers these days are hardly taught manners, much less how to provide a good shopping experience. And, a lot of the people who work in the warehouses don’t even speak English. They find the books to ship based on a catalog number. And if the wrong book is in the spot they need a book from, they don’t know the difference. As far as bn.com is concerned, it is a completely different entity from the brick and mortars. We don’t do any business directly with one another. Don’t judge one by the other.

  • too dumb to unionize

    I am a BN employee. For what it’s worth, the MAJORITY of the non-management staff in my store has some sort of college degree, many have bachelors degrees or greater and are over 22 or 23 years old. Almost everyone of them has to have another job on top of working as many hours as possible at BN and they ALL still live with their parents even some who are upwards of 30 years old! And these are people who have been promoted! There are people who have been there for three years who are making less than eight dollars an hour. Ever watch a documentary called “The high cost of low prices”? BN is the WalMart of the book world. I hope everyone looks in to their locally owned bookstores. If only I knew how to start a union..

  • Deb

    I am a former employee of Barnes & Nobles….I quit today after I got my review….I did excellent, I sold the highest percentage of memberships (which is great considering I have always been a part time employee) I got a raise (25 cents) and then quit.
    After recieving actual constructive criticism, my manager then told me every single thing he could think of that employees thought of me personally. But, made me feel soooooo much better when he said that some didnt like me at first, but after hanging out with me…they like me….
    But, I am not unused to this…I knew it would happpen. The first month or so after I got hired on years ago, I was forced to have a “sit down” with TWO managers because I had failed to hold the door open for another employee and they felt I did it “maliciously”. Because that is the kind of anger I harbor ladies and gentlemen….dont you dare piss me off because I am so passive agressive that i wont hold the DOOR open for you!
    I have done so much for the company, and I am such a hard worker (ive had to TRAIN …TRAIN!!!! the new music manager because she has never A. worked in music or B. worked in the music department…all without ” telling her what to do” because she is my manager!…talk about a conflict of interests.
    So what do I blame? This whole we listen bullshit….They should call it “We Gossip” because that is ALL these people DO! And if the gossip is bad…i.e. they think you rolled your eyes or you werent in a good mood one day…you WILL hear about it 7 months later…all of it….and you will NOT be able to defend yourself because they wont tell you WHO said it…they will just reveal everything you have ever done that bugged them.
    I was not going to go through another of their “performance reviews”!!!
    Screw Them
    Oh and by the way….I have NEVER even been written up….just harrassed….

  • Anonymous Bookseller

    My second post …

    I work at a Barnes & Noble bricks-and-mortar store, and a very difficult part of my job is deciding how much service each customer is going to get. Why? We are understaffed, and if I take the extra time to give one customer good service, the other customers in line are going to have to wait longer.

    Whenever I am talking to a customer, I have to consciously ration my time. If the line is getting long, and if the customer hasn’t convinced me that he is serious about buying something, I will try to get rid of him. I hate doing this, but Barnes and Noble gives me no choice. I am compelled to allocate my time toward the people who are ready to spend cash.

    A customer who phones when the store is busy will have especially bad luck. If I cannot get the phone because I’m busy with other customers, I let it ring as long as possible in hopes that some other employee will answer it. But after about 30 or 40 straight rings, I get tired of hearing it, so I pick up the phone, promise to get another bookseller, and put them on hold. I do page for any available bookseller to pick up that line. Of course it’s all a lie, because I know that no bookseller is available (if one had been, he would have answered the phone), and by the time I can get back to the caller, that person will probably have given up and phoned Borders instead.

    In my store it’s not unusual for customers to walk out angry because they couldn’t find anyone to help them. Sometimes they curtly inform me of that fact as they are going out the door. One major thing I wish I knew is how many unserved customers leave without saying anything to any of our employees — you can be sure that these dissatisfied people will mention it to all their friends.

    I hate to give customers lousy service, but sometimes Barnes and Noble forces me to do it.

    – – Anonymous bookseller.

  • annonforyou

    to the person who said teachers are the worst consumers:

    You are wrong! We don’t expect discounts for the reason you mention but because when we go to the store we have to deal we dumbasses like you who could not get anything better than a Barnes and Noble job making slightly higher than minimum wage, and we then remember you as the student who was always distracted in class and could not perform like the others, and remember your parents coming up with excuses for your inability to perform; excuses like “my son/daughter has ADD”, and “he/she has a learning disability”. Go to college, get a degree, and maybe you too can some day make $60K, $70K or more. Good luck with your pathetic life, loser!

  • booklover

    Wow, the ‘teacher’ that posted on Oct. 9th seems to have a bit of an anger issue. I must be an exception to the rule, but I am a department manager and I make 34,000 a year plus over time, I have been with the company just under a year. So yeah, looking back at my elementary education classes in college, I make more than some starting off teachers.
    And who are YOU on your high horse? I would say you teach in the public school system because you are a really angry person. I suggest anger management classes or even medication. Or maybe the comment struck too close to home to pull that sort of reaction out of you.
    And yes I have seen teachers try to use their discount for personal use, but most don’t realize that the card is limited to school use only. Not bad customers, just UNEDUCATED.
    You know we have a really good self-help section…check it out. Granted you won’t get 20% off.

  • Rec mgr

    I am receiving manager at INDY area b&n. I have only worked there for 1+.

    The planning of shipments are terrible and thats being nice. I was without help for 9 months (except for someone 12 hours a week that does returns only), up until two weeks ago when I finally got a helper for the holidays. The company cares little about the employees in the receiving room. The room is a complete mess with 100’s and 100’s of bargain book boxes in rec room. They’re stacked almost up to the lights….not kidding. In past month, I have had 200+ boxes of regular product several days, when alone a can do approx 120-150 depending what is in the boxes (Also sorting table is stacked full of books most days. We have to shelve from the table. We are that far behind some days). Then by Friday there is a 100-150 boxes not completed. There is no way to stop the next shipment, they just keep sending the shit everyday. No matter what. I hope for a day when a truck breaks down, but of coarse you will get a double shipment the next day (makes sense….not really). I am close to giving my two weeks. The company has lost its way and my confidence.

    For the people that say we give bad customer service, I agree but not because of the employees. It is the company that has cut our stores hours from 1025 per week to 875 per week which I think breaks down to 5 (30 hr)employees less per week. This causes workers to skip customer service just to get books to the floor. Not to speak of covering for breaks, lunch breaks, and bathroom visits. We have lost 5 employees in the last 2-3 weeks (one the manager of store). No one has been hired to replace them yet (except manager). Our new manager is a real cool guy but he has been put in a no-win situation. Our store is in deep kaka for Christmas. But we will squeek by like we did last Christmas, which is the problem, I think, because nothing will ever done to fix problems as long as we make MONEY…

    For the person that talked about the computers skills of managers, well, I had to show all of the managers how to make a new folder for e-mail the other day. Several of our managers don’t even own computers. The company needs to send them to computer classes, it would only help the company. (my last company in 1992 [15 years ago] said learn to use the computer or we don’t need you).

    The employees I work with are all great though. They are all hard workers but have just been stretched so thin. It sucks to watch good people get ruined by corporate thinking.

    We Listen sounds like a good idea, but I have never used it. I doubt it would change anything if I did.

    If B&N keeps it up the sales numbers will keep falling!

  • Caitlyn

    I complained directly to Barnes and Noble corporate headquarters about a rude saleslady in the Aliso Viejo, CA location. I am sure customers can be difficult to deal with. But let me share what happened to me, as a customer.
    As I purchased my book, she pushed the “discount” card on me, as they usually do in my repeated experience. I declined, politely. “No thank you. ” She persisted.
    I said, still polite: “I don’t want to pay the yearly fee.”
    Then she replied, and this is verbatim:
    “Nothing in America is free, m’am.”
    I was in shock that she could be so rude to me, when I didn’t even have an attitude and here waws yet another B&N pushing that so-called “discount” card you have to pay a yearly fee of 25 bucks for (which makes sense only if you spend enough to offset the yearly fee)
    Borders incidentally (to my latest knowledge) does not have a fee for their discount card. That is where I am driving out of my way to shop now. I wrote a letter to headquarters informing them of this and got a letter back to contact the district manager. I don’t have time to make the effort when its not me that made the mistake.

    One more incident, at the B&N location in the Tustin Marketplace, Southern Ca. I was with a disabled friend (who was in a wheelchair) sitting in the Cafe area where we were working at a table with his laptop. It suddenly started running out of power and we needed to save. So I grabbed the laptop and quickly plugged it in to a nearby outlet, within the Cafe area, right by the trash can.
    We were using the power around 5 minutes when this snotty female employee came over and told us we could not plug into the outlet. She was quite snippy about it.
    Since that day, I never went back to that location and I have mentioned that experience in consumer reviews. I would not feel comfortable taking a laptop back there with that attitude, especially since it was shown to a disabled customer in need.
    Working with people is difficult, employees have bad days, etc etc. It may be a crap job. But I personally believe its the usual situation of a big corporation with a monopoly on the market. And the employees with attitudes, may I suggest you get another job. Preferably not working with the public.

  • Anonymous bookseller

    Planning to buy a 2008 calendar? At B&N, they go to half-price on December 26.

    Although plenty of calendars are on display now, B&N doesn’t really expect anybody to buy them until the price goes down. The calendars are so outrageously marked up that we still make plenty of profit at 50% off. The few folks who do buy calendars at full price don’t realize what suckers they are.

    At my store, there are more calendars in the storage room than on the sales floor — and more boxfuls are shipped into our store every day. We’re just stocking up for the 50% off sale. Hundreds of calendars will not go out to the sales floor until the first week of January.

    The backlog will not be cleared until the last week of January, when calendars will be 75% off. At that price, we do no worse than break even.

  • Marie

    Actually, BN Cali,

    I don’t know if it is different in different regions but the back of our receipts say that a full refund in the original form of payment will be issued for books and unopened music/dvds…with a receipt within 30 day and that is the policy our store goes by. The exception however for us is textbooks which are only refundable within 14 days.

  • Jane of all trades

    I know that the original post is old, but I see that people are still responding, so I figured I would throw my two cents in…

    I have been working in my B&N (in the NYC/NJ area) for three months now, though I have been working large-store retail for over three years (and to the commenter who claimed that B&N employees are all idiots without degrees: I graduated with departmental and university honors from NYU and am heading off to a top 10 law school in the fall).

    I started out at cashwrap, got moved to customer service, and now basically work everywhere (cashwrap, customer service, kids, music, receiving, training). The reason I wanted to work at B&N was because I genuinely love books, and I have been shopping at B&N since I was old enough to be set loose in stores–which, consequently, was not at five years of age, as many adult customers in B&N Jr. seem to is an appropriate age at which to leave your child in a huge store.

    That being said, I was slightly disillusioned quite soon for two distinct reasons. First, most of the people who come into my B&N are either high school students looking for the thinnest book possible to read for some school project, stay-at-home moms who blather on and on about what a genius Oprah is and why she knows so much more about the books she recommends than I do (unlikely, seeing as I read most of them before she chooses them), or old people who just want to come in and yell at us for no discernible reason. Very rarely do we get a customer who truly wants a book to actually read and enjoy; it has gotten to the point where I even get excited when I see someone picking up a bunch of romance novels to read. After dealing with any of those three types of people for an extended period, you become jaded about customers altogether; that’s not an excuse, just an explanation.

    What I’ve found works best to combat this jadedness is, ironically, honesty. I think that very often customer service employees are conditioned to make up lies about why things can’t get done, but I do the exact opposite by telling the truth. If I can’t find a book, I calmly explain that it was probably moved somewhere else or was stolen. If I am working music and don’t know a section, I explain that I am only covering music and therefore don’t know exactly where everything is. If you ask me about the member card–which, by the way, we get no commission from (unlike other retail stores) but are obliged to ask you about anyway–I tell you how much you’ll save that day, and I only continue explaining if the customer is either buying hundreds of dollars worth of merchandise or if they seem interested.

    I have found that most customers just don’t understand how retail works, and sometimes, after having it explained to them, they are a lot more patient and pleasant. And, yes, having both customers and employees be pleasant really makes the whole experience easier for everyone involved. It is the customers who are not condescending or belligerent towards me while I am trying to help them (if I am not trying to help you, then by all means, stand up for yourself) who will get the recommendations, anecdotal banter, and extra effort from me.

    Of course, I know that not everyone takes the same approach as I do, and there are many bad apples in the gigantic B&N orchard. But, believe it or not customers, the people who are assholes to you are assholes to us, too, and that is the second thing that has disappointed me about the job. We have an employee at my B&N who has been complained about not only by customers but also by his fellow employees, yet he has stayed (and become a lead!) because we are, unfortunately, so incredibly short-staffed. Our biggest issue is that retail is still considered the domain of high school students and drop-outs (hence, the aforementioned assumption that all B&N employees are uneducated), and the pay grade is commensurate with that assumption, so we only really get applications from high school students who cannot work before 4 p.m. or past 9 p.m. Do you see the problem that poses for a store where shifts start at 7 a.m. and can last until 1 a.m.?

    What it all boils down to is a problem at the corporate end of the operations. B&N does a lot of things right: the return policy is incredibly flexible, customers are allowed to read books within the store without buying them (yeah, try that at an independent bookstore and see what happens), and the fact that we can order a book for a customer without them being obligated to buy it just boggles my mind. But the company also has really mishandled the move into the new technological age, which is understandable considering the fact that the system they had been using for years worked so well for them, though that doesn’t really excuse the fact that they are always one step behind.

    Overall, everyone needs to realize that each store is unique, and the people working within it are human, too, and thus there are many reasons why your shopping experience that day may not have been ideal. To compare B&N to Amazon, which doesn’t have to deal with the variable of human interaction, is a bit silly.

    Then again, I do hate the website. At least now they’ve tried to change it for the better.

    Oh, and two more things:
    1. Under no circumstances are we allowed to take books home without paying for them then return them to the store. Did anyone really think that was allowed?
    2. Best Buy is indeed an awful place to work. Every day I worked there was like taking a step closer and closer to the ninth circle of hell.

  • Fred

    Assholes? Try out sendahole.com.

  • NancyDrew2

    Read Pretending You Care: The Retail Employee Handbook by Norm Feuti. He must have worked at B&N at some point. If you’ve never worked retail, this will give you some understanding of what the “front lines” are up against every day. Customers aren’t always right, trust me. We’re just supposed to pretend that they are.

    Jane-just-above apparently missed out on the whole Book Loan Program benefit during her orientation and training. Either that or her store doesn’t participate for some reason. Booksellers most certainly are allowed to “check out” one hardcover book for two weeks at a time. If it is not in resellable condition, they must pay for it. The program is intended to keep booksellers informed of a range of new titles they might not necessarily buy for themselves so that they can make informed recommendations to customers. It’s not really any different than customers coming in and reading without buying. Or the trying on of clothes to see whether they fit.

    In an attempt to sum up after a nearly FOUR YEAR OLD thread of comments that has really gone wildly off-topic at various points:

    We don’t know the other side to this blogger’s story. He may have been an ***hole customer. Or he may truly have been the victim of an ***hole in customer service. The moral of the story is that there are a few bad apples on both sides. And every day thay are about a gazillion perfectly pleasant transactions that no one will ever blog about afterwards.

  • NancyDrew2

    t-h-e-r-e, not “thay”

  • BN TX

    To the people discussing the return policy, there are testing areas going on.
    I know that Houston is one of a number of test markets trying out the 14 day return policy. The part of the new plan I love is no receipt no return. This has cut down tremendously on the people we KNOW are trying to screw us.
    So yes, we are 14 day period. Christmas should be fun..with a gift receipt you will have 30 days from Christmas.

  • tobooklover

    hey book lover,

    I don’t know what teachers you’re tallking about who make less than you. Have you checked their salaries lately? 10 Months of work, under 30 hours per week and salaries starting in the 40’s; not bad, right? Plus 20% discount at B&N; you just can’t beat that.

    Anyway, you are the one who sounds angry or perhaps you are not too happy with your job after all. I am sorry to hear it. A job is a job dude, get over it. Teaching is a career for the strong minded because teachers have to deal with criticism from everyone, especially parents who are not willing to educate their own children and live under the misconception that it’s a teachers duty to do that. Everyone knows the education begins at home and it’s reinforced at school. You can’t reinforce what it’s not there.
    Don’t be angry “booklover”, accept who you are and don’t be so hasty to pass judgement on other people.
    By your tone I am willing to bet you’re a Hardcore Liberal. Did I guess correctly?

  • bee

    I would like to inform all those who don’t like to have the membership question asked to realize that the employees do not like to ask it. They are real people with families to feed, and this is a requirement for their employment. I am lucky to work in the back and not have to deal with the careless customers that shop at book stores. The back room in most Barnes and Nobles is the therapy room. Booksellers are all expected to watch every episode of oprah(taking notes),listen to all radio shows, read every magazine, be able to read the minds of customers, control shipping companies,and apologize for human flaws, among other things- all for a meagar paycheck and no appreciation. As for those who loves amazon.com so much take your money to them maybe they will be able to satisfy your petty need.

  • booklover

    Actually..to be way off post, this is a reply to someone who felt the need to call me a LIBERAL. I find that highly insulting considering I am nothing of the sort.

    I bet you don’t live in the South. Check your facts Buddy and see what the average small town teacher starts off making. 40K would be a dream. Maybe I should try to be more ‘global’. Here is a quick glance at Louisiana, plug in 0-1 year experience. I will admit my education is a few years dates… but look close… wow are those number averaging high 20s to low 30s??

    And yes a job is a job.. and no where did I infer that I did not like mine.

    My original post had some mention of Barnes and Noble and teacher discounts. If you feel the need to make a personal issue, at least try and stick to the thread.

  • usedtolovebn

    I used to work at barnes and noble. for the first 8 years I loved it. I was promoted into management and always was treated well, until we got a new store manager. The first few months were fine, until christmas was over then he began getting me in trouble for everything. If I left my area to help a customer I was yelled at, If I didn’t help them I was yelled at. I was blamed for everything and told I was doing a horrible job even though I had 100’s on every customer shop, had 8 years of excellent reviews, and my department was beating all of the goals. Then he started changing my schedule to hours I didn’t have a babysitter. I complained to “we listen” believing it to be anonymous. They called my store manager and district manager the next day and I was forced to quit. I later found out my job had been offered to the managers old coworker before any of this had even started. THis is how B&N is. They will get rid of long term employees for no reason, lie and make up things to make them look bad so you can’t sue, and the top managers can get away with anything. The whole “we listen” is just away to find out who is causing problems and get rid of them. If you complain about anything your hours are cut and eventually you will be forced out no matter how many years of hard work you put in. I guess how each store is is dependent on the store manager. I had loved working there the first 8 years and had no complaints. I thought we treated the customers well and listened to them. Then when the new manager came in and customers had any type of issue he had us ignore them. Each store probably had its on issues and customer experience, but i WILL NEVER SHOP THERE AGAIN. There management and district managers are horrible, and they treat long term employees and low level managers poorly. They sit in the office all day while everyone else works hard, yet they are the ones that get the large paycheck and bonuses. The company execs are in denial with what goes on.

  • readthis

    I read in the “Orlando Weekly” that barnes and noble was one of the 5 best places to find gay sex in the bathroom. The article was listing specific stores and bathrooms that are used for hook up spots. Whats funny is the main store listed is the store in florida where all the district and regional offices are located. Are the managers that clueless or maybe its not the family store they claim. haha

  • BNEmployee

    I’ve worked at my Barnes & Noble for four years now and I’ve had no complaints with the job. Some of the regulars we’ve had are a bit colorful, but that’s just the way it goes with a store. The benefits are great, sure the raises aren’t the best, but it’s the satisfactory feeling that you get when you give that little kid a book that he/she wants or that you can tell someone off the top of your head, “Yes we have that book”. During the holiday season it’s the worst. We’re forced to ask all these questions to customers that really don’t care. For instance, “Do you have a member card to save 10%?”, “It’s a program where you can…”, “Would you like to donate a book for our holiday book drive?” and the ever so famous, “Would you like to purchase a Barnes & Noble gift card?”. There’s too much to ask and we have to do fash cashiering, we have to put the book LITERALLY in the customers hand, if you work in music we MUST talk about red dot and if you’re in the cafe you HAVE to ask if you want anything from the bake case. It would be nice if we got commission for how many member cards we sold, honestly I would support it more. I really do like my job, but it’s just too many questions, too little time, specially during the holiday season when people are just pushing through.

    By the way, I feel sorry for all the B&N employees that have had terrible experiences while work and I also feel sorry for all the customers out there that they had an employee that doesn’t give a shit. I’ve been fortunate to work with a team of great people even the store manager is nice (at times mind you). It’s just people are doing their job. The only thing that I find beneficial to working at B&N is the medical care, the 401k and books. The reason I love my job is because I love books. It’s as simple as that.

    Anyhow, thank you for reading this and for the people that said they’d never go to a B&N again please try a different store. Not all stores are like that. There are some that’s worth going to.

  • tackybook

    Holy crap, I didn’t realize Barnes and Noble was such a shitty place to work at/buy things from. I go there a lot and I’ve always had a really nice experience, the employees are helpful and the bathrooms are clean. I suppose I can’t speak for all Barnes and Nobles but the ones in north Texas are alright!

  • NancyDrew2

    All the district and regional offices for B&N are not located in one Florida store. One district office might be. All other district and regional offices are located in their respective districts and regions all over the country. The home office is in NYC.

  • Nalia

    I’ve worked for BN for about 6 months now and it’s a great place to work, except for one thing: customers. The customer isn’t always right.

    If you’re there past closing time, you’re right, we are probably going to get a little short with you. We’ve had people try to stay and browse for five minutes after closing. Unless you’re out of the store, we can’t shut down and begin to leave. Most employees have been there 9 hours on their feet, picking up your shit all day long. Yes, we want to leave, and until we’re clear, we can’t shut down our registers or lock our doors or begin to clean up the rest of the crap left behind by everyone who decides to pull out three large stacks of cook books or a whole stack of magazines about Britney Spears.

    And as a regular employee in the Children’s section, human stupidity boggles my mind. People regularly leave their children unattended, to pull out massive amounts of books. I’ve had 10 stacks of books to put away, the parents see it, and EVEN WORSE YET they think it’s CUTE when their demons are pulling out books and throwing them around. Moreso, we aren’t Chuckey Cheese. When parents allow their kids to scream, yell, or just make noises like dying animals, yes, we’re going to say something.

    As for the “employees get to take books home” critic, yes, we do, however the books must be checked by a manager before returned to the floor. Most of those adorable stains, folds, rips, etc you see are done by customers. We don’t hand check every single book that goes from the Cafe tables to our recovery desk. I’ve seen customers use books as coasters, get food on them, and I’ve even seen children doing the scratch-offs in those books and using the stickers out of the sticker books. Worse yet, we’ve found covers half-ripped off. I’ve even approached a few customers WRITING in the books and was rebuked with, “Well, it’s pencil, it’ll erase”. WHAT?!?!?

    I’ve found Sexuality books in the bathrooms, etc. I won’t even go into the people we see in the chairs. Or the teenagers laying all over eachother in aisles, even when I’m walking past carrying a stack of crap so high I can’t see over my own head.

    I’ve had people come up to ask me questions at the front and I’ve asked them to get in line. You can proceed to explain the book in detail that you need for the next day, or I can promptly point you in the right direction. CUSTOMERS: CASHIERS. CANT. LEAVE. THE FRONT. And if no one is at the Customer Service desk, ask a stationed employee and they’ll page someone there.

    The stupidity of people further boggles my mind. “I’m looking for a red book, don’t know the title or author.” Yeah, guys, we don’t HAVE a red book section, and out of the million or so titles we carry and regularly move around, slim chance I’ll know it off of the top of my head. And what I love even more than that is when the customer gets all pissed off at us when they’re the ones with the wrong title/author. I can only do so much off of a description. It’s not uncommon for me to be thoroughly belittled by customers. Better yet, when they belittle you and then complain. I do my best to be patient, but I can only tolerate so much. No, we don’t have a “vampirey” book section, Nintendo Wiis (at the store), a “red book” section, a “African American” fiction section, or so forth. If it seems very generalized, it probably isn’t a section. We don’t have that much room.

    AND FOR GOD SAKES COME IN BEFORE YOU NEED THE STUPID BOOK THE NEXT DAY. Dear GOD. Don’t get all pissed at me because we don’t have the obscurely titled book you need the next day for your Aunt June’s birthday.

    And for God sakes, when you see some employee walking around with a large stack of books, looking lost of confused (or both), try to refrain from being an asshole. We’re picking up your shit all day. Pro tip: just because we work there it doesn’t mean we automatically know where every book in the store is exactly. All the crap you leave behind we have to find. It sucks. And by the end of the night, I’m dragging my feet because they’re sore and I just want to go home.

    I usually have excellent patience and a high success rate at finding books for people. Furthermore, I’ve gotten short with a few people just because they’re stupid and belittling me, but otherwise I try to stay pretty patient.

    Customers are rude and for some reason always believe they’re superior to the people working there. Atleast, most of them treat us as such.

    Learn a little respect and you’ll be given it in due return.

  • Nalia

    P.S. I began working at BN because I have always loved books. Most people that come in are high school students needing a book by tomorrow, irritable unintelligables, or so forth. It begins to be, “Same shit, different day”, but I still love my job because I love the employees and when I see someone buying a book by my favourite author, or find a customer who can carry on a conversation about a book, I actually get excited. I’ll chatter incescintly about the book, make recommendations, etc. But these people are so rare it’s incredible.

    When I can’t find a book on the shelf, or if the computer shows we may have only one in stock, I honestly will tell the customer up front that if we only have 1 it may be misplaced and therefore impossible to find. I then will search for the book, and if we don’t have it, immediately offer to check another store or order it for them. In all honesty, sometimes it is near impossible to find some books. ESPECIALLY soft cover picture books. I try to stay well-humoured about it too. It’s a daily thing for booksellers.

  • Bookseller

    Well as an employee, no I don’t always like the company. So I have to agree with a lot on here. Corporate has almost destroyed this company. We don’t care about helping people, only helping the bigwigs make money. It’s frustrating. Really.

    But I challenge anyone to walk into ANY retail store and not find one A**hole employee.

    Dealing with rude customers, messes the likes of which you can not imagine, not to mention those other cirumstances previously mentioned (bathroom cleanups, people practically if not actaully having sex in chairs etc.) all of this adds up to people getting a little short.

    It’s been said, and I agree, everyone should be required to work in retail at least once in their life. Maybe then everyone would show a little respect when shopping.

  • miss noble

    The reason they make the employees push the member cards, because if they don’t sell a certain amount corporate is on their ass. And the Store Manager doesn’t get his/her yearly bonus. The owner of b&N is a millionaire just off of member cards ALONE! I also am an employee. I don’t like that part of working there. Along with the .25 to .50 raises. Yep the insurance is good and other benefits, but when it comes right down to it as far as they are concerned you can be a excellent employee but $$$$ is all they look at. not that you might like your job, if you ain’t making $$$$ for them, you are just a number. And that is sad, because a lot of people that work there really do like what they do. They like books, and know books, but bottom line it don’t matter to the company. You can always be REPLACED!

  • high school student

    Would B&N ever consider hiring a high school student? If they have a good knowledge of books and authors, etc… And maybe in the summer when school wont be in the way…

  • Joe

    I love B&N. I just realized that anyone can go in there…grab a book and read it right in the store and not even have to buy it. They have nice soft chairs and even a Starbucks inside. Nothing better than having a coffee..relaxing in a chair..and reading a book that I can put back on the shelf when my coffee is gone. Great place. But if I do want to buy online, I usually stick with amazon for the price.

  • Nicky

    To Nalia (Dec 2nd post): AMEN! I agree with you 100%!

    I work for B&N and I am almost on year 8 with the company. I do my best to give great customer service, but when you have people who insist on skipping the line to “ask a quick question” when you know GOOD AND WELL that there is a line, do you really expect me to be nice with you. Want great service? Here are some tips:

    1) Get off your cell phone! If you want my help and my full attention, then you need to give me your full attention so that I can ask you the questions I need to ask so that I can find the book you want.

    2) Speaking of the book you want, stop coming to me asking for “the blue book with the yellow flower that was on such and such table 2 weeks ago.” WRITE DOWN THE TITLE if you see something you like but you can not buy at that moment!

    3) Clean up after yourselves in our restrooms! I get sick of people bitching about how nasty our restrooms are. The employees do not go in there throwing feces on the walls and urinating on the floors. Customers and their nasty kids do.

    4) If we don’t have your book, we can order it. We can not carry every damn book in print! Stop taking your anger out on us because you need a book for a class, gift or whatever else. Maybe, just maybe, you shouldn’t have waited until the last minute.

    5) Teachers do abuse the 20% off educator’s discount. It clearly says on the back of the card that the discount is for items for your classroom. Kama sutra books and coffee makers are not for your classroom and you know it!

    I could go on, but I will stop. I’m sick of people bad mouthing B&N. Maybe you people should learn how to treat others. I have a degree but I still work for B&N because I love working around books. Stop your bitching people!

  • TexasBN

    About the employees:
    1)I’m seeing a general trend of customers, and even employees, referring to BN employees as uneducated, high school dropouts, unable to make intelligent recommendations, etc. Let me tell you that I myself am an undergrad student about to graduate from a prestigious honors program in less than 4 years, and am starting medical school upon graduation. Many of my co-workers are college students as well, or graduates with a degree or second job, inluding engineers and schoolteachers. Those who do not have a degree are still for the most part very intelligent and well read. I have learned so many interesting things from talking to the various employees here, including the ones who are less academically educated than me. Those employees who have complained about their store being full of dumbasses, maybe their store is worse than the ones I’ve seen here in my city, but I bet it’s also true that they didn’t take the time to get to know and appreciate the variety of knowledge that each individual has to offer, and probably walked around with a snobby, “i’m better than you because I have a degree” attitude. I pity these people because they are missing out on many interesting and eclectic conversations and friendships that would have made their working experience much more enjoyable. The point: customers who have made complaints about their bad experiences, and in the same breath ridiculed the education level of the employees, I think that right there says why your shopping experience went badly. Same goes for the employees. Snottiness doesn’t go unnoticed, and understandably results in negative reciprocation.

    2) Many employees are sincerely interested in being friendly, helping out, and talking to you about books. THat being said, there have also been the rare few who i’ve seen being assholes to customers. Sometimes other employees have realized what’s going on, jumped in and taken control of the situation. Unfortunately, sometimes the customer leaves in a bad mood and probably comments on a site like this. So customers, please understand that for every rude employee, there are so many nice ones. Don’t write the store off your list due to one bad experience. I can understand numerous such experiences, but for the most part, that was probably an isolated event, you were the unlucky one who had to deal with an employee who is probably in the process of being cut out by management anyway.

    3) I’ve also seen employees who have not been able to accomodate a customer due to no fault of their own- either the system doesn’t allow it, or someone earlier on in the process messed up, or there’s some other good reason why the employee couldn’t follow through. The problem here is communication- many times the customer just doesn’t understand the situation and then gets angry while the employee can’t do anything about it. Basically, as an employee, try to understand that the customer might be misunderstanding, and if you can’t do something or something goes wrong, don’t just tersely dismiss the customer, be friendly and explain exactly what is wrong. And customers, try to give employees the benefit of the doubt, many times there is just no time to explain everything, but there IS a good explanation.

    Also, management and working experience differs from store to store. Many of my coworkers hated working under the last store manager, but enjoy working with the new one. Managers affect everything from staffing to work morale. So you can see a big difference from store to store just because of the differences in management.

  • miss noble

    I think also that each store’s management is a main issue of how a employee does their job. On Christmas Eve when the store closes at 6:00 p.m. you have to get the store cleaned up and ready to open just like any other night of closing. I don’t think you should have to stay and start pricing items that go on sale for the day after Christmas. If the managers have to do so, then that comes with the job they wanted. Keeping employees there to do their work isn’t right. Even no mention in a meeting that this would take place so you could make arrangements for Christmas spending with family. You are ORDER TO STAY AT THE LAST MINUTE. Most stores do this earlier in the morning of the big sale. And you are not getting paid anymore than hourly. No overtime, holiday pay, breaks, or just being ask to help out is different than being ORDERED TO. No mention of this ahead of time, we have Christmas meetings once a year and it’s is not brought up at that time.
    Running employees off, is not good. YOu never get that pat of the back and say you have done a good job and you know is doesn’t cost the company a dime to say that either.

  • szdf

    GOOD YOU STUPID PRICK!!! I WORK FOR B&N AND HAVING TO DEAL WITH YOU FUCKERS EVERY DAY MAKES ME WANT TO KICK YOUR STUPID JAMES PATTERSON LOVING ASSES RIGHT OUT OUR DOORS!!! WE FUCKING HATE YOU AND DON’T WANT YOUR BUSINESS!!! EAT OUR GREEN B&N SHIT!!!

  • Cafe worker

    Well, I’ve worked at B&N for about a year now, and I must say that I’ve never been intentionally been rude to a customer. Actually, I love all my regulars. But what the customers have to realize is that it’s not always the employees fault, we don’t run the company. I don’t want to ask you if you want a membership card. I really don’t care. Personally, unless you come in every day it’s a complete waste of money. And I don’t want to try to sell you anything other than what you’re already buying. It’s a mouthful to ask each customer “What can I get for you?”. “Would you like a larger size for just 30 cents more?”. “Would you like anything from our bakecase?”. “Do you have a memebership card to save 10 percent?”

    Look, I’d rather not even speak to you. I’ve been so mistreated by customers. I’ve had change thrown in my face, I’ve been screamed at, called names, been talked down to. I’m not trying to make anyone’s day a bad day. I’m only doing what they tell me to do. It’s a job. I’m not going to lose my job for you. Grow up.

    Our customers are rude spoiled little brats who throw hissy fits if we don’t kiss ass.

  • STM

    Great … just about every post I’ve read here from emplyees of Barnes and Noble is blaming the customers for what goes on.

    Geez, what happened to the old adage: “The customer is always right”.

    If that’s the case, no wonder people are taking their business elsewhere. Sounds like a whole bunch of spoiled brat Gen Y’ers who can’t deal with the notion of serving customers … which is what the entire business is based on.

  • MRbook

    Look, I understand your consernes, but when that customer aprouches you, see them like it would be you in the mirrow.Regardlees, they pay your sallary.

  • Angry and confused…

    I tried to order a Chocolate cupcake at the cafe. This happen on Route 17 South, Paramus, NJ at approximately 10 at night on Friday Jan 4 at the cafe. I have a speech impediment so have a stutter. I tried to order from a cupcake from the shorter red hair girl working behind the cafe. She asked me what I wanted.. I tried to speak but couldn’t say what I wanted.. so I tried pointing. A few second later, she ignored me. Confuse at that point.. I goto the cashier who was friendlier and a different person. I still couldn’t said what I wanted but at least she listen and tried to help.

  • steve sexauer

    I dont get this website policy. The blogger here hates “left wing dictators” but not religious ones, or right wing ones? Well uh okay! Then it says here that “Personal attacks are not allowed” Is that not an attack of the left not personal? Are teaching our future criminal justice majors justice or something else?

    Also, he talks as if an entire company is to blame for one rude employee. I have had many experiences with amazon sellers not sending my books at all! OR a month late. or they later say they are out of stock ….soooorry!

    I love being able to go to the bookstore and browse. With your attitude you need to be on a site that censors peoples opinions of you.

  • Mina

    Barnes and Noble I use to thought was suppose to be a place for you to find a book, read it if you like it or not then buy it take it home. But what happen one day was the two employee there. An old guy in his 40s said, “excuse me, take the book you like, buy it and leave.” then five minutes later, another woman walk pass the aisle and said, “jesus they’ve been here for so long. can’t they just take the book and leave?”

    WTH?! NOT COOL!

  • Annie

    Nalia has it right. I’ve worked at Barnes and Noble for five years. It’s a great job and most of the employees love coming to work. It’s very satisfying finding that obsure “book with the red cover”, but sometimes we don’t know what customers are talking about. We’re not magicians. We don’t always know that book written by that guy with the dog who was on that show last year.

    And for all the cranky customers, no, the customer is not always right. We tried to create a comfortable environment and customers destroyed it. The concept is to sit, skim through a book, and have a cup of coffee. Instead, people leave thirty books, a stack of magazines, a torn apart newspaper, and a half colored childrens book that their darling little child tore through. And all of it has a thin glaze from the cinnabon they brought in and left all over their stacks.

    We try to help out teachers who have to buy books for their classroom. Instead, they abuse our generosity and use the discount on their own personal items.

    Customers can’t go into a store, tear it to pieces, lie to use a discount they are not entitled to, and then get mad when an employee doesn’t bow down to worship them. We’ll be happy to find your books for you, just don’t be rude to us or our property.

  • Anonymous bookseller

    I’ve worked at B&N for three years. Management likes to brag about the “generous” 30 percent discount that employees receive on books.

    The trouble is that Amazon’s price is often lower than the B&N employee price. I can order from Amazon, save money, and get a book that is not shopworn.

    So our store has plenty of employees like me who buy their books elsewhere.

    P.S. We get 50% off in the cafe, and even with that discount the food is overpriced. Most of our employees eat at the Wendy’s across the street.

  • M

    As in reference to the original comment, there is something that he needs to know. If he was ordering from a Barnes and Noble University store they are not the same as Barnes and Nobles. They are a sister company and are run differently by different people. Also it is more likely that his “customer service line” was a direct line to the University Book store where he probably talked to a University student working there and not a trained customer service employee. I have been through the customer service ringer for companies that require and pride themselves on it and the behavior he described simply would not be allowed from a properly trained employee.

    Also, Just as any big corporation they will have faults usually the same ones. As far as raises for the employees they can only get a raised based on the customer rating of the store. So if the store gets rated poorly the employees geted paid in reflection. Stores that score 100 get raises and good ones.

    And all you who are worried about the mistreatment of employees should also stop shopping at wal-mart. Talk about over worked and under paid. Not to mention unfair treatment. I’ve known several people who have worked at several different stores and the story is always the same.

    And I agree with a few other people you can’t judge and entire country chain based on one bad store experience. If you knew anything about franchise alone you should know this.

    Hec the two Jack N the Box’s in my home town are like night and day. One is dirty, and most of us are afraid to eat there , and the service is poor. The other one is clean, efficient, the customer is basically always right. When they do mess up you get free food and the employees are talkative and friendly. Not weird and scary.

    Also if it was a university bookstore it is possible that the professor ordered the book late. This happens all the time. Or they’ll request a book by title only with no other information which makes it hard to track down. Plus university books stores are not allowed to contact the professors directly. They have to contact the department and wait for the prof. to contact them. But the prof will almost always blame the book store. Sometimes publishers are out of stock, or screw up the delivery.

    Honestly there are so many people involed in on line ordering (especially at universities) you should be thankful the system works as well as it does.

  • Anonymous bookseller

    Barnes & Noble is continuing its phaseout of customer service.

    In each of 2005, 2006 and 2007 sales in my store were up five to ten percent over the previous year. Yet management chose to reduce our staffing each of those years.

    As personnel cuts continue:
    — More phone calls don’t get answered.
    — More customers waiting at the information desk give up and leave.
    — More customers walk in, see a huge line at the cash registers, and leave before they even begin shopping.
    — More shoplifters know that nobody will see them swipe a book.
    — Less frequently we will sort the shelves, making it more difficult to find a book if we do have it.

    At some point, customers will have had enough, and sales will start declining. By then, re-establishing the store’s standards and regaining the store’s customers will be very difficult.

    If management really thinks that the low-service approach is a good idea, it should also cut prices. Customers will tolerate lousy service if they are saving lots of money.

  • Former BN Bookseller

    I worked at a north Texas BN earlier this year. I, too, have a bachelor’s degree and I like to read. It was the absolute worst job I have ever had. I was hired on at $7.25/hour because of my lack of retail experience (2.5 years a long time ago before my 10-year stint as an executive in Corporate America). I WANTED a job were I could provide EXCELLENT customer service to customers, and the best days were the ones that I actually got to work the floor. I scoured the place for people to help. That’s the reason that I took the job. But they needed morning workers because all the college and high school kids couldn’t do the 7am shift, so I was stuck shelving and zoning every day. I rarely got to help customers. I was miserable… making minimum wage, doing manual labor… and to the person who mentioned the time-expectations on zoning, I totally agree. I’m a hard worker, but with bad knees and a gazillion books out of place, I never could live up to their expectation. Regardless, they offered me a full-time position as lead casher– with a HUGE bump in pay to $8/hour. Laughable. I was working at another retail store at the time that started me off at $9.65/hour, so the full-time position for less money was out of the question. Since I had worked in management at my corporate job, I was obviously interested in the management path and the managers at BN had praised me for my work and saw that in my future… but the day they brought in the meek girl 10 years younger than me with no management experience to be MY MANAGER, I was fed up. My favorite day at BN was the day I quit. When I went back to get my paycheck, the guy who DID take the lead cashier position went to get my paycheck– but not before calling me a quitter. I just want to say that I believe that the customer is always right, and I always just wanted to help them. Sounds like they should have kept me around rather than some of the other people who keep putting the “blame” on customers. It’s retail. At the end of the day, our sole purpose is (or SHOULD BE) making the customer happy. If they’re hiring people that don’t believe that, they’re making a huge mistake. I, too, have stopped shopping at BN. I’ll go to Borders if I need something that day, but typically choose Amazon because of their awesome prices and fast shipping.

  • sick and tired

    I work in the childrens dept and I personally am sick of being treated like shit. I’m not your own personal shopper! And you people seem to think of the employees as babysitters as well. You leave your kids alone in the section! Then later when your kids are missing you dumb fucks are standing there with your thumbs up your asses “oh why did this happen? What did I do to deserve my child getting stolen?”
    You are horrible lazy people! Thats what happened.
    I’ve even caught some of you making out while there are children 3 feet away from you.
    Once a fellow employee accidentally cut themselves with a box cutter and the customer nearly threw a fit because that ment she’d have to wait for someone else to help her. THis employee needed to be taken to the emergency room!
    Have a little compassion. I doubt that if the shoe were on the other foot you would be complaining about the customer service.

  • Robyn

    Wow, it is so hard for me to read the complaints being made by Barnes and Noble employees on here. I have worked at a Barnes and Noble for almost a year now and I love my job. My managers are caring and understanding people who basically do whatever is necessary to keep the employees in a good working attitude.

    In regards to poor customer service at B&N, I would like to state that we work as hard as we can. If you come in the day you need a random book, you run the risk that we might not have it in stock. I’m sorry, but that is just how it works . There are millions of books in print and our store is only so large. If you didn’t have time to wait for us to get the book for you, then you should have tried to get it a week earlier than that.

    To all of the employees that have been complaining about the treatment they have received, chances are that you brought most of it upon yourself. At my B&N, our employees form a very tightly-knit group of family. We range from high school, through college, and even up to senior citizens. Yes, I am paid $7.25/hr, but that is not minimum wage. Minimum wage is set at $6.50/hr. if you are so highly qualified to get another job, then do it. If you were working as an executive in another job, why did you have to take one that is so “awful”? My job at Barnes and Noble is the most rewarding job that I have had as of yet (granted I am in college now). No, I do not plan to continue with them for the remainder of my life, but I will stay with this company until I am put into the job that I am going to school for. Why would I do this ? Because Barnes and Noble is a wonderful company to work for.

    I’ve said my peace.

  • Lori

    Barnes and Noble has the Worst customer service I’ve ever experienced! In October 2007 I mailed in 10 books with the packing slips, for return credit – All the books were packed together in the same box, they credited me for 7 of the books but I have still have not received credit for the last three. I have called twice and have been constantly corresponding via email for the past 3 months with the incompetents who call themselves “customer service”. For some reason they believe that they have not received the last three books, even though they were all sent in the same box! Has the US Postal service taken to separating packages during the shipping process?! All that I keep hearing from them is that they are researching the matter. What I believe is that someone from the warehouse stole my returns upon receipt. I will NEVER deal with Barnes and Noble again – to me they are Big and Nono.

  • Jenni

    I found this site because, in desperation to get out of my current company, I applied to several management jobs at B&N. I’ve been with my current company (a large department store) for about five years now, and I have had enough. Everything you guys have said sounds very, very familiar. Retail is retail, no matter where you go.

    What made me want to comment, however, was the complaints about the 25-50 cent raises. WHY ARE YOU COMPLAINING? (haha). At my store, the max you can get for outstanding performance is 15 cents. It goes down to 10 cents for meets expectations, and less from there. Fifteen freaking cents for a whole year of good service. Remember, that is the maximum, and since my company does not like to give money away, we are instructed to gives “meets expectations” on the reviews we do. True story: I had one fantastic, wonderful girl who I have “outstanding” to on most of the categories. When the review came back from corporate, the had erased my marks (we are required to do them in pencil, but sign them in pen) and bumped her down to “meets expectations.”

    Anyway, enough from me. Just be happpy you’re getting your 25 cents…

  • BN MGR

    I have been a manager with B&N for more than 3 years now and it is not the same company I originally went to work for. I feel equally bad for both the customers on this site complaining of bad service & the employees complaining of being treated unbelievably bad. It used to be that the bad experiences were pretty much linked to bad store &/or district management, but not anymore.

    For employees: as a company we are being restructured at the store level in such a way that promotion from within no longer exists, so be aware. If you’ve been waiting for that bump up to management & sweet full-time, forget it. Do yourself a favor & update your resume. The Lead positions are bye-bye. We have been ordered to keep booksellers, cafe servers, etc. below 15 hours p/wk with max 4.5 hour shifts. The goal is to get rid of expensive long-time employees & discourage the formation of new ones. This is all from corporate. Speaking to post #92 about the generous raises B&N gives, those are in the past. We are now told to write up all bookseller infractions so that the few who last a year won’t be eligible for the automatic increase due to chronic performance problems. WTF! The benefits, promotions & fat raises only motivate people if they are achievable, which they aren’t any longer.
    To Angry Customers: all of the above factors lead to piss poor customer service (Happy Workers, Happy Customers anyone?) It also means that the good workers aren’t going to stick around because of low wages & no career path, so the bad booksellers are increasing in numbers. I am finding that the booksellers who are staying are the ones who don’t NEED our paycheck. They have little investment in their job and it shows. Kids of affluent families, retirees who want to get out of the house, bored housewives, people who live in their mom’s basement. God, I hate employing them. Almost uniformly they do the absolute minimum not to get fired & nothing more.

    As an angry or wronged customer this is the only course of action you can take to make a difference when you complain. Go home & call the B&N Customer Service number 1-800-THE-BOOK (1-800-843-2665) and ask to file a complaint. Be specific & don’t soft pedal the bad parts, try to use names & make sure you save your receipt. Your voice as a customer is the only one corporate cares about. You can complain to me until the cows come home, but when I pass your complaint to corporate they think I am making things up because I don’t want to do my job! They absolutely never take any complaints from the store level seriously, ever ever ever! If enough customers complain directly to them about an issue it becomes more important than anything. Plus, did I mention that if you are upset & angry enough about the bad service you will get a nice fat gift card?

  • BN Employee

    I’ve noticed many people talking about sitting in the comfy chairs and relaxing with a coffee and reading. I worked at a Barnes and Noble for 4 years. When I started, there weren’t even bookshelves…I helped open the store. In my 4 years at Barnes and Noble, the comfy chairs were NEVER cleaned! They have been sat on by stinky people, homeless people, masturbating people, people having sex and people farting and peeing their pants. THEY HAVE NEVER BEEN CLEANED! I don’t know if it is the same in other stores, but I can tell you this, I wouldn’t sit in those chairs even if the world was flooded with piss and those chairs were the only dry places.

  • Anonymous Bookseller

    A few days ago Len Riggio, one of the high-ups at B&N, posted a note on the B&N internal web site. He noted that while Borders is trying to find enough cash to keep the doors open, B&N has 350 million bucks just sitting around. (From the previous posts, you would conclude that B&N must have accumulated the dough by not giving it to employees.) If that isn’t a hint that B&N is going to to buy Borders, I don’t know what is.

    Keep in mind that Borders is by no means B&N’s main competitor — rather, Amazon is. Borders is no more than a minor nuisance.

    Although I work at B&N, I think that Borders has a better selection of books for my tastes, and my wife agrees. Losing them would be a shame.

  • LEAD BOOKSELLER

    It sounds like you B and N employees work at really bad LOCATIONS my B and N is the highest volume store in the region and we consistently beat the lame goals corporate throws at us. While the pay may be dreadful B and N has provided me the chance to work a flexible schedule and graduate from college. I now have a “real job” and still work (for half the money) part time because I really love it there. The worst part about it is really the customers. If you are complaining about customer service blame the individual not the company also don’t overlook the fact that you may be stupid and/or lazy . Steve Riggio donated $20 million to rebuild New Orleans and Im from Louisiana so I admit to being biased. But seriously, my store is great. You angry employees should consider a transfer or use B and N as I did to maintain the best insurance I have ever seen for myself and my unmarried girlfriend. They are really liberal and diverese and the experience can vary greatly from one manager to another I assure you.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    “LEAD BOOKSELLER” wrote:

    If you are complaining about customer service blame the individual not the company also don’t overlook the fact that you may be stupid and/or lazy.

    LOL. With that comment, I think you’ve proved everyone’s point about the customer service staff at B&N having a bad attitude.

    Also, it’s more than a bit ironic when someone who enjoys calling people stupid apparently doesn’t know how to punctuate properly. Google “run-on sentence.”

    Enjoy your phys. ed. degree and your “real job.” ;-)

  • Anonymous bookseller

    LEAD BOOKSELLER wrote:

    “. . . If you are complaining about customer service blame the individual not the company . . .”

    Any company that cares about customer service will monitor the performance of its employees, and address any poor behavior on their part. Some problems can be corrected by training, while others require stronger action.

    If customers at a particular store routinely get poor service, it’s either because management isn’t paying attention, or because management is unwilling to incur the expense of hiring more, or better, employees.

    My own store is so understaffed that I am forced to dispose of customers as quickly as possible — there’s no time to give them tender loving care. Don’t blame me when management refuses to hire enough workers.

  • steve

    Quit whining about Barnes and Noble! There is a reason we are #1, and Borders is just about Bankrupt. Amazon is a joke as well. No one can be perfect! We try our best, but sometimes we are at the mercy of the publishers. Ever thought about why Amazon NEVER turns a profit? Didn’t think so! As for the comment about “getting a real job”, don’t get pissed off because the car wash laid you off again! Haven’t you realized by now that the automatic washes have replaced you and your squeegee? It just goes to show your ignorance!

  • http://sdquarterly.com/ Phillip Winn

    Steve (#99), are you for real?

    Amazon has been profitable for years now.

    B&N’s online customer satisfaction results are clearly not based on your efforts; you’ve just alienated everyone here, and insulted every potential customer. Bad idea!

  • Wanted-

    I was sad to find that Barnes and Nobles sucks. I had hoped that my atrocious treatment at a B&N store was isolated, but in actuality new it would not be. I also expected to find employees of B&N’s on the blog, trying to save their own jobs because they work for a company that places the customer at the bottom of their balance sheet. The way that B&N’s treats their customers only reinforces their inability to understand a winning business model. I recommend shareholders sell. I don’t want to drone on with business jargon and bore the non-business types, but the bottom line of any successful business is their customer base and word of mouth is the best form of advertisement and the best way to bring down a corporation.
    My experience was horrible at B&N. They treated me like dirt. I had a manager lie right to my face and blame someone else; I checked before I asked him, so I knew he lied. I would have been O.K. with him being inadequate at his job, but to lie, that was the end. The manager and assist manager are new and many of us hope that Barnes and Nobles reads this and terminates them. We are sad that they have placed the USF logo next to the Barnes and Nobles name on the sign. They are disgracing our school. We hope to get some things changed or get rid of them. We assume that B&N spent a lot of money to be at our school and they are paying us well. We don’t expect to allow them to demean our great reputation with their unprofessionalism.
    Thank you to all the people on this site that voiced their opinions. I believe the complaints are legitimate. I don’t believe the employees stories because they were probably forced to write nice things because blogs are destroying companies. Just watch this site; soon a flood of former B&N employees will start documenting their HR nightmares.
    Thank you to the site creator. Stay away from B&N and live happy!
    Take Care

  • Bad Mgt. St. Pete FL B&N

    Add this to heading

    Wanted- New Mgt. at St. Pete, FL B&N

  • Reader

    Barnes & Noble is simply inferior to many other bookstores. I’ve made several purchases with them over the years, and I have finally gotten fed up with the company. From now on I’m making all my purchases from Amazon.com.

  • Me

    I’m surprised to find so many negative comments about B&N. I actually have had pleasant experiences at all the B&N’s and Borders that I have gone into. The employees are always very helpful, and if there is ever a problem they are quick to fix it. I have never had any problem with ordering books through the local stores, or online. I have had to change an order before and the employees were very helpful.

    I am also a teacher, and I spend tons of my money for my classroom at both chains. While I enjoy the 20% discount, I do not expect it for non school related items. In fact, I would buy the books for my classroom even if I didn’t have the 20% off. I do separate my school purchases and personal purchases for the cashier. I always tell them which stack is for what (which I know they can tell anyway).

    For the comment about teacher work hours and rate of pay: I’m not sure what teacher you know, but that is not the norm. I am contracted 190 days a year (40 hours a week I might add), plus after school activities. I am only paid for those hours, but often spend many more hours preparing for my classroom. On an average I put in 60-80 hours a week on teaching and preparing. Our salary also does not include the mandated 60 continuing education hours that we must get. I normally get these during my “summer” time off. On average, I may get about 2 weeks of vacation in the summer. Please do not assume you know everything about my profession, and I will not assume to know yours.
    Sorry the last bit was so long. I just needed to get my 2 cents in.

  • B&NWestCoast

    I have worked for Barnes & Noble for 7 years. I really enjoyed it most of the time. I have ever been promoted, despite earning the 50cent raise every year. I am currently doing a manager’s job, and have been for over a month. I just found out that the manager’s absence may be drug or alcohol related and that they may be out for an extended period of time. I’m not sure what to do. I want to ask my manager for the job, but I don’t know if it is out of place. I just read the company’s code of ethics and I feel that there have been violations to that code. Every single day multiple co-workers tell me that I’m doing such a good job. Managers call me their hero. I’m just hesitant to do anything about my situation because I really enjoy my job and my co-workers. I don’t want to rock the boat, but I feel like I deserve better than that. Frankly, if I weren’t here in this same situation, they would be totally screwed.

  • M. Bookseller

    I’m a bookseller at a Bay Area, CA Barnes and Noble. I’ve been on both sides of this fence between customers and employees and most of my (unsolicited) can be given to either party:

    COMMUNICATE. This is very important and much neglected.

    Be patient.

    Be forgiving.

    Leave your baggage at the door.

    Treat each person with civility, even if they don’t seem to warrant it.

    Treat the property of the bookstore with care. Until you own that book, CD, or DVD, you have no right to use, abuse, or damage that product in any way.

    Don’t blame others for things that are not within their control. Most issues that are not behavior based stem from corporate policies or unfortunate circumstances. Learn to recognize the difference.

    Anyway, it’s 3:30 am so I’m losing my focus at this point so I have just one last point. This goes out to more people than it should, unfortunately.

    Customers, keep your shoes on.

    I repeat: Please, do not remove your shoes in our store.

    Make your kids keep their shoes on as well, unless you plan on carrying them inside.

    If 7-11 won’t tolerate a lack of shoes, what makes you think that any other retail-chain is going to be okay with customers walking around their store unshod? It’s not only a liability issue for us, but a matter of hygiene as well.

    Anyway, that’s it for my two-cents on unsolvable conflicts in the World of Suck that is Retail.

  • JLEAD, West Michigan

    I agree with a LOT of what booksellers are saying. I’m a lead with 10 years experience in a couple stores, and I have to say that the Store Manager really guides the morale. The company policies have always been the same, but the way they’re filtered through store management really determines how much you dread coming to work. I’ve worked for terrific Store Managers who encourage employees and who are an example to look to, and I’ve worked (and am currently working for) a clueless manager who spent her career in BEST BUY and OFFICE MAX and who STILL doesn’t know how to ring up gift cards or look up title lists, who belittles employees and micromanages everything.

    Regarding the We Listen program, it works occasionally. Of course it took about 8 of us to report our Store Manager to really see a small change in her behavior, but we felt no repercussions.

  • Anonymous bookseller

    Anonymous bookseller writes again . . .

    Barnes and Noble every month or two publishes a little magazine for the enlightenment of its employees, reminding them of how B&N is assuredly the greatest enterprise in the history of capitalism.

    In each issue is one page with quotes from various employees. Perhaps these words indeed reflect the genuine opinions of the booksellers involved. Or maybe some B&N manager wrote the words and the employee was forced to say them.

    I lean toward the second possibility, as B&N is never shy about dispensing phony information. For instance, if I help a customer order a book, and the computer (named Bookmaster) says that it will arrive in 3 or 4 business days, I am required to give that delivery estimate to the customer. Yet plenty of books take longer, as evidenced by the number of complaints I receive. Another deceptive practice involves the calculation of discounts for members. Suppose a book is marked at 20 percent off, and the customer has a B&N membership promising another 10 percent off. Does the customer get a total discount of 30 percent? No, the discount is only 28 percent.

    In the most recent issue of the little magazine, one employee from a store in Virginia talks about how we “put the book in the customer’s hand”. Sure, we walk the customer over to the area where the book is supposed to be. Most of our categories are intended to be sorted by author, publisher, biographical subject, or a similar criterion. But in my store under half of those categories are in fact sorted, and even then the sorting is only approximate.

    In at least a third of our categories, there is no sorting at all, even though the home office requires it. If the customer seeks a book about home improvement, job interviews, art, music, law, astrology, trivia, theater, Spanish, child care, diet cooking, or weddings we just have to start looking at every book in the section until we locate the one that the customer needs. Of course the book may have migrated to some other category entirely, and then nobody will ever find it.

    The children’s department is worse, because many of the Bookmaster categories here have no counterpart on the shelves — so our booksellers do not even know where to start looking.

    An average of twenty times a day I have to apologize to a customer for not being able to find a book that Bookmaster says we have: first for not finding it, and second for wasting so much of the customer’s time in the fruitless search.

    You can’t put the book in the customer’s hand if you can’t find the book.

  • Employeewhowantstokeepherjob

    I’m really lucky that I work for one of the better stores in our district, both because of our location and the people I work with. There are definitely employees and customers who truly, truly suck, but in general I really like the job.

    I do have some issues with the company, like the way the member card is pushed. (At the cash register employees are required to mention the card AND a benefit). I usually do the absolute minimum UNLESS I think having the card will really be a benefit to someone. If I see them all the time, or if they are buying a large amount of merchandise. However, I am against pushing people for sales and believe that just doing your best and trying to treat people right will be better for business then scaring off customers with constant harassment!

    I also try to make sure that people know we can’t guarantee order dates (to the store), and I try to be safe by saying it could be up to a week. I try to warn people of upcoming non-business days (holidays/weekends) and I make sure they know that if stuff doesn’t come in in time, they don’t have to buy it. Our store doesn’t make us give a time frame for orders, because we know there are too many variables what with the warehouses, delivery company, ect…

    Some of the things written about other store policies and practices are kind of surprising. It must really vary from district to district.

    My advice to any customer with a complaint: try another store and please, please, please ask for a manager. You may have gotten an employee who doesn’t know how to help you (part-time/seasonal), or you may have gotten a jerk who doesn’t care. B&N is a huge company spanning the country and the stores and employees vary as much as the states they are in.

  • Matt

    I worked at B&N for two years. I felt myself deteriorating slowly into a sea of enmity and indifference. Simply put, there was an incredible barrier between customer and employee, one that neither really seemed to acknowledge. Employees geared themselves up for those arrogant, dumb-fuck customers, and customers steeled themselves for those arrogant, dumb-fuck employees. As an employee, you were only accountable to the other employees. Mildly offensive customer comments could easily be a thirty-minute back room bitch session, and I can only imagine that the reverse would hold true for the customers as well.

    I look at these posts, and I know the reason there is so much despair is because of our society at large. We’re falling apart. We don’t know how to treat our neighbors, our classmates, our servers, and any other stranger out there. It is a soul-altering experience to be in the heart of the modern retail chain, in a sad, unforgettable way.

  • http://www.manofjoy.com Joey

    I worked at Borders. Even with an employee discount, I went to Barnes and Noble for the environment and the service, but MOSTLY, because they are open until 11. I’m also a happy B&N member.

    I suppose not all locations are the same. Borders does tend to be less expensive, but I never seem to find what I’m looking for on the shelves there. At B&N I always seem to end up leaving with a handful of things that sparked my interest.

    Borders was also a fabulous job. Too bad they pay so bad or else I’d still be working there.

  • Jason

    After a very disturbing encounter today with a B&N Manager I decided to take my frustration out via the web. Interestingly enough I found this site. I was prepared to called Corporate or a General Manager tomorrow, but after reading these horror stories, it’s clear that won’t help either. Long story short, I bought a book, realized it wasn’t the book I thought I needed, tried to return it WITH RECEIPT, had the book and my receipt confiscated, was called a thief and ordered to leave. I am still in shock! When I told my wife she immediately called the store to defend me and was told by the clerk on the line that it happens all the time. I think it goes without saying I will find books elsewhere or on-line from here on out and encourage others to do the same.

  • anonymous

    Seriously, do you think anyone at B&N cares when people say they won’t shop there anymore? No. The customers who go there are pieces of shit. Lazy parents who can’t even watch their own children, let alone discipline them. These children destroy the children’s department, but then take a look at their parents who are doing the same exact thing. Sitting their fat asses right on top of books in the bargain section, setting their drinks on top of books. Yea books, not coasters. Chucking 50+ magazines under chairs. Destroying books. People who complain about dirty restrooms there? Please, what about the one customer who took a book from the Gay & Lesbian section and actually shit on in. Yes, it was found in the toilet with shit on it. Most of the women customers who use the restroom there can’t even pee in the toilet. Why is that? You’re sitting down. Disgusting.
    Mind you, the employees don’t enjoy selling the membership card. It is a waste of money and they must do so because of secret shops.
    If you know you need a book by a certain time, plan in advance. Learn more about the book you want before asking the employees to find “That big red book that had a bird on it” for you. Most of the employees aren’t lemmings and don’t read every book that Oprah has reviewed which by the way most aren’t “new”, but that’s because most of you are too stupid to realize that and need Oprah to tell you what to read.
    Don’t interrupt an employee when they are already helping someone. Rude.
    You want to complain about B&N employees? Take a look at your sloppy ass in the mirror first before stepping out into public. It’s your own fellow consumer that destroyed that last copy of the book that you wanted.

  • Lauren

    WAHHHHHHMBULANCE!!!

  • Anonymous bookseller

    Another reason why B&N can’t find your book …

    In my town, the schools like to give summer reading assignments to their students. Each kid has to read typically four books, usually classic fiction; there’s a lot of overlap among the various schools’ lists.

    Our store has set up three “pine” tables (they’re really made out of oak but the official Barnes and Ignoble name is pine) to display the most-requested titles. These special tables are necessary because the home office in New York City has grossly overstocked us on summer reading books, and the regular departments don’t begin to have enough room. However, the pine tables themselves are insufficient, therefore “waterfall” displays (clear plastic multi-level racks) have been added on the floor underneath the tables.

    The problem is that we have not sorted by any criterion the books of the summer reading display; it’s all random. So if a parent requests a book that’s not in its regular department, we have to search through about 300 titles one by one and hope to find the book that the customer wants. This takes a lot of time, and other customers wait too long. Some give up and leave.

    What’s worse, after a week or two the books on these summer reading tables start getting rearranged — sometimes by careless customers, and sometimes by store employees who need to squeeze in another title because it won’t fit anywhere else. So if “Catcher in the Rye” was in a certain place a few days ago, it may be elsewhere now. Further, a copy of one book often gets mixed into a stack containing a different book. For instance, if “Pride and Prejudice” gets stacked on top of a pile of “Huckleberry Finn”s, the Twain book is as good as lost, and the sale is lost too.

    Need summer reading? Save time: just go to amazon.

  • Steve Burstein

    The Steve at B&N story.Working at the Downtown Crossing store in Boston was great for most of the 80s.We had SUCH laid-back managers(but I actually worked pretty hard).Then about 1991 the changes began.All these nasty, patronizing, anal retentive managers came in.I strarted getting yelled at.All these new rules(no reading, etc.).A dress code(since scuttled).I applied at several independant bookstores, but had no luck.For most of the 90s It was up and down-we still had some nice managers come in, but one head cashier was yelling and making snide remarkes to me constantly.The one time I yelled back, she said “I am your supervisor, you don’t talk to me like that”.Okay:2004-06. More new managers.I’m getting a lot of grief from the new assistant manager, who says “I Want” as if he owns the place,treats me like a child, and seems to do nothing but complain to me about this or that mistake that I don’t see how I could have made.I’d had a promotion in ’01 and I’d become accustomed to a little more respect, and this was depressing.I’m assigned the hardest sections.Twice I’m called on the carpet, once for missing over 100 returns(I had no idea how I could have done that-I probably signed off on the wrong date-or they were lying)and the second time for missing assignments that weren’t put in my mailbox in the first place generally being behind the other lead booksellers-and AGAIN he complained about the missed returns, which I didn’t think was fair.I felt i’d been working hard, and didn’t understand what their problem was.Why did they wait out months of my doing things the way I did them THEN write me up? Why no constructive criticism? I knew nothing was ever going to be good enough. Well, shortly after that we are told that the store is closing, and there will be jobs for us at the other stores.But months after that, I’m told that I’m not capable of being a lead at the other stores, that they “dont’t want to see me fail”.They reminded me of an episode where I’d allegedly been told to start pulling non-retunable books but I hadn’t.But nobody told me to start pulling them.The assistant manager told me to scan the foreign language section ALL OVER AGAIN to find non-retunables, though someone had obviouly already taken care of them.I was made to think that I ‘d been told to pull the books, did pull some, then forgot all about them.No, this was not a habit that would work at other stores.I knew this was a head game.But I was persuaded to take the severance pay package.I’ve been temping since then, as I’ve made up my mind never to work retail again.

  • Albert

    Has anyone here ever used a B & N Gift Card? How long do they last, or can you use them indefinitely?

  • Anonymous bookseller

    barnsie claims that gift cards are good forever, and i’ve never encountered one that was expired. in fact, we occasionally see an old paper gift certificate, and we manage to get it to work.

  • sad employee

    I have been working for BN for 11 years, and just found out yesterday that they cut my hours down to nothing, canceled my health insurance and my paid time off has mysteriously disappeared. I worked so hard there. I loved helping customers, even the cranky ones. Gossiping and backstabbing, however, became a way of life for management. I loved my store, so I spoke up and stood up for people who were being bullied, including me. I was written up for talking back. Now, I’m still technically an employee yet I have no hours and no benefits, and they did not even have the decency to tell me. I called HR for some other reason and found out that way.Luckily I also work in the library system here which is a million times more rewarding and fulfilling, and I STILL get to help all the lovely people find their books. :) Reading these comments, I realize that it is probably because of my salary that this has happened. I made more than even some of the supervisors. I am heartbroken that I worked so hard every day and did my best to give people great customer service no matter what, and after 11 years they toss me aside like I don’t matter.

    PS – What someone said about the “comfy” chairs is correct. We had an old man pee all over one, they set it outside to air out for a day or two and then it went right back onto the floor. Eleven years and those chairs have never been Fabreezed, much less cleaned or replaced. We had a lady defecate on the floor in the book aisles and while they picked it up, the carpets were not shampooed for over a year. I used to see customers walk around barefoot and retch thinking of all the feces, urine, vomit and such that has just been brushed off the floor without so much as soap.

    PPS – Also, please don’t leave your children alone. We had a pedophile who would come and stare at the children. He would follow unattended kids. We contacted police who said it wasn’t illegal for him to look (?!) and while as employees we harassed him into never coming back there are a lot of crazies that we have no way of controlling. When we ask you to watch your child it is more for their safety than worrying about the books.

    Thank you for letting me have my say. Please try not to be frustrated with each other, customers and employees! I am glad to the core of my heart to see there are happy employees out there. For a long time BN was the best job ever and filled my life with happiness.

  • anonymouslead

    Hi, I’ve been with the same B & N store for almost five years, and while I agree with some of the (negative) comments here, I must put in my two cents regarding what Sad Bookseller said about the cleanliness of her store. That must be a disgusting environment! At the store I work at, the cleaning crew Lysols all the chairs in the morning, as well as mopping all the non carpeted floors. And the carpets get shampooed either once a month or every two months, I can’t remember which. Good thing, too, because we have people who like to do charming things like shit on the floor and wipe it on the bathroom walls as well.

  • Bookie11

    I am an avid reader who up until this past year had been a frequent of Barns & Noble. It has been a very appealing store to me ever since I could turn an allowance as a kid, even in more recent times in which a well-paying job allowed me to spend upwards of three, four-hundred dollars a month there, spent between four or so stores in the area in an attempt to find the best quality books, in which I became well acquainted with the overall temperament of each store’s staff.

    But because the customer service in my Dallas-Fort Worth, TX experiences has simply gone from digestible to terrible and the book quality has always been so-so but now is sort of insulting at times (urine yellow pages, creased spines, dusted, defective books abound) I have turned to Borders and Amazon who offer amazing customer service and more realistic prices, respectively, in comparison.

    I have a few horror stories of my own and was quite pleased to find this site for the sort of group therapy it has provided, but I am also glad to hear from so many employees and what their side of the coin looks like.

    Most of you employees sound like great people, with the exception of a few whiners. I’ve worked in clothing retail for a while and no offense, but I along with the rest of the staff have stayed as late as twenty minutes after official closing time while a customer finished shopping and we dealt with it. I understand that employees wish to leave but there isn’t need to attack people while they’re actually in the process of leaving as has happened to me a few times at a few B&Ns; either conjure a tiny bit of courtesy or find a new job.

    It isn’t easy to stomach but the logic is that employees have made the choice to work at a particular establishment, whereas customers are asked into that same establishment, and as long as business works that way one must either stomach this or find a new means of employment, or perhaps a bit of zen for that matter. =D

    Anyway the hang-ups could go on forever but I agree with everyone here who speaks of how good the store WAS. RIP B&N.

  • Kallisti

    I work a Barnes and Noble and I see a lot of customers I absolutely disdain writing on these boards.

    – Wandering around the store 20 minutes after close. (Employees have lives to attend to as well)

    – Throwing fits because a book is not in stock (There are a million books out there and they cannot all fit in a building)

    – Demanding a large size cup of water from the Cafe even though we provide drinking cups and carafe on the condiment bar. (Cups are expensive: my cafe would go through a box of cups a day if we did that.)

    I invite you all to read “Pretending You Care” by Norman Feuti. It’s a great book and may allow you to understand why a few of you may have the unlucky “stigma” of rude customer care people.

    It’s a good eye opener and may help you get the upper edge when shopping at retail stores. I even discovered annoying habits of my own.

  • sam

    I am a Banes and Noble employee who has left and come back. Alot of my family also works for the company. Its a retail store and its alot like working for any other big retail store, only we get a pretty fabulous discount on book, as well as at other affiliated stores and companys.

    I would also like to say that retail stores are run by HUMANS who not only make errors but have lives, peronalities, tempers….flaws. I appologize if anyone has been treated bad by a person, but you cant blame an entire company for the way one person, or even a handful of people have treated you.

    also, of course a bookstore cant keep in all books at all times. most clothing stores cant keep in all sizes. Appliance stores usually only have displays… Even grocery stores have trouble keeping in turkeys around thanksgiving. Its retail. Sell as much as you can at the biggest profit possible. Thats smart business. I can say 85% of the customers fine everything they want at each visit. The rest are happy to wait the 2-5 days it takes to get a book from one of the many warehouses around the country.

    as for getting things cheeper online. duh. When you dont have an overhead of employees, shipping, and of couse rent! of course your going to get things cheeper. Most prices are from the publisher, and they mark down alot of best sellers to compete in the market against other retailers. Maybe you can save 30 cents at borders, go then. It dosent hurt my feelings that you shop elsewhere. I shop at borders too, there rice krispy treats are fabulous and i love that me and my husband can share a pot of tea there.

    Oh, and too all the employees complaining about pay, you choose to work in retail. When you accept a job you accept the pay. No one is forcing you to work for nothing. If your work ethic and skills are great, you can get a job someplace else. Get a “real” job if you want 50k a year. I dont want one. I want to sling coffee and books and have no stress. And im good at it so I get raises.

  • Gerry

    I ordered a textbook from BN.com on July 15th to be sent to my godson in Kenya, and specifically chose to pay an additional 50% of the book’s cost for International Air Freight — just so that I could trace delivery on the book and get it to him before the fall semester of University starts.

    Lo and behold, when I check the order status, it shows shipping by Internal Express (UPS air freight) but a tracking number that doesn’t work on UPS.com for tracing (as advertised). When I call Customer Service, they advise me that it was instead shipped by a Customs Broker via air mail, would arrive another 2 weeks later, and was untraceable. They would credit my account for the lower shipping cost, but only because I had called to inquire — otherwise, I’d have blindly been overcharged by $20!

    Furthermore, even though they were advised that this shipment would probably not arrive due to the unsecure shipping method chosen, they won’t reship properly — and won’t accept responsibility for failure to arrive until August 19th — 5 weeks from ordering on an order promised to arrive within 2-3 business days from July 16th!

    Good Customer Service? NOT! Lost customer, BN? DEFINITELY, even though I have a store 1/4 mile down the road from my house, where I purchase over $200 worth of books a month. Lack of management controls, resulting in consumer fraud? ABSOLUTELY!

  • Chrissyface

    I’ve been working at Barnes & Noble for 3 years, and while I can’t speak for the employee “mocking” you, I can say that the delay in the order is the fault of our distribution company. Complaining to us about a late order is like complaining to a waiter about poorly cropped vegetables. Take it up with the farmer. Oh, and when people threaten to go to Amazon instead of us (and that is always the go-to threat) nobody who works there give a crap or loses sleep.

  • Connie

    I ordered a book for University and realized I had ordered the wrong book. I called within a half an hour and they would not cancel my order. So I had to wait three days for my order to be shipped. Now I am waiting for it to get here to Canada and I will have to return it express post to get a refund!?! Does this not sound totally ridiculous to any intellegent person?

  • Diego

    I worked for B&N as a Store Manager for 14 years, almost to the day. Some general observations …

    You’re only as good as your boss lets you be. If your manager doesn’t have the skill set required to run a multi million dollar business, the stress cracks are going to show. I worked with many great managers and some that were … “not so much.” What still confounds me is how many of them were medicated (or should have been).

    Dear Field Management Team, “It’s so easy for you to criticize us for not meeting our sales and/or operational goals, so here’s my question for you, “When did you work ever work in a store?” You have no idea.” (Wasn’t that an MTV catch phrase?)

    Regarding anonymous “We Listen” issues – they all ultimately ended up on our desks to resolve. We didn’t work with that many people … how hard do you think it is to figure out who called?

    I found value in every employee who worked with me. Not everyone can recommend an 18th century work of literature, but I’m sure if you asked them, they would talk to you at length about the books in the sections they were knowledgeable in.

    I remember every bad Bookseller. I can talk for days about them. I remember the good ones too. Though they numbered in the thousands, their stories aren’t as interesting.

    Same goes for customers. I remember the crazy ones, the demanding ones, the scammers, the homeless ones, and the worst ones of all … the residents … um … please leave. But the good ones far outnumbered the bad ones. I still see some of my regular customers on mass transit and love discussing books with them.

    For the record, I loved managing the Bookstore and the Music Department. Managing a cafe, quite frankly, sucked. I hated selling coffee, food, tea kettles, office supplies, memberships, credit cards, electronics, and most of all, Barnsie the Noble Bear.

    For me, everything went downhill after Tom Tolworthy left the company. Yes, we were a chain, but really, when you need a checklist to keep track of the checklists … they should rebrand themselves as McBarnes & Noble.

  • Anonymous bookseller

    The B&N headquarters just sent my location a big new sign encouraging people to apply for jobs in our store. The executives say that it’s mandatory for us to set up the sign in a prominent location.

    Why we need that sign I don’t know. We haven’t hired anyone in many moons, and the employees we’ve already got are seeing their hours cut.

    We currently receive over 200 applications a month. Isn’t that enough? Why give job applicants false hopes?

  • Mila77

    I work at B&N and would just like to list the horrifying/disgusting/demeaning customer experiences I or my fellow employees have had:

    1. Diarrhea LITERALLY splattered all over toilets, walls, and floors. Then tracked out onto the carpet. As in, DIARRHEA. F-ING. FOOTPRINTS. G-ROSS.

    2. Male adolescents “sword-fighting” in the men’s restroom. For those of you who don’t know what this means picture this: The Lightsabers (neon swords) in Star Wars. Except the beams of light are actually streams of urine. Yeah, take a moment and let that sink in. Like it did on EVERY SURFACE IN OUR BATHROOM.

    3. Menstral blood dripping from the toilets and pooling on the floor. Enough said.

    4. Semen on books. Not even the sexuality books. If that’s not deviant, I don’t know what is.

    5. When cleaning up a pile of 30 books left on a table in the Cafe, my coworker was ACTUALLY told that we should be grateful. Why? Because if customers didn’t come into the store and make a mess WE ALL WOULDN’T HAVE JOBS. Hmmmmmmm… Surely we are also qualified to shovel animal shit at the local zoo. Pretty close to the same thing (please see examples 1-4).

    6. I was ringing up a customer who was purchasing a stuffed animal. Only when she handed it to me did I realize that it was completely covered in something akin to saliva from her 15 month old. She didn’t even bat an eyelid at my obvious disgust. Does motherhood entitle you to throw all social manners out of the window? Just because you think every fluid that comes out of your child’s body is oh-so-cute, doesn’t mean I do. So I handed her the receipt – covered in snot. Fair is fair…

    7. One day a customer tried to return a book (without a receipt) with a cover that was severely bent and food spilled all over it. May I repeat? Actual food. When I refused to accept the return, she claimed that she bought it like that. As if any self-righteous, condescending, assanine customer would EVER pay full price for a book in that condition.

    8. One old man demanded that we change the music (Lation Jazz?) because people “do drugs to this kind of music.” Apparently, he’s done too many drugs if he thinks any self-respecting Pot-Head would smoke to that crap. Can anyone say Pink Floyd??

    9. We constantly get the requests for the “blue book with the flower on the front” or “that book Oprah had on her show in April 2002″ or that obscure out-of-print self-proclaimed “classic” that no employee has ever heard of or can find evidence for.

    10. I actually had a customer insult my education because I had never read her author/friend’s random Pocahontas history book. Let me repeat. We had the book. We could order more. But there was something wrong with my mental capacity because I had not read the book. Seriously???

    11. One night in the music department an employee was checking out an especially chatty customer. When it was her turn, the customer in line behind her flew into a rage and demanded an apology for making her wait a whole 1.73 minutes. The employee explained that he could not be rude to one customer to help another and she went on a rampage. Literally walked through the store ranting and raving and demanding free books. We asked her to leave but she refused. We actually had to call the cops and have her removed. But, oh no, that was not the end for this Saucy Minx. She prowled the parking lot at MIDNIGHT (when we all got to drag our tired asses home) looking for that employee. True story. We all saw her.

    12. A word to local authors: STOP CALLING THE STORE POSING AS A CUSTOMER ASKING FOR YOUR OWN BOOK. Its just plain sad and we almost never have it. Stop acting incredulous about it – especially when you self-publish or use Billy-Bob’s Publishing Company out of Poedunk, Nowhere.

    13. Every weekend we are overrun with teenagers that are dropped off by their parents for supposed “free teeny-bop daycare services.” These adolescents then procede to scream obscenities, fight, giggle, smudge up the sexuality books (ick), hump in the kids section, destroy the bathrooms, tear up the magazines, spill drinks on books, etc. for rest of the night. When we kick them out, we get calls from parents berating us for expelling their “little angels” who also happen to be “paying customers.” Paying customers (OR little angels, for that matter) don’t split a small Frap-U-cino 12 ways while siting ON THE CAFE TABLES and talking about what shape their pubic hair is shaved into. Teach your kid some f-ing manners and maybe they would be allowed to stay.

    14. Another note to parents in this same vein: We are not at fault if you child comes home gay or transsexual, pierced and/or tattooed, smoking and/or selling drugs, fat or anorexic, having sex and/or pregnant, a Nazi, a conservative or a liberal, or diseased just because we sell books about those topics. We have seperate kid and teen sections for a reason: Only certain books are appropriate for children who should be supervised if you don’t them exposed to the horrors of this world.

    15. While I was checking out a customer, his phone rang. Instead of ignoring it or telling the person to wait a minute, he ACTUALLY STEPS AWAY MID-TRANSACTION TO TAKE THE CALL. With 5 people in line behind him. When I reminded him that I needed payment he completely ignored me and continued his phone call.

    16. As you all know, customers are welcome to come into the store and peruse the books before you they do or do not purchase them. This does not mean that it is okay to sip coffee while filling out the New York Times Crossword puzzle in the newspaper YOU DID NOT PAY FOR NOR INTEND TO. I’m pretty sure that’s called stealing.

    17. We’re always happy to greet the customer who decides that the Music Department is the place to play Pocket Pool. AKA: MASTURBATE.

    18. *Ahem* Ladies and Gentlemen. Please bathe properly before gracing us with your presence. This includes brushing your teeth, applying deodorant, and putting on fresh underwear. You are not fooling anyone when we can smell you from a cool 20-feet away.

    These are just some examples of the numerous nightmares employees at B&N or any retailer have to deal with. I will say that for every disgusting or offensive customer we have, we also get 10 normal people. It’s just that everytime we have to deal with one of the “others” our soul dies a little inside. So, the next time you customers feel slighted because an employee didn’t smile at you in exactly the right way, remember that this particular employee may have just returned from the restrooms after mopping up diarrhea footprints. Let’s have some perspective, shall we?

  • Anonymous bookseller

    A woman came into Barnsie today. She wanted to browse at some books, but forgot her reading glasses.

    She picked out some reference books that she thought I should search through so that I could find the information that she wanted. Once the facts were found, I could read the pertinent passages aloud and she would listen.

    I didn’t.

    (No doubt, when she goes to a restaurant she forgets her dentures and asks the waiter to chew her food for her.)

  • Caity Schneider

    I hate Barnes & Noble’s. Working there for only four months was the worst experience of my life.

    I had always been a good kid, an avid reader, and it was my dream come true to be hired by a bookstore. What I found was awful intimidating managers who were unfair and got mad at me for every little thing, barely ever giving me a chance to explain or defend myself.

    They gave me the biggest section in the store– the children’s section– ALONE. During the HOLIDAY SEASON. Do you have any idea what it’s like to show up and see 7 H-Carts, 10 V-Carts, and 15 needy and helpless customers fighting for my assistance? They rarely sent me back-up; when they did it was for 10 minutes, if not less. It was IMPOSSIBLE to complete the job, and then they’d get mad at me for still having carts out on the floor past 11am.

    Worst of all, one evening, the LOCKED ME IN. I was alone in the kid’s section, separate from the rest of the store; the manager never even made an announcement that everyone was leaving and locking up. Next thing I know, the lights are shut and I’m locked in the store, all alone, on a rainy night. The phones were dead. I had no choice but to open the door, sound the alarm, and wait for the police to come so I could explain it to them. And did the manager who did this to me, or the store manager, ever apologize? NO. They never even apologized for the most terrifying experience of my life.

    I hate Barnes & Noble. This is the Barnes & Noble in Ellicott City, Maryland. I will never set foot in there again.

  • betsybookseller

    in regards to post #128, hours, scheduling, and hiring:

    no one explains to you when you are hired that you are forever part time unless you take a lead postion. it is not worth the money and extra hours to accept this. don’t do it.

    our store hours have been cut dramatically. we are told it is based on sales. yet, we are and have been actively hiring for months. when we hire new people, they recieve the same amount of hours as people who have been there 3 years! very few new employees stay with us. this is training time wasted, and hours given to morons who can’t show up to work. it takes a very long time to learn all the ins and outs of the store. instead of giving the extra hours to employees who know their job and do it well, they hire more part timers so our hours don’t get above 25 a week! this starts a reaction of angry and frustrated employees, which leads to poor work ethics and an “i don’t give a fuck” attitude. things don’t get done as they should be, and the store crumbles.

    i have asked 3 different managers (over 3 years)to explain why they continue to hire when the rest of the store is suffering. i get a lot of lame excuses and don’t believe any of it. barnes and noble is cheap, and would rather weed out poeple who make more $, have insurance,and paid time off. they want to go through the hassle of constantly training new employees, which stresses out the rest of the store, managers included.

    now our store manager has cut our shifts to 4.5-6 hours. employees who have been there for years went from working full day shifts at maybe 3 or 4 days a week, to 4.5 shifts 5 days a week!!! not only is this a waste in gas, it is a waste in our time. this company pushes to hire “career minded” people. this is a joke. when i asked why we could not just work 3 days a week for the same hours (to save on gas) i was told this was not possible. my manager explains that we have too many call outs and no one to cover. if we have people in the store working short shifts then one of us can stay to help. so now the whole store (except lead positions) works horrible shifts?! why not 1 or 2 shifts a day? why all of us? so stupid, especially when it is a select few who call out constantly. all this because they don’t want to, and have a very hard time, writing a schedule to include lunch beaks. lazy!

    i can handle the rude, nasty, demanding, ignorant customers (most of the time), but i cannot handle a company that does not care about employees who make the money for the company. i have politely tried to get answers through my managers at my store. now i am going to corporate to have them explain it to me.

    weeding employees out, banking hours, and lack of respect for people who want to come to work everyday and do their job well is making me sick. sales will continue to drop and our ability to help customers is failing because we have no staff! how can we make sales plan if we have no staff????

    i hope all barnes and noble booksellers will help me in this crisis because it is only going to get worse. i was told that the shifts being cut to under 6 hours is a NATIONWIDE policy.

    of course, i am looking for another job. it’s a shame too. i really liked my job, but this is too much.

  • thatsnotmyname

    If you’re a polite customer, chances are BN employees will be respectful back.

    I’ve worked at Barnes and Noble for over a year and some of my customers are great. I’ve been praised and thanked so many times. And some of my customers are awful. I’ve been sexually harassed and verbally abused. But not every job is perfect. And not every retail store is perfect. Life goes on.

  • lb

    In regards to all the negative booksellers out there. If you are so irritated with your job, why not find a job that is better suited for you. It’s obvious that you are not happy, why not find what your best at instead of complaining about a job. You are not forced to work there, find another job and stop complaining.

  • Anonymous bookseller

    You might consider me a negative bookseller.

    One reason I use this forum to complain is that there is a chance — no doubt a small one — that maybe someone at B&N headquarters is reading this, and what I post might motivate some executive to change something. It’s true that most of the folks up in New York already think that they’ve got everything figured out, but there might be one or two of them who have open minds.

    One thing is for sure: trying to get anything changed through internal corporate channels (such as the chain of command) is hopeless.

    Indeed, my store manager tells me that his/her hands are tied.

    B&N claims that it welcomes suggestions from its employees, but if I want to submit an idea to the company’s suggestion site, I have to do so on my own time, on my own computer. If B&N can’t occasionally grant me fifteen minutes on a company computer to propose something that might help the company run better, then I have to conclude that B&N isn’t really interested in my views.

    And since B&N isn’t really interested in hearing from me, you can be sure that I won’t be calling their Loss Prevention Hotline if I see any merchandise vanishing. I won’t steal it myself, or help anyone else steal it, but don’t expect me to report it.

  • Ciara

    I work at BN and I completely sympathize with most of the complaints because I see the shit go down every day. I see my coworkers be assholes, I see the management be lazy. But I do have to say, the customers do tend to be hard to deal with. ESPECIALLY the ones who’ve never had to work retail. I make an effort to know my customers and have become good friends with some. I don’t like my job, I don’t like the company. But some of your comments are very generalized and you need to take into account that you were insulting all of us which is a gross generalization.

  • Mila77

    I’d like to make a comment to the person who said all the negative booksellers should find other jobs:

    First of all, assuming you’re a customer, WAY TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY. Aside from poor management (which only exists in SOME stores), customers can cause the largest percentage of our unhappiness. I happen to work in a fantastic store with great employees and management. I take pride in working with books and being involved in the literary community. I manage to adore my job DESPITE asshole customers.

    See, your attitude is the exact problem. You view us as service people and nothing more. And because we are service people, the public tends to view us as inferior and they behave accordingly. You think customers are entitled (we’ll talk more about this later) to treat us like shit because of the positions we hold. And your answer to us when we complain? “If you don’t like it, then find someplace else to work.”

    Let me ask you, since you have it all figured out, do you like everything about YOUR job? Every single little aspect of it? Can you honestly say that there aren’t things you would change if given the power? I’m betting your answer proves my point. Moreover, have you never said one negative thing about your job? You’re a liar if you say otherwise. Oh, but we’re not allowed to complain.

    Where would you have us complain instead? To the asshole customers? Yeah, that would go over well. If we cannot have a healthy channel for us to vent our frustrations (such as forums), would you prefer that we resort to workplace violence instead? Or maybe we should run right out and find that dream job that you seem to have.

    The real problem is that we live in a society that promotes single-minded self-interest only. A winner-takes-all society. Sink or swim, right? What happened to compassion for other humans beings? What happened to being polite and considerate? Customers are like a bunch of entitled two year olds: mine, mine, mine, now, now, now! Having to wait or be told “no” is simply unacceptable! And, damn-it-all, you better have an f-ing smile on your subservient face while you jump at my every command. Or find another job.

    I pity you really. You live in a deluded world of rainbows and lollipops where no one is ever mean. And if they are, you certainly do not complain. You grin and bear it and take it right up the ass. YOU ARE A SAINT. Maybe YOU should work in retail!

    What you really need to understand is that in this game of survival us retail warriors are really the fittest. We put up with verbal abuse, entitled and demeaning behavior from customers, low pay and shit hours, all with a smile (albeit insincere) on our faces just so people like you can shop in complete obliviousness. You just remember that the next time you think someone in retail should find another job if they need to complain. Afterall, if we all left, who would serve you?

  • Bookseller Dave

    I have worked for B&N for 4 years now, and it is a good place to work. I have seen mostly good Customer Service from my fellow Booksellers. The people I work with are educated kind people who like working retail. Occasionally I have seen some mistakes in Customer Service but mostly my fellow Booksellers do a great job and get personal compliments from our Customers. Sometimes the Customers are rude, but mostly our Customers are educated kind people who like shopping in Barnes & Noble. At my store we operate like a family and treat our Customers like we would want to be treated. Sometimes we have to clean up messes, but that is ok, it is our job. The best part about being a Bookseller is that we put books in our Customer’s hands, and more books is never a bad thing. Thanx for listening and go reread To Kill A Mockingbird, it’s a great book!

  • CD Ward

    I bought four text-heavy magazines from a B&N. Read three of them, got to the 4th two weeks later, but noticed this $10 magazine was missing the music CD it was supposed to come with. I went back to the store that day hoping to replace the (unread-condition) issue with a complete one. The manager basically told me to go pound salt. Was she right, or should I have gotten a replacement, IF they still had copies (she didn’t check).

  • Anonymous bookseller

    There’s a new issue of B&N’s “Community” magazine, a publication distributed to employees to let them know how lucky they are to be toiling for Barnsie. This issue has a big article talking about how a certain bookseller at one location is making her children’s department the best in the world — maybe she is, I don’t know. At my store, however, we won’t have a similar opportunity.

    The article praises her for, among other things, performing zone maintenance every four weeks. That procedure involves scanning every book in a department to see if it’s in the right category; sorting all the books within each category, usually by author; and finding the poorly-selling books and returning them to the publishers. Myself, I think that zoning is not just a good idea, but a real necessity if the bookstore is going to be run efficiently. Employees in my store are unanimous that books need to be in the right place, and all of us are delighted to perform zoning.

    Now here’s the key question: if the store with that super bookseller has been granted enough staff-hours to do zoning every four weeks, how come my store is furnished so few staff-hours that zoning can take place no more than twice a year? More broadly, why does upper-level management give some stores plenty of staff-hours for zoning, while other stores get practically none?

    With so little available time we cannot do proper zoning. Instead, we might just print a list of books slated for return to the publishers — and then if we’re lucky, we can find maybe half of those titles. Sorting by author routinely goes by the wayside. Could we get more time for zoning? Only by refusing to help customers and answer phones.

    It does irk me that a bookseller in another store gets praise for doing something that Barnes & Noble management will not enable my store’s employees to do, even though we want to.

  • Anonymous bookseller

    I am a Barnes and Noble employee… first off, where was the barns and noble located at? Because our Barnes and Nobles employees do not treat customers that way, so I sorry you had to do experience that. However, you customers get carried away. Have you ever thought for once of the type of ARROGANT people we have to deal with on a daily basis? Have you ever thought for once, how selfish and stuck up that you sound? Amazon is run through BN and Boarders numbnuts, so you do not know what you’re talking about. And as far as magazines go how we to know are you didn’t take out the CD and then return the magazine? BECAUSE PEOPLE DO THAT? Customers are ruthless and they do not care, we have to clean up after their messes, so again, did you for once think about that? NOPE of course not, but come on here and bitch about something so childish and so stupid. AND, customer service does do the ordering for you, however, after we do the ordering, it is out of our hands, it goes to the venders who deliver the fucking books, not BN. So before you come on here and rant about BS, look for more information first. Seriously, everyone needs to open up their eyes and look at the big picture, you tell me one perfect fucking store in the world who has never gave a customer problems who has never had an order screw up who has never had ANY TYPES OF PROBLEMS WITH CUSTOMERS and ill shut my mouth. Otherwise, please shut yours, you’re wasting oxygen.

  • A costumer

    I agree with some of the people above who said that you should state what specific B&N store you are talking about, because every B&N store I have been to around Orange County, CA, has treated me with respect and have been very helpful. Some of the costumers above don’t make any sense, obviously when it’s closing time, you have to leave, I mean come on, employees need to go home too you know. Every time I have ordered a book from B&N, it arrived sooner than they said it would and they are nice enough to hold books for 10 days. So if you need a book, might as well not procrastinate because you won’t find it anywhere if you wait till the last minute. I also agree that Amazon.com is amazing! But both B&N employees and customers should know that we’re all wrong in some ways and that we should try to meet each other halfway.

  • roger

    just curious to the barnes and noble employees what is the starting pay, i have an interview soon and was curious?

  • CD Ward

    “And as far as magazines go how we to know are you didn’t take out the CD and then return the magazine? BECAUSE PEOPLE DO THAT?”

    Putting aside your age 4-level grammar for a moment, you don’t know that, you have to trust me, because many people are honest and just want what they paid for, no more, no less. Some people like to spray diarrhea all over bathrooms walls too, but you don’t close the bathrooms for the clean people, do you?

  • B&N employee

    To CD Ward (#144):

    According to B&N’s new return policy, magazines are not returnable/exchangeable. If all you wanted was the missing CD, the manager on duty should have just given it to you. B&N doesn’t care about the Newsstand area anymore anyway. I know this for a fact because I was a Newsstand Lead and my job was eliminated.

  • Stephanie

    I would like to comment on the lack of customer service at B&N.com. While all of the employees thus far have stated that this is a wonderful organization…blah blah. I would like to point out one thing. There are a lot of customers complaining on this site. This is just one site…and the customers here are only a small minority of the folks who think “B&N sucks” so badly that they angry and want to tell the world.

    I too, will only deal with Borders or Amazon from this point forward. I purchased a text book on 9/22. I read #10 post about needing a book today by an employee of B&N that said “If you knew you needed the damn book, you shouldn’t have waited til the last minute”. Well, my class starts 10/17..do you think I allowed enough time for delivery??

    I have emailed and called ad naseum. I get NO help from the customer service agents, just a condescending, “well, I understand your frustration.” Well, truth told, you don’t. You are not the one that is having to MONITOR the transaction. You are NOT the one out the money the book cost PLUS face the prospect of ordering another book that probably will be needed today and ordered at the last damn second.

    The “authorized booksellers” featured on B&N.com are not even required (according to the member of the “management team”) to give B&N a friggin phone number for contact. All communications are conducted via email. I was told to email the seller.

    I did, on 10/3. No response… Emailed cs, asked them to intervene on my behalf as the seller had not responded. Was told via email, to contact the seller again and give him 1-2 business days to respond. WHAT!?? Called cs again. Same song and dance.

    Site says ships in 1 day! Not true I am told. The sellers have 14 business days to get your book to you. I was told if I did not like it, give negative feedback. They are not responsible for these transactions. Again, WHAT!??

    So, I leave negative feedback to save someone else the trouble and since I have ordered my book (of course I checked his feedback prior and site said he had been in business since 2003) 4 negative! Oh, and the 2003 is arbitrary. An “authorized seller” can state whatever they like. Now I guess here is the caveat…beware, just because it looks like you are backed by B&N (like you are with eBay), you are not.

    How this works, I am unsure. I just know that from now on, I will do business with Amazon or Borders. I guess it just boils down to business scrupples.

    From the looks of these posts, it appears that corporate needs to be ousted and replaced before (which it may already) it is too late to save it. When you treat your employees shitty, they treat your customers shitty, which shittys your bottom line until your butt is (in the) red. Very poor management. Maybe they should read some of the crusty books on management in the stores and warehouse??? Might I suggest anything proffering a top down approach to organizational change…

    And, just a thought, maybe all that deviant behavior observed is a sign of the clientel B&N now attracts with its outstanding (what a joke) service. Maybe they are demonstrating a point with action? No respectable, decent human being would pull their business out in public and give it a lashing let alone leave residue of their performance. Maybe those better bred (and with more disposable income) are leaning toward booksellers (because educated folks with money will always read) with more control over the overall experience of their customers..be it online or in a store.

    And some advice for the disallusioned and whipped B&N employees, I think one of your own has strongly advised you to get your resume updated (and grab those reference letters now) because jerks are in power running the company into the ground and you need to get ready to lose everything you thought you had in the company. Oh, and btw, next time you see a masturbator or copulating couple CALL THE COPS! It is illegal (going out on a limb here without checking my facts) EVERYWHERE in this Country! I think I would prefer the title of “prudish, straight laced company” than cesspool of ill repute and the modern day incarnation of Sodom and Gomorrah as has been described.

    And of course, for the disgraceful filth mongers frequenting B&N stores: WTF are you thinking..or do you think? Nasty behaviors such as those described need to be done at your own home (if you even have one..and if not, find some woods away from other humans) and not around other members of the public. How classless!

  • Patricia

    Wow, I applied to Barnes and Noble and finally recieved a call back for an interview today. Now I am considering not going. Sounds like a shit hole to work in. I have worked in fast food and since then, I have feared working with customers. Yes, any retail store require the dreaded customer but it seriously damaged my morale and self esteem. If what you all are saying is correct, then I am sure glad I came here before being interviewed for a job in hell.

  • BigBoi

    This is an article? It’s like five sentences.

  • zingzing

    bigboi is a name? it’s like two words put together.

    not to take rj “rumple stiltskin” elliott’s side.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    This is the #1 search engine results for “Barnes and Noble complaints” …

  • zingzing

    no shit?

  • http://www.myspace.com/worldwidedread deathportal

    @ Patricia #147, I wouldn’t necessarily skip your interview based solely on the posts here. That said, I’ve been working at a B&N in North Texas for about 3.5 years, and I can confirm some of the things that other employees are complaining. But some of the complaints are a subjective thing. We also don’t know each other, as we’re all behind a computer and we can say anything we want. I don’t know the mind-frame or world view of many of the posters here, nor do they know mine.

    But again, I’ll say that I have a feeling that most of the employees here are being absolutely honest, as I have experienced some of the same things myself.

    Thus far, my hours haven’t been cut (other than when I was removed from the receiving department in June due to a back injury) but I do fear it’s coming. I have seen my workweek grow to 6 days some weeks, with 4 hour shifts on two or 3 days.

    I think that B&N has its good points and its faults. Sure, I’d like to make more money, and I could go on an on about stupid decisions certain managers have made, but I’d just be echoing a lot of what’s already been said. But I will say this for B&N, it’s the longest I’ve worked a job, so I haven’t gotten too burned out yet! That said, I do NOT plan on making this a lifetime career.

  • EC

    I have been a Manager with B&N for 5 years and would like to explain a little about the cut in bookseller hours. Basically, because of the economy, store sales are down and in order to make a profit expenses must be cut and the biggest, easiest to cut is payroll. It’s up to each individual store to make their Payroll budget while still maintaining the integrity of their stores. At my store we priortize the Leads and Full-time booksellers hours. They are still receiving 30-36+ hrs/week so no noticeable difference. The rest of our hours are given to Part-time booksellers based on their availabilty and productivity. We continue Zone Maintenance because of it’s importance to overall store operations. Managers are out on the Bookfloor working Frontlist, doing E-planner, helping Customer Service, and covering Cashier, Cafe, and Music breaks. If the Children’s Lead is drowning in H-carts, as mentioned in a previous post, we would send help or at least come up with a plan to get it done. I feel bad for those of you who have had horrible experiences either as a poorly treated, underappreciated Bookseller or an unsatisfied customer. It is a reflection of a particular store’s management and, fortunately, most of our stores have fair managers who care about their co-workers and customers. Barnes & Noble is great company to work for and is always trying to improve the customer shopping experience…especially at BN.com.

  • Jane Doe

    When a store provides inferior service the best way to get their attention to make a statement with your pocketbook.

    Employees will always give you tons of excuses for inferior service, but none of them should be tolerated.

    There is a simple rule I learned while working in the business world. The first rule of business is the same as the first life of life. Adapt or Die.

    On that note, BKS stock today closed below $20/share after a 52 week high of $43/share.

    I believe someone has spoken.

    Jane.

  • ANON Bookseller

    This forum hurts my soul. It really does. As a B&N children’s lead, I am treated like garbage. All other employees hate my department and the managers routinely refer to it as “crap hole.” I am dealing with a vengeful CRM who is after my soul since day one. I have no idea what I did to make her so jealous of me but it’s obvious and all my other coworkers see it. I am forced to do her events, her field trips, her bookfairs and other aspects of her job while I get zilch time in my department doing…hmmm…MY OWN FREAKING JOB. Last time I checked, my job description wasn’t “CRM SLAVE.” I am tired of this crap. I am a human being, not a slave. I’m sorry if our CRM is too caught up in her soccer mom life to actually WORK, but that has nothing to do with me or my job description.

  • Anonymous Bookseller

    The kiddie department in my store is a crap hole too, but that’s not the fault of any of our local employees. Rather, the folks up at the main office in New York keep sending us too much of the wrong merchandise.

    For instance, we have several dozen boxes of stuffed animals piled up in the receiving room, but New York keeps sending us more. The worst part about stuffed animals is that the children tear off the tags, and then we have almost no chance to figure out how to ring up the creatures if someone wants to buy them. So we just stuff them into boxes untagged.

    And New York sends us all these boxes of flash cards for arithmetic and other subjects, but the cards come in unsealed boxes. One unruly brat can open up a half-dozen boxes and spread the cards all over the store in fifteen minutes. Do we have time to find all the cards and re-assemble the sets? No, so we just write it off as waste.

    We have a Thomas train set to entertain the kiddies. If the kids feel like they don’t have enough train cars the play with, they open up as many packages of new merchandise as desired. Maybe someone told the bigwigs up in New York that the Thomas train packaging is childproof — well, it isn’t. We write off more Thomas merchandise than we sell.

    Some of those B&N employees up at the New York headquarters ought to try working in a bookstore sometime.

  • PalaviShirazi

    I just returned from the Barns & noble at Lincoln Traingle in NYC and the employee who manages the magazine department on the 4th floor got vulgar & cursed me out. After I made a inquire on a specific magazine, he called me a “F…. D…” and walked away. I then complained to another manager who seemed genuinely apologetic and said she will speak to him. But, I don’t think anything will come out of it and I regret getting upset and filing a complaint. useless.

  • ME

    Interesting site…. Of all the reasons – poor economy, poor sales that lead to payroll cuts, etc, the bottom line is that B&N is a publically owned company, stockholders are promised many, many millions in dividends each fiscal year. If they aren’t happy, they walk, and things get even worse. Also, it’s the way of the world to always try to improve, even if it means with less. I’m not justifying it, but it is what it is. If you don’t like it, find another occupation.

  • ME

    PS – And everyone – including customers – cutbacks are probably happening where you work too. Let’s all try to get along. Customers are not the enemy, booksellers are not the enemy. I feel guilty when a customer appoligizes for interrupting my work to ask a question (but it’s a sweet, understanding gesture at the same time). As I tell them, if not for customers who interrupt my work to ask questions (so I can sell them something), B&N wouldn’t need me! So look at it that way. Customers are our job security. Asking if they have membership card is part of job (and most customers who sign on will tell you it saves them money), asking for their email address (so we can send them coupons), is what will possibly save our hides in this economy. Many customers only come in when they get that 10% or 15% coupon. Anyway, that was a long PS….

  • BigBoi

    This is an article? It’s a five sentence rant.

  • Bob Smith

    As to the comments regarding membership cards, employees are on a quota system based on the number of membership cards they sell. Employees are STRONGLY encouraged and disciplined if they don’t sell enough membership cards.

    I know of one case where a manager just jokingly mentioned the word “union” and she was taken into the backroom and given a strict lecture.

    There’s another case where the store manager altered selling records so that they wouldn’t have to give particular individuals raises. When the truth came out, said employees were not compensated.

    Then there’s the false advertising that occurs during their sales. Employees blame price changes on the customers. This is false advertising and a violation of the law.

    These stories are only a small percentage of the stories I know firsthand regarding the way this business operates.

    I’ve been watching this business’ stock price go lower and lower. It seems this “old fashioned business” is headed towards it’s initial IPO back in the day.

    The chairman is so worried he sent out a memo to all the employees regarding a “horrific” holiday season. Of course the chairman bought $3 million in stock when it was about $25-$27 a share.

    This is the only way to get a business’ attention. Hit them where it hurts. In the pocket.

    I won’t do business with Barnes and Noble ever again nor will I recommend this business to anyone I know nor will I recommend anyone to work there. They’ve lost my business.

    See ya later Barnes and Noble. Maybe you’ll get a government bailout, but I doubt it.

  • bookseller

    And the above-mentioned chairman also noted in his memo that despite the grim economy, less-than-stellar holiday season sales expectations, budget cuts, etc, shareholders would still be receiving their promised 8-digits in dividends for the year. Granted this is what makes the world go round, and everyone knows shareholders come first, but still felt like a bit of a slap in the face, the way it was spelled out in the memo.

  • Bookseller Dave

    I first posted on here because I couldn’t believe all the negativity on this site from ‘Customers’ and from ‘Booksellers’. In my experience with B&N I see NONE of this, so I tried to be the reasonable voice and even things out. The Internet allows people to be anonymous and this makes them brave. They say things that they would never say in real life and bend the truth because they know they are not accountable. If Customers have experienced bad Customer Service in a B&N, I’m sorry, we take care of our Customers in my Store and will continue to do so, it’s our job. If Booksellers are so unhappy with B&N then they should go find other work. It is dishonest and cowardly to cash your paycheck and then try and smear B&N on an Internet blog. The letter that we received from Len Riggio was well written and from his heart, and it is posted in our breakroom for everyone to read. B&N is the #1 Speciality Retailer in America for a reason, we take care of our Customers. I want B&N to succeed. If B&N is successful then there will be more money for payroll. More money for payroll means more Booksellers on the floor to help our Customers. More Booksellers on the floor means better Customer Service. Better Customer Service means increased profits for B&N. Increased profits means that B&N will do well which leds to raises for the Booksellers that further the goals of B&N. Bigger raises for the Booksellers means we can take care of our families. And that my friends is why I work at B&N and try so hard to achieve the goals set by my Company. It’s business 101, and we get to sell books as the means to achieve those goals, and more books is never a bad thing…

  • Chris

    I have worked for the company for just under a year now. I am 17 so paid time off is very rare for a 17 yr old to get. Everyone gets on really well in my store which is really fun! I first started in the cafe and now im everywhere, but customers can be really awful in all departments. Most of what you guys are saying are rules that b&n corporate have made and we just have to enforce them. I feel bad telling someone they cant return a book because its 16 days old. Many rules we just have to go by. B&N is really a good company

  • bookie

    In response to post #153 and hours being cut:

    I am considered a full time employee and have had my hours cut along with others in my store. I am scheduled under 25 hours and many weeks I have less than employees who started 4 months ago. Isn’t that fabulous? When I ask my managers why they have no explanation for me.

    Yes! Those of us who work for Barnes and Noble and who are complaining WANT to find a better job. In case you haven’t noticed, jobs are hard to come by these days and if you think I am going to quit to work at another horribly managed corporate retailer or something close to it, you are crazy. Bottom line is we are a work force that is often times mistreated and taken advantage of. Although we are needed to keep these stores afloat. It’s so important for managers to not get beaten down by the system, and honestly do what they can to take care of their employees who show strong work ethic and perform their job well. At one time I worked with these types of managers. Now my they just plain don’t give a damn.

  • Belle

    I have worked at Barnes and Noble for a little over a year now and am not happy with the way my store treats its employees. Our hours are being cut drastically, yet our manager continues to hire more and more people. We must have hired at least ten people in the last month, while long time employees are getting one shift a week! Almost nobody gets over 20 hours. We are losing really good workers because our manager does a terrible job.

  • Anon Cafe Server

    Guys,… honestly… sometimes customers are not given the service that they should get but customers really should attempt to see it from the other point of view before they go on some weird crusade to stop people from shopping with an entire company. Yeah, not every book is in stock. Yeah, sometimes shipments are late. I can’t tell you how many times I get screamed at because a customer wanted to purchase a whole cheesecake on that very day because they were on their way to a party, or they take every magazine imaginable out and leave them everywhere. Or they meet in study groups, move our tables all around, stay for hours, and don’t buy a damn thing. A woman’s kid spilled a large soda from MCDONALDS all over the floor, and after I cleaned it, they left their happy meal trash for me to clean as well. Not every awful thing you encounter in a given location is due to terrible workers. The workers at mine work late nights, long hours, weekends, holidays, and even while sick or injured. If you have an issue, you don’t need to shop with us, but, honestly,… there are way worse injustices to fight in this world. Pick a cause that’s worth your time instead of crusading against Barnes and Noble. I wonder what you would do if you didn’t have so much time on your hands or any real problems to occupy your thoughts.

  • John Smith

    After reading many of the posts here and after my poor experiences with Barnes and Noble, some of the posts here sound like “damage control” by Barnes and Noble management.

    If I may give my $0.02 worth piece of advise when dealing with companies that don’t treat you well.

    1. Talk with your wallet. Don’t buy anything from a store that treats you poorly. Divest any stock holdings you may have in the company and encourage your friends, neighbors, relatives, etc. to do the same.

    2. Tell your friends, neighbors, relatives, etc. about your bad business experiences. “Word of mouth” reference can make or break a company.

    3. Document everything. If your have a poor experience with a company, document it immediately. Note the date, time and the person you spoke to. Mailing letters to the CEO of said company with this information may or may not be helpful. In the case of Barnes and Noble I’ve had less than helpful assistance with this procedure.

    4. File a grievance with the Better Business Bureau. (www.bbb.org).

    5. Contact your local newspaper and / or television investigative reporting team. Usually if you’re having issues with a company, you’re usually not alone.

    6. Write your experiences on http://www.rateitall.com. Consumer reports indicated that rateitall.com is one of the best ways to get the attention of a company that you’ve had issues with.

    7. Even though you may or may not have experienced a personal attack during your experience remember that you avenues for recourse. Many times staff members will literally blame you for in-house issues when they are to blame. Just be cool, polite and collect the necessary information. In my situation, a staff member was rude to me in front of a bunch of customers. Those people did not return to the store.

    Remember that with Barnes and Noble, there’s always Amazon.com. That’s where I go and recommend everyone to go to. I won’t do business with Barnes and Noble.

  • Anonymous Bookseller

    Suppose you come to a B&N store and order a book to be delivered to that store. If it doesn’t show up, here’s one likely scenario.

    At the store, you place the order. The company computer (“BookMaster”) starts searching warehouses around the nation. If it finds copies at several locations, BookMaster selects one, and gets the warehouse to confirm the order.

    The next step is that at the warehouse, some employee goes looking for the book. If he can’t find it, due to an error in inventory counts, the warehouse cancels the order. When BookMaster finds out about the cancellation, does it route the order to another warehouse? No, it does nothing, except that sometimes it will note that the order has been cancelled.

    So the customer eventually comes in looking for their book, and we discover that the order was delayed or cancelled for no stated reason, even though copies are available from multiple warehouses. All we can do is to reissue the order — but BookMaster could have done that automatically, saving several days.

    In computer terminology, BookMaster is a kludge.

  • bookseller

    So, funny story. For anyone who thinks that BN employees are uneducated high school dropouts with nothing even close to a college degree… you couldn’t be more wrong. I graduated this past May from one of the best colleges in the country with a BS in Criminal Justice. You want to know why I’m working at BN? Because no one else is hiring. And don’t call it laziness because I have busted my butt with resumes, cover letters, references, and interviews but apparently a Bachelor’s Degree is as useless as a high school diploma these days. And I’d flash my Master’s in their faces but I can’t afford to work on my Master’s yet so I’m saving some (SOME… we all know the pay isn’t the best) money by working at Barnes & Noble. So the bottom line is no, BN wasn’t my first job choice but I’m making do with what I could get in the shitty job market. What gives a customer the right to judge me and assume I’m not intelligent? Soon enough I’ll be on to bigger and better things, but while I’m stuck where I am I’ll try and do my best and put a smile on my face and help EVERY customer that walks toward me regardless of whether they are jerks or not. And for the record, some of our customers are the nicest people in the world and it’s nice just to have a job that I can enjoy even if only temporarily because so many good people have the bad fortune of being unemployed. Be nice to us and we’ll be nice to you. The end.

  • Angel38

    As a BN employee, I can understand the frustration from both sides. Customers have bad experiences as do the workers. At my store (in San Antonio, TX) the management is good, so generalized statements about BN management really aren’t all that valid. We all get upset at things in that store, but what’s important to remember is that, at least the employees I know, are trying as hard as they can to make customers happy, because without you we wouldn’t have a job. Please be patient with us, a lot of the things we do (hand sell, encourage memberships, etc.) are things that we are required to do. At my store, and I can speak for no other stores, we never have any intention of upsetting our customers, we give you the books we have and order the books we can, unfortunately the warehouses don’t have much interaction with us other than sending us boxes every day. As for my fellow employees that are complaining about working for the company, call We Listen, from what I have heard, they usually show up within days of a called in complaint, and you don’t even have to leave your name with the complaint.
    For the frustrated customer, I am sorry for your experiences, and I wish you could come to my store to experience people that love their job and really want to help the customers.

  • Devon

    I’ve be a Barnes & Noble employee for 5 years. As with any large retail company, there are going to be those of you that love us & hate us. Most of us really care about customer service and placing the book you want in your hands with a smile. As others have said, consider the book you’re requesting: is it popular ? Is it mainstream ? Is it something the masses would want ? If you answered no to any of these questions,then we probably won’t have it on the shelf and will have have to special order it in for you. Don’t freak out in that case, we usually have most special-ordered books in within a week and we’ll call you or email you when it arrives. One of our pet peeves is people arriving at the customer service desk and demanding a very obscure book because they have to have it the next day. The stores are only so big, we can’t stock ever book known to mankind.We’re a very customer-oriented company and really enjoy working with you guys.We do get pissed off at those of you that come in every day, take 40 books off the shelf, drink a cup of coffee from the cafe then throw the books in the floor and make a big freakin’ mess for us to clean up or those of you that keep us tied up at the customer service desk for 30 mins looking for a book that you want to flip through (and have no intention of buying) while you drink green tea in the cafe.

  • http://whalertly.blogspot.com Robert M. Barga

    this was a story, seriously, this is just a bitching

  • http://earthlyhappenings.blogspot.com Aaren

    RJ, I have been treated just as badly in a Barnes & Noble store after politely refusing to be signed up for a membership or give out my e-mail address. I won’t shop at a Barnes & Noble store or bn.com again, and have sent a letter of complaint to the company’s customer service address in New York. A copy of the letter is here.
    Considering how many complaints there are, the company should seriously re-think it’s customer service policy.

  • Retail Hell

    I work for BN and I hate it because it’s retail. The fact that they’re corporate cocksuckers doesn’t set them apart in the least from any other store, or fast food, or anything else for that matter, chain. It’s corporate America, all they want is money and they don’t care about their employees or their customers. Deal with it.

    -If your order didn’t get to you, sure, it was most likely human error. Or maybe you shouldn’t have waited until the last minute. I’m not your personal reference librarian and I’m not going to comb our database for a book you can use for your project. We do not carry textbooks on the shelves because they’re expensive and the sales on them aren’t high enough to keep them from sitting around and getting damaged or stolen by customers. Maybe if you weren’t a failure you’d be going to a university with it’s own bookstore instead of community college.

    -I will not read you the synopsis of every book on your nephew’s Christmas list over the phone only for you to tell me you’ve changed your mind and will not be coming in to buy one. Buy a fucking computer you crusty old freak and stop sucking up the social security that my 40 hours a week of pain is paying but my generation will never see.

    -We cannot change orders once they’ve been submitted because they’re actually pretty quick about filling them in the warehouse and, contrary to popular belief, bookstore employees after 2002 are NOT ACTUALLY HARRY POTTER. I cannot change what’s in the box once it hits the mail and if you had half a brain you’d know that most of the time it takes to get to you is in transit. The bookseller probably had it ship to home because it’s free over $25. That is the good customer service you’ve been griping about, but of course that argument only applies when shit goes wrong, right? If you hadn’t been sucking down your latte and leaving the cup on a shelf next to product for them to clean up, maybe you would have heard them mention that.

    -Orders do cancel spontaneously, but that’s usually when several people ask for something at the same time and they end up not having enough. If you stopped freaking out about spam and just got a fucking gmail so you could give your email address, you would have gotten that notification. We get way too many orders a day to watch them or even check them till you call bitching about the fact that the latest piece of Oprah shit isn’t sitting on your doorstep with a rose on it for your book club to pretend you’re going to read it.

    -They probably think you stole that shit because we get scammed like that ALL THE FUCKING TIME. Thank your fellow oh so persecuted customers for that reputation. Don’t complain that no one looks up when the door alarms go off (since by then there’s nothing to be done about it and I don’t get paid nearly enough to chase some teenager through the parking lot) and then whine when we actually follow up on something we can change.

    -We hire independent janitors to clean the bathrooms. Again, thank your fellow citizens for the mess. I didn’t go in there and throw my shit on the walls, but even if I did you couldn’t pay me enough to ever clean that up. The fact that someone has to disgusts me, we should all be responsible enough to use bathrooms like adults so that job is as easy as possible for whoever has to.

    The point of all this is people in general are lazy, ignorant slobs. My managers are dickhead college dropouts who think a life aspiration of retail manager is just swell because it’s all they’ll ever have. Most of the other employees are burned out but creative people that the world had chewed up and spit out. If you want good customer service, don’t call me darlin’ and leave your stack of research that you don’t plan on buying in the chairs for me to clean up because “it’s my job.” Do your own fucking research once in a while and have some common sense about the logistics of business before you demand impossible shit and think the world is out to get you.

    p.s. – to the guy who’s store zones twice a year: your manager should be fired immediately. That’s fucking pathetic.

  • Chocolate Milk

    Well, BN is a fantastic place to work. I have the best managers, the best coworkers… the best pretty much anything I could get for my age. Sure, the lines are busy and the customers are still bitchy (yeah, like seen above by impatient people and people being completely considerate), but you get through that because people will always be like that. As soon as Borders starts to mess up, or Amazon or anywhere, they will be the new bad guys. So seriously people, act a little more mature. Grow the hell up.

  • http://www.myspace.com/worldwidedread deathportal

    I’m pretty sure that some of you who are complaining that you had such a miserable experience in B&N weren’t as polite as you claim you were…

    Seriously, it’s not very likely that you’re going to be chewed out or cursed at by an employee if you’re genuinely being nice.

    Someone way up on the page suggested reading Norm Feuti’s book “Pretending You Care” and it’s excellent! I have read almost the entire book in 3 days. Booksellers and customers alike ought to read it–it gives detailed descriptions of the different kinds of employees, and customers.

    I enjoy making my customers happy and will try to bend over backwards for you, but some of you are absolutely unreasonable and when you not only expect something completely unreasonable, but then treat the employee badly, what do you expect? Everyone has a limit to how much they can take. As retail employees, there are definitely some cool customers out there, but we are also continually treated like we’re the scum of the earth, simply because we’re in the field of “customer service.” Customer service does not mean “slave,” and some of you seem to think it does.

    I like Amazon, and I’m all for Hastings, Borders, and whoever else having a successful business–I like the competition, and I’m a big fan of free market economics–but I will say this: often, you get what you pay for. You aren’t likely to have any better luck with Amazon if you get screwed than you are with B&N.

    I’m somewhere between burned out and enjoying my job. I’ll probably be there a while longer, but hopefully not forever.

  • Teri

    Borders run better than Barnes and Noble HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA What the hell are you smoking you ever actually been to more than you one town Borders? Holy Crap I lived in Cali 8 years and ALL but ONE (must be the one some of the complainers of B&N shop) was a disaster of books miss shelved and out of order. Honestly I agree with the last post a lot of you probably were not too polite..guess what no matter where you shop it might just suck if your attitude does to. Put two and two together….bad attitude=bad service. Who would want to put up with some smug person who thinks they are the best and even though they give you VERY vague information they expect you to read their mind and GO RETREIVE “That” book to which they don’t know either. Though I do agree some people that work in retail B&N, Borders, Macy’s, basically anywhere are going to be rude and give you a bad taste. But before you go blaming the entire store think about it first. Have you worked in retail before? Did you ever have a customer that totally pissed you off? Did you just continue to be your cheery self? Basically if someone pisses you off your going to show it one way or another. But that is NOT the stores fault that is retail and that is life. Suck it up and find something not to complain about and be happy over.

  • ignored customer

    On December 11, I went to this page on the B&N website and submitted a friendly suggestion to the customer service people. Almost immediately I received an automated e-mail confirming that B&N got my message. It also said that I would “receive a response from one of our Customer Service Representatives within the next 24 to 48 hours”.

    Well, after eight days, I’m still waiting.

  • BNEmployee

    Some of this surprises, some of it does not. I am a BN employee of nearly two years. For the most part, I like my managers. I will be completely honest. They are fair (if you are a favorite) and apparently they can be very mean if you are not. As far as customer service, I personally try to do everything I can, but sometimes the customer is at fault. Often people will wait until the last minute to pick up a book, they expect magic, or they think we carry everything. We only carry top selling product, but they think because they are special, then of course we will carry what they want. I always try to do everything I can to get the book for the customer, but many people seem to think we have a warehouse built into our store and that we will have a title, no matter what, then they get MAD at US, when corporate controls it all. If I absolutely cannot get a book for someone, I always suggest amazon, because if we dont have it, they will, like used or out of print books that we cant get in store. For the most part, customers are disrespectful and rude. We are not here to clean up after them, they are inconsiderate and self-centered and it is very difficult to help people like that, but I know that my store, at least, does its best. Also, I always pass on ideas and suggestions that I get from a customer. As to the person who got kicked out cause of the bathrooms, first of all, I cant believe corporate would mock you, that angers me, and also, I dont blame you for reporting it, they can get pretty bad. Yuck!

  • disappointed customer

    I placed my order online last december 23 on a 3 day select service.Thinking the book will be delivered at the end of the week but when i checked back later, i was surprised to see that the book was delivered to different address and state as well. I called BN customer service and check on it but i was put on hold 3 times and finally came back to me with a promising response of getting the book by monday which is December 29. When I checked back this morning for the delivery status I was so disappointed to see that they have re-scheduled the delivery till January 5. which is coming to more than 10days delivery period. I called their customer service for the second time to asked about it, the agent was mean and told me to wait for the order coz it will be delivered eventually and hung up the phone. I will definitely not order again to Barnes and Noble and will never buy book to any of their stores. I will also tell my friends and family about this terrible experience…Overall, BN sucks!

  • Anonymous Bookseller.

    A customer walks into Barnes and Noble and asks for the latest book by some author. That’s a reasonable request, but the company computer (“Bookmaster”) isn’t set up to handle it. Except for a very few authors — and for those the information is usually incomplete — Bookmaster doesn’t know when a book was originally published.

    When I look up an item in Bookmaster, I might get a variety of publication dates for different versions:
    — for a standard-format mass-market paperback
    — for a tall-format mass-market paperback
    — for a trade paperback
    — for a hardcover
    — for a large print version
    — for an abridged audio version
    — for an unabridged audio version
    — for a movie tie-in version
    — for another version of any of the above, with new cover art
    — for when the book was moved to the bargain category
    — et cetera.

    Adding to the frustration is that there might be previous releases of the book so old that Bookmaster does not have a record of them.

    I may have to comb through dozens of listings, most of them extraneous. Often, all I can do is offer speculation; rarely can I give the customer definite facts about when a book first came out. This guessing game wastes the customer’s time, too.

    – – – – – – –

    What’s really a problem is when an author writes a series of books, and the customer wants to read them in order. If the books do not have volume numbers on them, we might never know what the proper sequence is.

    Sometimes we can take one book in the series, open it up, and find near the title page a listing of the other books by that author. Will that author’s books be grouped by series? Maybe. Will they be in chronological order? Maybe, but I have seen lists that are in reverse chronological order. And worse, some publishers prefer alphabetical order, which is completely useless.

    – – – – – – –

    It is embarrassing when I cannot give a customer fundamental bibliographical information.

  • I’m Not Your Maid!

    I’ve been working at BN for 4 years and to all of you who say “I’m never coming in again” or “You’ve lost my business” then fine. Take your business elsewhere and be done with it. For the people complaining about the employees being rude, try not to be rude to them. Every day I deal with people who think I am their personal shopper and their maid.

    I’ve been yelled at and have been called stupid, an idiot, retarded and many other rude things. And do you know what I do about it? Nothing. Because if a customer complains about me saying anything I get written up and then eventually fired. I love my coworkers, I love working with books but I hate being treated like some kind of lower class by customers.

    Customers walk by tables and knock books over and don’t pick them up. They watch their children spill drinks on the shelves, ruining the books. They pick up a book and in the mere seconds that they have it, completely forget where they got it from and place it somewhere else. Do you know how much employees get yelled at for not being able to find that one copy that that other customer lazily threw somewhere? Customers pick up 20 books, go sit down and then leave them there.

    So the next time that a bookseller can’t find one copy of a certain book, you can thank a fellow customer. When you are pissed that that the book you wanted is stained with soda of coffee, you can thank a fellow customer. When you are disgusted how messy the store is and how books are strewn apart everywhere, you can thank your fellow customer. The reason why the stores suck so much is that people trash it and we all try to scramble around to pick the pieces.

    Have you every put back something in the wrong place thinking it was no big deal, it was only one thing? You are one of hundreds that do that every single day.

  • ms. florida

    Is B&N going out of business? Doesn’t anyone know? Because of the stock from last year going to shit, I thought they were in trouble. I have been an emmpolyee for over 5 years at various locations. They are all the same. Some managers are just as mean to empolyees as others. they don’t care all they care about is what corporate thinks and sales. But mostly those member ship sales. The man that owns them is rich just because of memberships. If your store doesn’t sale enough then your ass is gone. It’s a shame because a lot of employees really like the job. But they don’t even get a pat on the back for doing a good job. Just a .25 raise, maybe .50. It isn’t right. I hope that they close up.

  • Incensed

    I’m glad I found this site, so that I can at least tell of my most recent incident at B&N at Wolfchase mall in Germantown, TN. My husband and I were passing thru and I needed a book. I entered the store (my first visit), and immediately saw a cashier to my left who had a customer at his register. There were five or six more registers (some with customers & some not). As the customer left, I approached the cashier only to ask a question. Before I could open my mouth, he rudely said “ma’am the line starts back there.” (pointing past the other registers & he did not have anyone in his line, nor anyone waiting.) I proceeded to say that I only wanted to ask a question,and asked if he had a particular book in stock, and he “cut me off” again and said “the customer service desk is over there. I replied, “You do not have to be rude.” He said, “I don’t know every book that’s carried in this store.”

    I went to the customer service desk and asked to speak with a manager. The gentleman there was very helpful in assisting me. He looked to see if the book that I had requested was in stock, but it wasn’t. He offered to order it for me, but I needed it sooner.

    The manager (Amanda) appeared. I told her what had happened. She apologized, but attempted to justify the cashier’s actions. I was appalled.

    I belong to a book club and we have purchased many books from B&N over the years, but not anymore. I will certainly inform the other members and ask them not to purchase from B&N and ask them to pass it along to other friends and family members.

    Obviously B&N has forgotten good customer service. Amazon.com here I come!

    Hey anonymous^^^^
    You just proved that you have no manners! If there were anyone else in the ONE LINE WE HAVE (there is no ‘his’ line) then they would have roasted that cashier ON A SPIT for letting someone hold up his precious time for even a tiny question. The line DOES start on the other end and you leave a mini WWII in your wake every time someone even accidentally skips. Also, as the book you wanted was not in stock, you would have to have ordered it if you wanted it at all. Hey, we don’t have ANY printers behind the cash registers, which would be necessary to print an order slip, plus if we had the book in stock and you wanted it, there would have been NO WAY that the poor cashier you got in trouble would have been able to leave and help you find it, which you more than likely would have required.

    In response to the customers shrieking and moaning about how poor our customer service is, take a second and review your own behavior at the time. It’ll probably be an enlightening moment for you. When people come up to us, on a cell phone or beating their children (yes, right in front of me, twice now) and want us to find even the most common book that may even be just twenty steps away, we still try our hardest to help you. You might think we’re mocking you, but that weird look on our face isn’t an impression we’re trying to do, it’s an animalistic reaction to the screeching of the children you’re abusing that you just picked up after leaving them in the kid’s section for three hours to wreak their tornado-like havoc.

    Also, to every customer who complains about our inventory, our bathrooms, our customer service, our whatever our cashiers say, just think about WHY that particular aspect of our store is the way it is. Our bathrooms can get completely atrocious. Why? Because we don’t have janitorial staff come in mid-day. We have them come in in the mornings before the store opens! They make everything absolutely pristine, yet, somehow, by noon everything smells and looks like crap! Why? Because mothers change their babies and stuff dirty diapers filled with literal crap into the feminine products bin with said crap literally leaking out down the front of the canister. Meanwhile, EVERY EMPLOYEE is out on the floor SERVING you, either fetching a book you couldn’t remember the title, author, publisher, or subject of, or sorting the crumpled up money you threw at us, or listening to your complaints about something or another, not to mention the poor cafe staff who get it the worst of us all. Also, in relation to the bathroom and the kid’s section: Male customers, please stop MASTURBATING and bringing PORNOGRAPHY into them. If I had a dollar for every time I found a Playboy, XXL, King, or Smooth magazine stuffed behind a toilet or a kid’s pop up book, I would have three day’s worth of pay. Also, a tiny part of me DIES. It’s even worse when the employees don’t have the privilege of finding your stash and a rightly concerned parent of a kindergartener comes up to us absolutely horrified and we have take the blame.

    As for cashier service (I’m one too), we HAVE to ask if you’re using your membership. If you say no, we have to ask if you want one. usually, we draw the line there and end it, but if you’re actually buying so much that it’ll only cost you four bucks or if it’s the sixth time you’ve taken up a whole seating area THAT WEEK, then you’ve got to sit the extra sixteen seconds and listen to the benefits, and THEN say no.

    As for the way I’m treated by my coworkers, they’re amazing. One of my managers is a total ass and she regularly makes my life HELL, but that’s about the extent of my complaints about the company. The schedules are incredibly flexible, I can talk to anyone, ANYONE, in charge (my assistant manager, my store’s general manager, the REGIONAL MANAGER) and have them listen to me. The pay could be better, but at least it’s better than Walmart or anything in the food-service industry.

    Just so you know, we can really only start cleaning once EVERY INDIVIDUAL customer is out of the store and sometimes we’re still in the store, CLEANING up the messes you have strewn everywhere for two hours!

    Now, I will say this. Not all stores are immaculate or large, or well lit, or fully staffed, or even well stocked, but the majority are. If you have a complaint, then you should definitely leave the store’s name and location. Bookstar is part of the Barnes and Noble chain, as well as B. Dalton stores, and they are run a little differently than our stores.
    For example, I live and work in Memphis and we have FOUR stores in the greater Memphis area. I have subbed in for a sick employee in another store in my area before and I was shocked at the layout and, frankly, putrid smell of that store. I was also shocked at its lack of customer service desk and at the door-less bathrooms directly across from the small cashiering area. However, for someone to compare that store to mine, even though it is in the same chain and only a few miles away, is absolutely ridiculous.

    Also, I’m pretty sure Borders is going out of business soon. And, walking into their stores, I’ve always been treated like crap.

    Oh, and speaking of Borders. Nothing is more annoying than having a customer come up to checkout and then get huffy and leave without buying anything because they cannot use their Borders coupon or card in our store. A very lovely customer once flipped off one of our cashiers for that very reason.

  • S FL bookseller

    I work in a BN and when i started i truly tried to help people find books, and be accommodating. ive read various posts on this site and most of them are rather retarded. Ive seen teachers buy ZANE books with there discount, thats ridiculous. Im told to tell people no to returns without a receipt and they ask for a manager and do it anyways. what the fuck. My manager has been at 5 stores for complaints from employees. my store is the end of the line in this district,all shee does is arange displays and walk around bumbling to herself.

    what gets me is there are people who get more hours then me that do less. i sell memberships. i come in WHENEVER they ask me. im a high school student and i worked 9 days straight.thats school work bed school work bed school work bed school work bed and no time in between. when i asked for a day off on a sunday after school was out my manager asked if i needed money and stalked away.
    its a good company i enjoy great benifits. Someone mentioned about having a sitdown talk with a manger for not opening a door. my manager had me come to the office because the new cafe manager was angry that id brought food that was still frozen back to the cafe. and that ive asked cafe people about absent items from the bake case.
    telling me that i might ruin a shop. what in gods name is going on.

    ive really wanted to quit soon but i love my discounts and i wont get them working anywhere else. besides im in a low income house and love my health insurance that ill be getting soon.

  • GiGi Marie

    I truly have alot to say about working for Barnes and Noble, and I am sorry for feeling this way because I absolutely love the work I do, but not for whom I work for.
    It’s been a nightmare from the beginning, and I’ve been there for a little over a year. I am middle aged, and decided to apply for the holidays. When hired, we had a training thing, and naturally during the meeting they explained how if you are hoping to become a year round employee they are unable to offer the position to everyone, but do your best work, and bla-bla-bla. Not true! It’s whoever kisses up to whoever the best, and becomes a favorite of one of the many managers running the store.
    Needless to say, I did become one of the employees who ended up with a year round position, but it was simply because of the position I applied for, the cafe. Others really don’t like working back there. I was surprised that I was never told when I was chosen though, I just kept seeing my name on the schedule and for being a corporation with the different pay rates for holiday hires and so on, you’d think they’d have mentioned it to me when the holiday was over. I wasn’t even aware that people who are hired for the holiday make less than people who are hired during the year, but no raise was applied either. When I did hear this from a co-worker, and finally got up the nerve to ask a manager, I was repremanded for having had such a conversation, than came the song and dance to why and each excuse that was given was explained away by me, but I still got no results. When I did finally get a raise, it was when my year review was coming up. However, I was still getting paid less than others I work with, and it had nothing to do with my ability to do my job correctly. Go figure!
    What I have observed in working for this company is this, it’s not if you do your job correctly and how well the customers respond to your service, or the pride you take in doing your job by making the customer happy or the many extra things you do to maintain a clean and well organized cafe. No! It’s if you move faster than the speed of light, even if the drink isn’t made correctly. The company sets ridiculous standards that are graded by a “secret shopper” who is hired to follow some guide lines, written by the company and grade you accordingly. So, we are graded by some customer who may or may not do their job accordingly, and this being the case, I think that job should be done by trained professionals like myself who know what a customer expects when ordering a drink or asking for a book, since I was a customer before i worked for the company. Not by someone who may be over the top in how they feel that day. Give me a break! As a customer, I can not tell you how disatistied I’ve been with the product I reieved, but I was never someone who was a complainer and made things difficult yet I could get attitude from an employee for just being there. I used to frequent a place that when I ‘d get inside and saw that the people behind the counter where not the ones that made a good drink, that was the easiest to make, I’d leave and drive further away just so I could get my drink for the day, and I did this twice a day too! I’d rather enjoy the experience and walk away knowing what I just ordered will be what I ordered and taste good, not being a hit or miss each time I go. I know if i get a complaint, I have absolutely no problem correcting it because I want everyone to remember the experience and to return again. I enjoy the positive feedback I hear from customers! I can remember the days when such an attitude got you better hourly wages and the hours you needed to keep you as an employee.
    Those days are over!
    I feel the store is being run by children, and working is like being back in school with this grading system and customer service isn’t being handled correctly. Ther is such a thing as “GOING BY THE BOOK” and, making exceptions. Than there’s “ALLOWING THE CUSTOMER TO TAKE ADVANTAGE”, and by throwing a fit, getting what they want. Yet, the employees are not handled in that way, they’re to give it all they’ve got, make the job TOP PRORITY, but get 20 hour work weeks, with an hourly rate that is equal to what i made in high school, working with people who do things the way they want, but as long as it is within the time frame, who cares, unless we fail the test from that secret person, being made to feel like you care about youor work too much and asked to tone it down a little, which only makes you miserable and confused.
    I feel held back at ever being anything working for this company. The power trips that go on between the managers, and the gossip as if we are in grade school, and my age because more than once I’ve seen the younger person with the full time schedule, and being promoted. I even got to the point where I will only give what I get by not stressing out over getting in on time, but never causing problems for a co-worker, just me having to hussle more, or not doing the extra things i do to keep myself busy, but all it got me was written up for not doing the work they know me capable of doing. Now, it made me feel like a child playing games this way, and I was more stressed out over not doing things than when i was actually doing more than I needed to and it never mattered.
    This is what I see with how the corporations are with running the businesses now-a-days, and I’ve spent many minutes hearing customers complain about how they were treated and how unhappy they were the last time they were in, and again how much they enjoy coming in when I’m working, but do youo think that will get me any brownie points or the doggy treat us employees seem to be begging for these days? NO!

  • ignored customer

    Update on item #179 from Dec 19, 2008 …

    After six weeks, I’m still waiting to hear from B&N customer service.

  • Prev. BN Employee

    some of you are so stupid, first of all its true BN cant hold every book you want, 2nd you cant say BN is a terrible place to work for, .25 and .50 cent raises are just fine for retail there a stores that give you even less. and any retail store will threaten termination with the idea of unionization you cant put that on BN and its just good business sense on them. and if borders was so good why are they going under? ya you people go there cause you like it better, but obviously you dont buy anything from them. meanwhile BN is doing great.

  • Jessica

    I too just had a terrible experience with Barnes & Noble. I will never purchase from them again.

  • http://miriamsideas.blogspot.com miriam

    Everything that is said here is or can be doubly true of public libraries: The crazy public, rude staff, books not available.

    A lot depends on management. My b&N (Wilmington DE) is clean and orderly and inviting. The staff is usually pleasant.

    The library I managed put the patrons first, and they appreciated it. Of course, we had some psychos, so does everyone who works with the public. You are not allowed to select your customers, you have to take what comes in the door. However, you can set standards for public behavior. When someone acted up, we first tried to reason with them, but if the behavior did not cease immediately the police were called.

    We also had security guards at night, who told patrons to leave when we were closing and helped to lock up. They were truly useful. We had one guy who looked like an Irish cop who just had to look at someone to get him or her to behave.

  • Elizabeth

    To everyone who has suggested “If the job is that horrible why don’t you find a better one?”

    HAVE YOU PAID ANY ATTENTION WHATSOEVER TO THE STATE OF THE ECONOMY LATELY? Sometimes, you gotta take what you get (or scrape to keep what you have) whether you enjoy it or not. My seven fifty an hour may not be much, but it’s better than making nothing at all. Trust me, I’ve been trying to find something that will pay more… the jobs are just not available. At least, not in my area.

    The customer is always right? I think not. When I have someone berating me, acting as if I am less than them, simply because I am on the other side of the counter? What ever happened to the golden rule? Does that go out the window when you’d like a book title that’s out of stock?

  • dan

    I guess things really vary from store to store. My membership numbers stink. Under 2% yet I am still at the company 3 years now of course I normally work the floor but I have never been told I would be fired if I did not sell more just that the store would be better if we sold more of them. i ignore the email screen most of the time. I don’t ask customers unless I feel they might be receptive to it.

    I don’t have a quota to sell stuff or get e-mail addresses. people who know me will say I bend over backwards for a customer. I check all displays for a lost book and back stock. If they are reading something I like I will talk about what I love and other books like it. If some one wants to buy a book I disagree with I never make a comment to them about it.

    like any place of work you will find a cross section of humanity there. Borders has treated me badly before so has Amazon but i realize that one person does not speak for all.

  • AZ Employee

    Something small that would be nice for customers to have a heads up on: With the economy in this crappy decline, our stores are barely allotted enough hours from corporate to operate, much less deliver the best possible service. My hours were cut the week after Christmas, and next week will be taking another cut. I obviously don’t speak for everyone, but the majority of us are stretched very thin and doing our best.

  • kitty

    I will never shop at Barnes and Nobles again! I attempted to do a return for a $14.99 unwrapped and in perfect shape DVD today, for which I had the original receipt. It actually ended up being an exchange, as I picked up a $5.33 item on my way to the counter. I was told they could not give a return due to the original purchase being past 14 days — so I simply asked for store credit and was denied. My only option was to do an even exchange on the spot. This was not a convenient time for me to shop, therefore I again asked for a credit for the remaining $10. I called the manager after I left the store and she said she would “educate” me on their business.. asking if I had heard a restocking fee that other stores have, and pointing out that someone at B&N has to restock my item. To this comment, I explained that I would like to educate her on how to run a business, as my $14.99 item was part of a $90.00 total purchase – in this economy why would B&N give up a regular shopper by denying them a $10 store credit? What is the difference between restocking the perfectly wrapped item still in celophane, for an even exchange on the spot or store credit? I will tell you.. the loss of one long time customer.

  • MEllinger

    A lack of care and concern about customers is prevalent among Barnes and Noble employees. Very rarely will you find someone who actually will want to try for a customer.

    My son, 5 yo, was walking and behaving extremely well (not always a reliable event) in this instance. He was following my wife in the history section while looking forward and down at a new book he had selected. One of the nice little plastic display pieces they hang off the front of shelves caught him just above the eye. He had a significant laceration that was bleeding quite well, as face/scalp wounds do. We quickly covered it and put pressure on it – and did not get any blood on the floor.

    Nearby employees quickly scattered when he screamed in pain. When we asked for assistance such as a wet cloth from the snack counter – they would not help us. As medical professionals, we knew we could get this wound under control. But, I asked the manager if they could move or remove the plastic shelves to prevent future accidents. They said they would not and that my son should stay out of anywhere but the children’s section.

    I contacted the company headquarters with a letter explaining the risk of these display items. No response.

    B&N stores and many of their employees are useless. Better selection, ease of finding your selection, price, and service are much better at some online retailers. Do not waste your time – or risk your safety – in these stores.

    ME

  • Donyale

    Most people don’t know that the B.Dalton bookstores were a part of Barnes & Nobles. I say were because by the end of this year B&N will have closed over 800 store in 20 years. They have mined B. Dalton of money,staff, and prestige. But the problem with all that is if you keep taking and not giving you will run out of resource. B&N used the money that B. Dalton ( and other chains that they purchased such as Doubleday and Book Stop)to build more B&N store and in some cases to replace the smaller stores. For the most part this would have been alright if the big box stores had adopted B. Dalton’s basic principle of selling,Rule#1 If you don’t give your customers excellent customer service someone else will.
    B&N say they hire from within but that is only if you are a peon or a major ass-kisser. Don’t get me wrong in the 10 plus years that I worked for them many people I have known have been promoted from a B. Dalton to a B&N. But as years went by less and less “big box store training” was done for these tranfers and this was translated into B. Dalton employees(and the others) were not well trained to begin with. There solution to this problem, start running the small stores like the big ones.
    In the past the small stores had no problems keeping employees year after year, keeping payroll cost down, and keeping loyal generational customers. Now employees time is spent on paperwork for postions that the store does not have(information desk & receiver), writing down on paper exactly what each and every person will be doing every half hour, plus scheduling certain tasks to only be done at a certain time, no exceptions. Where does customer service come in when one of the 5 people who work in the store is in the backroom filling out paperwork. Or how does receiving get done when your store hours have been cut so much that most of the day only one person is in the store at a time with a 2 to 3 hour window of overlapping coverage (remember 2 two hour lunch/dinner breaks must be taken). Furthermore,receiving has to be done in the backroom, per B&N rules which doesn’r leave a lot of time for filling in your replacement about things not covered on the daily assignment sheets. However, if you have trained your people from the beginning that if you see or know something has to be done than you should do, you do not have to write down every litte thing needing to be done or worry who’s doing what at what time. All those rules and policies really help for to the running of a big box stores like B&N (I would need to know where Suzy, employee 62 out of 101 was doing too), but in smaller format stores it is just a time waster.
    The main reason for my rant is that I am just disgusted with how far the level of custmer service has fallen since someone (I know who, but no personal attacks) in B&N deceided that B. Dalton employees were the poor attic-bound retared stepchild whose government checks no longer covered the cost of that new deck you wanted to add on. The above two letters (kitty & ME) about poor customers made me want to personal apologize to them and suggest that if they were willing to give us another try then the staff at our store would make them fell welcome. But, alas my store was one of the B. Dalton axed this year and because I questioned the new policy (we did them and were certified)I was not offered a job at B&N. Instead, younger staff members (1 with 4 years with the company, 1 with 5 months and 1 with 2 months) were given postions. Years of experience did not count, being a yes man did. If you shake the B&N employment tree you will find less and less 5 year or more employees and more “I just graduated from junior or senior high and I can count to 100, but haven’t read or heard of William Shakespeare because I think he wrote book before my time” (true story) employees.
    I know his sounds like sour grapes, but I just feel for all the loyal customers who either can not reach a B&N, did not want to shop in a big box store, don’t own a computer, don’t want to order online, or who would just likes to talk to a person about a genre they like while being given honest suggestions on what to buy.
    B. Dalton might not have been square foot large, but it was full of people who put the customer 1st. As to the Kitty’s letter they should have taken into account the amount the customer had spent, let her know our new 14-day policy and that as a today only courtsey an exchanged of remainder would be placed on store credit card.
    In the case of the ME customer, I know no medicnes of any kind should be dispenced, however, the employee should have given the customer some paper towels like they were ask (you would given them paper towels if their child had of vomited on the floor), offered to call an ambulance (all the blood) and brought them chairs or moved them to a chaired area to help them calm down their child. When ask to remove or move the plastic shelves the manager should have apologized and moved, removed, rearranged, or changes the type of plastic shelving. They are the store manager, they can make those types of decision, plus ME made a valid point about future accidents. None of those displays are set in stone and as long as the merchandise was still displayed in a appealing manner it does not matter what shelving is holding it.
    I know the smaller store formats are dying as the indoor malls are being replaced with new Living Center Malls (glorfied strip malls), but the “new baby smell” will wear off and people will realize (well people whose cities have hip-deep snow and mall developers who don’t live in sunny Florida )that indoor malls were designed to be out-of-the-weather-one-stop-shopping and we need them. B&N used to make an effort to go into indoors malls, as a replacemnt for the smaller store or as an anchor store such as Sear, Macy’s or JCPenny’s. However, now it’s all about money, looks and how many big beautiful B&N stores can you dot all across America. I’ll take customer service over a 4 floored, fireplaced (yes, some of the new B&N have fireplaces)glorfied library.
    My suggestion to all the customer complaints, support your local little bookstore. The instore selection might not be the greatest, but I bet the employees will know what your talking about and will bent over backward to get it for you.

  • fs

    I’ve had pretty good experience at barnes and noble. It’s hard to judge the company as a whole from only one bad experience.It amazes me how much people hang on one bad experience.

  • TRay

    B&N is NOT, and I repeate NOT customer friendly. I tried an online order for the first time with them today. When I called to cancel it because it said that they books would not ship until May, I was told that they were sorry I was CONFUSED and DID NOT UNDERSTAND their shipping policy. That if I wanted it to ship faster as the note had said (available to ship in 2-3 days) then I would have to pay more. I asked to cancel my entire order and was told that I was not allowed to cancel my entire order. I went up 3 rungs on the customer service ladder and got the same answer. What the heck? Tomorrow I will be filing a complaint with the State Attorney General and a fraud claim with my credit card company and since I work in a law firm, placing a call to the CEO to find out why he is not allowing his customers to cancel orders that have not shipped or even boxed up.

    This is crap. They think they can get away with anything because they are big dog in the book world, but guess what, I can make a pretty big noise when I bark.

    Do NOT shop at Barnes and Noble!

  • anonymous

    The people that work at your local bookstore and ordered your book for you are not to blame. It’s the people that work at the warehouses that cause the delay problems most of the time. Or, less frequent, it is UPS that didn’t ship your order. The warehouse is not really run by Barnes and Noble. They are almost seperate entities. Oh and if that’s the worst thing that has happened to you lately, you know how it goes.

  • me

    Dear kitty,

    Feel thankful that you were even allowed an even exchange, the manager must have liked you.
    See, many Barnes and Noble stores only spent I’d say TWO MONTHES circling the back of receipts and reciting a shpiel every time they saw a customer because our RETURN POLICY CHANGED.
    You see, we had so many people with “original receipts” who were bringing books back after oh, say, a year or so. We also had people trying to bring back Windows ’95 books too, which we had to honor for some reason.
    So, to keep you, the general customer-public, from ripping us off at every available chance, we had to change it to: “NOTHING AT ALL WITHOUT A RECEIPT” and “NO REFUNDS AFTER FOURTEEN DAYS”.
    This is set in stone, no exceptions, do not pass go, do not collect $200, or in your case, $10.
    The manager should have just held the DVD out at arms length and told you “sorry”, but no… he or she was gracious enough to make an exception for you and offer an even exchange because we’re not allowed to give out store credits anymore for “expired” purchases.
    It also has nothing to do with how much you spent on your original purpose.

    Also, for you information, you could have asked any employee what the return policy was PRIOR to purchasing and they would have told you exactly that. And say, you only thought about it after you got home, well then, it’s printed on the back of your receipt!

    Good day!

  • B&N Employee

    If you order a book in February that won’t ship until May, then I would say with 99% certainty the book is strict-on-sale for a date and may, and the company cannot sell it to you before that date without incurring huge fines and other logistical penalties. Otherwise it was a used title, which come from third part sellers that sell through our website and we had no control over the shipping time frame at all. So yes, you probably were confused; don’t blame the company for the fact you didn’t pay attention.

  • Anonymous Bookseller.

    Why does B&N have math books in two departments?

    Consider algebra. On the one hand, you go to the Study Aids department to find Schaum, Bob Miller, and Barron’s Easy Way. On the other hand, you go to the the Math department, in my case on the other side of the store, to find the Dummies, Demystified, and Idiot books.

    The real problem is that a customer who doesn’t ask for help will never know that there are two algebra displays. The customer will find one or the other, assume that there’s nothing else, and miss half the books. Some customers do ask for help, and I get tired of having to explain to them this peculiar B&N arrangement, and having to escort them back and forth across the store.

    Maybe someone up in New York can shed some light on this; neither the customers nor I have any idea by what criterion the books are separated.

  • http://stackoverflow.com/users/389/jake jake

    It is over five years down the road and this blog title still holds true!!! what is with their continued use of brokers worldwide? i have a huge number of orders with them (showing you how naive and insane i am) and every single one through BWW has gotten itself lost!!! take order number 107088520 for example. made in November, not only did they lose the Christmas gifts i ordered, but they only refunded in FEBRUARY!!!! I’m a banker, have you any idea how much money i lost in interest?
    They say insanity is doing the same thing twice expecting different results. i started taking a course and ordered some textbooks to help me over a particularly trick patch. i paid $47 in order to get UPS with tracking and quick delivery. i did not complain at the arbitrary calculation of $47 for four books, did not even mind when they shipped on 3rd an order made on the 28th of February. what really pisses me off is that THEY SENT IT BY BROKERS WORLDWIDE!!!!!
    allow me to explain, fumblers worldwide only deliver to ones countries postal service. ups only delivers to a physical address. i used a physical address because I PAID FOR UPS NOT BUGGERS WORLDWIDE!!!!
    Now, i need to go to my anger management class and then to church to thank God that i am not in the US of A.
    By the way, where do they get off sending me all these apologies for what ever it was someone did in thier stores to a poster of the president? I AM NOT A CITIZEN OF THE US!!! I’M JUST AFRICAN AND PISSED ABOUT SOMETHING ELSE. I DON’T NEED ANOTHER REASON TO BE PISSED AT B&N!!!

  • nycbookseller

    i keep reading all of the info/complaints on here and understand where EVERYONE is coming from. I have been an employee for 2+ years and work in a fairly busy store in nyc. Since I only moved to nyc a week before i started working, i have grown to love my co-workers. (not managers) I have worked in retail before and can tell you that i have a fairly clear understanding of how a retail store works. I have met with the “bigwigs” who own the company and can honestly tell you that they in no shape, way, or form mirror the horrible managers who work at the stores. As an employee with some pull at my store i cannot tell you how many times i have settled situations where customers refuse to talk to managers because of past encounters. Being at my store for 2+ years i have come to know and greatly respect our regular customers. I can say this about all customers..from the celebrities who come in to the babysitters who use the kids section as a daycare. Simply said, all of your experiences in a B&N store are the nature of the beast. What some of you argue in here are things that I can justifiably argue against. Other things, you have valid complaints. As a retail store, we are here to provide you, the customers, with a broad selection, good customer service, and an overall decent shopping experience. With that said, it does not happen every time. As an employee I have been “wronged” at another store in my own company. Is it a big deal? no. Is it the end of the world? certainly not. What I think is important for customers to realize is that the employees themselves have busy lives as well as you and we are therefore entitled to have bad days. I myself am a full-time college student in my senior year at a top college who works 40 hours a week in a semi-supervisor position. I think the thing we need to remember is that there are worse things in life than not being able to return a book, or dealing with a disgruntled customer. It’s life, do some yoga, and move on.

  • jake

    Good grief!!! @nycbookseller, i need years of yoga to deal with the stuff you are shovelling!!! what is with your self righteous high horsing attitude? where do you get off dispensing advice? do you have any facial hair yet? what do you have to say oh wise font of wisdom to us online “regular” customers?
    till i read your stuff, i had actually moved on!! even opened an online account with mcgrawhill like i should have done in the first place.
    sometimes, my dear semi-supervisory-book-person-college-student-Sigmund, you just have to sit quietly and let people vent. let the embers die out.

  • nycbookseller

    how about you just stop ordering from BN and save everyone a headache? We most likely use some bootleg shipping company to mail your books because they have to be parachuted in. If your dumb enough to continue using a service your not happy with then your just flat out idiotic. And as for “high horsing attitude”: I was just trying to find some common ground here. I dont have that kind of attitude at all and often side with the customers. But in this case, I’m happy your order got f’d up. Order books from your own country so we can stop dealing with retards like you. Oh and yes..I have a nice little beard. Although I’m not quite sure why you’re so interested in my facial hair…you have a thing for young boys?

  • http://roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    If your [sic] dumb enough to continue using a service your [sic] not happy with then your [sic] just flat out idiotic.

    Maybe the problem with B&N is that they have illiterate booksellers?

    But in this case, I’m happy your order got f’d up. Order books from your own country so we can stop dealing with retards like you.

    B&N stock is at (or close to) its lowest point since 1996. There are many reasons for this, but you (and employees like you) are certainly one of them.

  • Bookseller Dave

    I’m sorry for the bad experiences some of you have posted about. At my Barnes & Noble we have for the most part really nice Customers and we enjoy helping them find books. At my Barnes & Noble we get compliments about our Customer Service every single day. I can’t help people over the Internet, so I’m going to concentrate our efforts on providing the best Customer Service that we can at our store. At my Barnes & Noble we have fun at work and we take care of our Customers and will continue to do so. Have a good day everyone, and remember more books is never a bad thing!

  • Michelle J

    Really, all of you who say that you go into a B&N and it’s just so horrible and blah blah blah. First off, it is a STORE. Not a library, not your personal book collection. We cannot possibly be there for everything for everyone. Everyone that has complained on here, I have seen and heard each one of you in my store. What you need to realize is that, no, you do not understand our policies and our methods. Not even the people that say that you work there. You just don’t get it (and frankly it’s not that difficult of a concept). Yes, I know, it is an evil “big box store” and how could we do what we do? Easy, simple business practices, the same anyone and everyone uses. You all say that Border’s is so much better? Then why are they going out of business? Why is our ONLY competitor Half Price Books? Easy, simple. American Business.

    Don’t get mad at us just because you don’t get it.

  • http://www.merkurpublishing.com Merkur Publishing, Inc.

    We are publishers of the Hermetic Sciences by Franz Bardon. A number of years ago, Barnes & Noble sold our books. We ultimately cancelled our distributorship with them. Now their computer information states that the Bardon Books are “out of print” and have been for a number of years! THIS IS COMPLETELY UNTRUE. The Bardon books have never been out of print. We have filled many order from customers who had the foresight to locate us regardless of what Barnes & Noble said.

  • Sandman

    The manager of the B& N I work at is completely under-qualified for the position he holds.
    He has been placed in the store as a mole, puppet for the lazy district manger.
    He has no skills and is more concerned about lunch than the operations of the store.
    He has the upper .
    mangement snowed by his sometimes articulate talk.
    Little do they know of his sexually explicit conversations and predauice comments.
    Oh yes, we listen is crap. my advice, contact your lawyer.
    From what i hear, our New England store is not the only store in disarray.

  • Julie

    I agree with you . our mananger doesn’t even know how to run the register, never mind the programs they send us. He never runs the morning meetings and has nothing to say when asked if he has anything to say. Why bother having a manager at all? He does nothing but relay messages from the higher ups. They can send us that info by memo.
    Maybe someday, B & N will higher the right people with experience. Oh, but that would take too long and cut into the DM and RDM vacations.
    If you find another job, RUN! as fast as you can away from this retailer.

  • happybnemployee

    I have worked with Barnes and Noble now for almost a year. Before that I was a happy customer for much longer.

    I know i haven’t had very much experience with being employed at B&N, but I am very lucky to have had this for my first job.

    What people need to understand is that the booksellers, the ones that are on the lowest part of the B&N “food chain” are just trying to help. yes, you sometimes get rude employees. But often times they are eventually filtered out.

    I am lucky to be working at a store where Excellent customer service is driven into every part of training.

    I was told constantly to “Put the book in the customers hands” and scolded once for pointing. At my store we are very hands on and try our hardest to help every customer. Even the rude ones.

    I’ve had my share of good experiences. And my share of bad ones. Including people praising me for my suggestions and help. And other people yelling at me for making them wait when I, and every other person on the floor that day, was busy with several customers. Or another man telling me our return policy was illegal. Which I found out, is not.

    What I am trying to say is that you should not base your judgement of Barnes and Noble on one store. Or even one region. Every B&N i’ve been to in my general area, Southern California. Riverside County, has been amazing and friendly. They have great customer service. They are very hands on.

    I believe it is very much to do with the managers. We have some very intelligent, very caring managers that want to help.

    I was hired in May of 2008, with two other girls. One only lasted a few weeks before she quit. She was very quiet and kept to herself. I just do not think the fast paced work environment was for her.
    The other girl left after a couple more months. She said it was for school.

    After those two girls left, we had some long time employees that had to leave for one reason or another. One moved to another state, one for school. And a few others for various reasons. But because of hours, we only hired one or two more people and had to bring a new manager in because we lost one.

    Since then we hired about 7 seasonals for the Christmas rush. Only 4 of them are left and each of them deserved their position.

    My Store Manager is a very amazing woman who works very hard to help each individual customer. And each individual employee.

    When i went to her to ask for some variation in my schedule, because i was doing the same thing every day, she did her best to switch it up. Other employees have asked for more time in Cafe, or music. They have gotten what they wanted as well.

    Our store runs smoothly, even though, in our region, we are one of the lowest in payroll and employment thanks to our lack of the “mall crowd”

    My store is in a shopping center smack dab in the middle of two of the malls in my county. One is 10 minutes away. the other 30.

    So you see, I have no big complaints about the way my store is run. Yes I do get some bad customers. But I try my hardest to make each person happy, just like my managers and even my District and Regional manager.

    I am sorry to those who have had bad experiences. But please try to understand, we are doing our best. For some of us this is our first job. I know it is mine. We are all trying to make ends meet in an economy that has gone down the shitter. If it helps, try imagining yourself in our shoes, it can be hard. But it might open your eyes.

    I know i try and do that sometimes when i get a customer who is particularly crabby. I just figure they are having a bad day at work, or with their child or husband/wife. They don’t mean what they say. They just want ONE thing to go right in their day.

  • unknown

    wow

  • unknown

    THAT was FUN to read, what happen to the love? lmao, well we got our own opinion on things, why don’t we just leave it at that? For those book lovers, does it matter what store you buy it from?? to does complaining, procrastinators, etc. deal with it :) we don’t need to know your problems about B&N, but wow. at least we got the negativity out of our system hehe

  • Happy Employee

    I am a b&N employee and have been for a couple years. I work full time in the Music department and have never worked on the book floor. I do however, help at times when i have no one and can get out of the department, which is usually after 8pm. As a company and store, we strive for fast and great customer service. I know that my store, with the recent ecomny is doing the best it can. We don’t have a full staff because our sales don’t allow it. People ain’t spending money like they used to. We carry a lot of items in store. Unfortunatly no store is big enough to carry every book in publication.

    Because of the lack of people customer calls have been reverted to Music. So, not only do we do our own calls, we do the book floors too. Its easy when the customer has an e-mail address. On the Customer order slip it tells when the book was ordered: I can guarantee that if the book was a shipped to the store it only takes a couple days. With music, i have seen items that were just ordered 2 or three days ago. It depends on where you live for the most part. There are two warehouses: one in Reno and one in NJ. Plus, Music has an extra one in Kentucky. Depending on Weather, it can take longer than expected.

    My advice to anyone that does a ship-2-home is too call the store that you did it from a couple days later, and get the tracking number. Personally, I tell all customers that. It makes it easier. Once the product is out of our hands, there is nothing that we can do about it.

  • Julie

    Maybe the Corporate office does read these messages.
    One of the big execs. has been fired. i guess they finally realized the waste of money employing him.
    Next will be the arrogant district manager, followed by the Mickey mouse manager. It all takes time, but it will happen. Mr. CEO, if you did this sooner rather than later, your stores could be producing millions more than now.
    By the time they get the “right ” people in place, Barnes and Noble will be closed, due to the Online alternatives. just as well, the place is filled with pedifiles and filth anyway. It’s safer to buy from the internet.

  • Maryann

    I am a Barnes & Noble Children’s Lead at a store I have worked in for over five years. Our Store Manager is terrific and so are my fellow employees. Many of the comments here seem to indicate a lack of good store management. If we did not keep up with zoning and other store operations, our Regional Manager would be here in a heartbeat to make sure the problem was corrected. Our store is still hiring so that we have the coverage we need for breaks, etc. I don’t understand why situations are so different in other stores. I also feel the everyday frustrations of working retail, but EVERY job has a down side. I hope that people reading the comments here will keep in mind the fact that employees who are happy with their jobs and sincere in their desire to give excellent customer service would not be as motivated to vent here as those who are unhappy. Therefore, many satisfied and excellent workers are not being heard from here. I hope that keeps things in perspective for those who may be getting a one-sided and very negative view of Barnes & Noble.

  • A. Nonny Mouse

    God. I wish people would just shut up about the stupid return policy. If you really hate it that much, don’t take it out on me – I get paid $7 an hour to push the buttons on the register.

    You know why we have this ridiculously tight-assed return policy? You know why it sucks for people with legitimate reasons to actually make a return? Because people treat us like a library. No, you don’t have 30 days to “try this book out”. No, you can’t just buy it, use it for your homework and bring it back. It doesn’t work like that, and you’re ruining it for the rest of us.

    Fine, hate the return policy. Hell, I hate it, but don’t take it out on the booksellers. It’s not my fault corporate decided to tighten their belt because few people were being asshats. Go to them, because I don’t get paid enough to make any kind of difference.

  • VA Bookseller

    Caitlyn (18) – Yes, the Borders card is free. What you seem to fail to recognize is that you do NOT get a 10% discount on every purchase with the Borders card. You don’t get any discount.

    Quoted directly from borders.com: For every $150 spent on qualifying purchases at Borders, Borders.com, Borders Express, or Waldenbooks, Borders Rewards members will earn $5 in Borders Bucks, issued the first week of the following month and valid until the end of that month.

    So, you have to spend $150 to earn back $5. That’s less than 3.5% back. Or, you can go to B&N, make a purchase of $150 and use your member card, saving $15. Naturally, if someone isn’t a frequent customer at B&N, it makes no sense to spend the $25. I hope you realize not every B&N holds employees like that.

    You definitely seem like one of the customers I’d be glad to be rid of if I worked at those B&N’s. Please don’t ever come to Northern Virginia.

  • Lancelot Lovejoy

    Of course, VA Bookseller, you’re only mentioning one part of the Borders Rewards card, and a secondary one at that. People sign up primarily for the coupons that get sent out each week. And yes, while it is a pain in the ass to have to print it out and bring it in (if you consider printing a sheet of paper a pain in the ass), you will wind up doing a lot better than 5 bucks per every 150 spent.

    Yes, I’m a Borders employee but I was a long-time B&N customer before that, since the city I grew up in only had a B&N with no Borders within 60 miles. I just wanted to say how surprised I am at how many horror stories there are on here from customers who could have been dealt with by store management in a more positive way. For example, Borders’ return policy is basically the same (except it’s 30 days) but we make exceptions all the time because frankly there are times when, even if we’re right and the customer is wrong when looking at the policy, we still just come across as assholes. There are ways to determine if the return is legit or if we’re being scammed. The managers know how to flesh those people out and do it every week. We never take back unwrapped cds or dvds. But if they lost their receipt or it’s been 33 days, and it’s clear the book was from our store and it’s in good shape, we always at least offer store credit.

    Why? Because despite the initial pissing and moaning about spinelessness and hanging the cashiers out to dry (which doesn’t have to happen if the manager has a modicum of leadership and people skills), the end result is that people won’t feel motivated to go to places like this and piss and moan about how horribly they were treated.

    I know Borders has more than its share of complaints too — I’m not delusional and am no fan of borders.com — but none of the complaints are about my store.

  • ignored customer

    Update on item #179 from Dec 19, 2008 …

    Now it’s been SIX MONTHS, and I’m still waiting to hear from B&N customer service.

  • x3besi

    does anyone know how long is the employee break (if B&N has one) during a regular 8-hour shift????

  • Anonymous Bookseller

    According to the B&N internal web site (“bninside”), the manager of store 2622 said this:

    “I feel that Barnes & Noble has given us all the tools and processes which allow us to succeed within our four walls.”

    I don’t know whether he/she really holds this view, or whether this store manager is unwillingly voicing a phony opinion as ordered by some high-level executive.

    What I do know is that these words lack one iota of credibility; they ring of a vacuous sycophancy. In my store at least, B&N has plenty of room for improvement in its “tools and processes”. You need look no further than Bookmaster, the company’s internal database for books, to find examples:

    ** Bookmaster does not recognize quote marks in searches. If I want to search for a two-word phrase, I get instead any book that has the two words anywhere in the title or description, whether or not the two words are adjacent or even close to each other.
    ** Bookmaster does not support AND and OR for boolean searches.
    ** Bookmaster is particularly inept at finding authors who use initials instead of a first name, such as J.A.Jance or J. California Cooper.
    ** There is no way to exclude from the search results those books that we cannot obtain, while keeping listings of those books that are in the store or that are orderable.
    ** If a customer’s special order is taking longer than expected, Bookmaster cannot tell us where the book is, or when it will show up.

    If the manager of store 2622 really believes that B&N equips its employees with everything they need to achieve success, that manager is out of touch with reality. I suspect, rather, that this manager does know better, and some high-level executive is using the him/her as a vehicle for a snow job. Do the executives think that we booksellers are really stupid enough to fall for it?

    Far better would be for B&N to acknowledge the company’s strengths and weaknesses, and for the employees to work together to resolve deficiencies — rather than to deny that the problems exist. We have plenty of astute customers who aren’t going to be fooled.

  • Anonymous Bookseller

    response to 224 – x3besi, who wrote:

    “does anyone know how long is the employee break (if B&N has one) during a regular 8-hour shift????”

    in my store, it’s like this: you get a 30-minute unpaid break for lunch. also, if the store isn’t too busy you might get a 15-minute paid break.

    the official policy may differ.

  • Donyale

    At B. Dalton (still a part of B&N )you get 1 thirty minute unpaid break for lunch and 2 paid fifteen minute breaks for an 8 hour shift. Since B&N higher ups are always saying that we are all the same company, than that break rule should apply to B&N stores.

  • Bookseller

    ** There is no way to exclude from the search results those books that we cannot obtain, while keeping listings of those books that are in the store or that are orderable.

    You can limit your search to in-store only. Also, as to the “cannot obtain”, the most likely reason you can’t eliminate “search our dealer network” books from the list is because we CAN obtain them. You are quite capable of helping the customer set up a ship to home order directly from the website at your customer service desk computer. Many booksellers are simply too lazy to do so. I have regulars in my store that I help find out-of-print books all the time. It’s really quite easy.

    ** If a customer’s special order is taking longer than expected, Bookmaster cannot tell us where the book is, or when it will show up.

    If it’s ship to store, just reorder it from the website for them. See above comment. It’s not smart to order books that only have one or two copies in warehouses nationwide anyways. Know how hard it is to find that one copy on the shelf in your store? BN distribution centers are a little bit larger.

    If, however, the order was ship-to-home, you can use that nifty tracking number they give you in the ups section of our computers to tell them precisely where the package is if it’s shipped.

    **[insert random search engine complaint]
    Use the website. It’s better. Then just copy/paste the isbn back into bookmaster.

    “We have plenty of astute customers who aren’t going to be fooled.”
    You don’t have to fool them. Sometimes you just need to go a little bit above the call of duty to get the info for them. I use my iPhone on a regular basis to google what a customer is looking for, and if we can’t even get it used I’ll call around to local used bookstores. They appreciate it, and come back asking for me by name.

    You can’t please everyone (especially not the idiots that expect us to find “that one book that I heard about on the radio! It’s blue! And I think it was a diet book… or maybe it was on dogs.” Or their favorite childhood book from 1920. Or CONCERT TICKETS (I got this question yesterday, working the customer service at my location). Most of us do the best we can. Every job has bad employees (my location certainly isn’t any different on that front), but for the most part we want to help people find what they’re looking for. We WANT to sell you books. The more you buy, the more payroll hours we have. The more hours our store has, the more hours I get. The more hours I get, the more money I make. I LIKE MONEY.

    Cheers
    –Your friendly neighborhood Bookseller

  • Anonymous Bookseller

    The writer of post #225 responds to the writer of post #228:

    #228: You can limit your [bookmaster] search to in-store only.

    #225: Actually, no. The in-store-only search is usually so slow that bookmaster times out and gives an error message.

    #228: You are quite capable of helping the customer set up a ship to home order directly from the website at your customer service desk computer … It’s really quite easy.

    #225: Quite easy it isn’t. The web browsers on the customer service computers in my store have had a number of useful features disabled; it’s awkward to do much of anything.

    #228: I have regulars in my store that I help find out-of-print books all the time.

    #225: If I’m helping a customer order from the web site, I consume an average of 10 minutes helping him/her spend an average of $2.99 (plus shipping) to buy a used book from some other company. Why so much time?

    Reason 1. The customer will ask questions like these:

    ** “If a book is in VERY GOOD condition, does that mean that there might still be a crease in the cover?”
    ** “Is ABC used bookstore in Utah more reliable than XYZ used bookstore in Louisiana?”
    ** “Can you phone the seller to make sure that they will ship it today?”

    There’s no quick and courteous way to answer such questions.

    Reason 2. Most times, the customer will want to pay with cash — otherwise he/she would probably have used a credit card on a home computer. So the customer goes to the register in order to buy a gift card. Meanwhile, I start helping a second customer, because I don’t want to stand there doing nothing, and there’s a line of people waiting. If I step away from the customer service desk to find a book for the second customer, the first customer comes back, can’t find me, and wonders what’s going on. During all that, another employee has started using the computer that I had the order entered into, so now the order is lost, and we have to start over.

    #228: Use the website. It’s better. Then just copy/paste the isbn back into bookmaster.

    #225: If the customer catches sight of the website screen, and sees a bunch of used versions for low prices, Barnes & Noble isn’t going to end up selling a new book. Instead, B&N will be the pass-through for some other company to sell a used book. Sure, B&N will get a cut, but will it be enough to cover our expenses, like employee time? Probably not.

    #228: Sometimes you just need to go a little bit above the call of duty to get the info for them.

    #225: If I go above the call of duty for one customer, the next customer will have to wait longer to get service. Much of my day consists of balancing competing requests from different customers, some in person, and some on the phone.

    #228: I use my iPhone on a regular basis to google what a customer is looking for

    #225: Does B&N furnish your iPhone? When will they give me one?

    #228: and if we can’t even get it used I’ll call around to local used bookstores.

    #225: You have time to call around to other local used bookstores? I will gladly phone other B&N stores, but a competitor? No. Consider that if a used book doesn’t appear on the B&N web site, it’s not likely that the used bookstores in my town will themselves have a copy. Why waste everybody’s time?

    #228: Most of us do the best we can. Every job has bad employees (my location certainly isn’t any different on that front), but for the most part we want to help people find what they’re looking for. We WANT to sell you books.

    #225: The employees in my store WANT to sell you books, too, but we want to do it PROFITABLY — remember, no profit means no job. My store simply does not have the staffing to fully pursue all customer requests, and we focus attention on those customers who are likely to buy a book from B&N itself, and not from some other company listed on the web site.

    – – – – – –

    #225: With one remark I take particular umbrage:

    #228: Many booksellers are simply too lazy to [use the B&N website].

    #225: In our store, we’re not lazy. We just have to set priorities to help the store make money. Our store is obviously not as generously staffed as yours — or do you work unpaid overtime to go “a little bit above the call of duty”?

  • Elwood

    The local B&N near me is full of very rude employees. Very difficult to get anyone to help search for a book or place an order. B&N pricing is very high, unless you PAY to join their little club for a discount. Return/exchange policy is horrible. I purchased a book for a gift which turned out to be a volume they had already read. They would not exchange without a receipt, and by the time I got the receipt to them it had been ONE day past their 14 day policy. The manager said he could not do it because it’s against the policy. So, what do I possibly gain from going to B&N over an online service? Pay extra for wasting my time and rude service?

  • Hey you whiney B&N workers…

    Wow, you people amaze me. You seem very irritated that you have to do your job. All you expect is the perfect customer that knows exactly what they want, where to find it, pay for it and leave. WTF? If the bathrooms are dirty, clean them. Imagine a food service worker saying cleaning is not MY job. If the books are out of place, move them back into place.( What about those poor clothing store employees that have to put back all those clothes?). The customer might not know the exact title or author, God forbid you help them, because they are too stupid and lazy to do your job and look it up online before arriving at the store.

    Just do your job, and I promise I will not be rude to you. Don’t like your job, well read a little more to educate yourself and get a better one.

  • Anon Reader

    I stumbled upon this blogsite, because I too am a dissatisfied BN customer. I have been loyal to BN for many years, but the service and attitude at the store here has really gone downhill in the past couple years.
    What disturbs me the most is reading how disgruntled their employees are. It all very obvious to me now knowing how they select and treat their employees.

    I’m definitely just moving on to amazon now. I’ll just use the BN stores to browse the books, then go home and order online. It’s also much cheaper, and my compter will assist me without making it seem as if I have really interrupted something very important and has no holier than thou, egomaniacal attitude.

    I’m sorry for you guys, but you can’t treat every customer as if they are the bad ones. I never even sat and browsed. If I couldn’t make up my mind by browsing a book in less than 2 minutes, it probably wasn’t worth reading.

    The business will not thrive unless the customers are happy, the customers wont be happy if the employees aren’t happy, and so on. I’ll miss BN when they’re gone…..

  • BN Houston

    First of all, to all of the disgruntled customers who say that BN will be gone soon… think again. BN was one of the few companies that has managed to make a profit amid the worst parts of the financial crisis and recession. In fact, the company is growing, adding a new flagship store in New York and a brand new store in Houston (among many other new stores).

    You may be wondering, “why would a company with rude, incompetent workers and a shipping system that is consistently ineffective be doing so well?” The answer is, Barnes and Noble isn’t what you think. For every bad experience mentioned here there are probably a thousand good ones, and, although you are bitter and wish to punish Barnes and Noble, the company is doing well right now and will do well in the future.

    First of all, each store is different, is managed by different people, and is staffed by different people. My store in the Houston area is managed by competent, nice people who actually care about their employees. I am sure this is not the case everywhere.

    Second, if you are someone who has made one of the most common “customer mistakes” such as asking a music seller or a cashier to find you a book, chances are you were not the first person that day to do that. People (especially those receiving only slightly above the minimum wage) have a limited amount of patience.

    Also, as a BN employee, I find that the vast majority of customers are polite people who know what the are looking for, and they are helped with ease by booksellers. However, the occasional customer comes in, is rude, and asks for “the book with the red cover.” The bookseller will not be able to help them find the book. Both parties will become frustrated; the customer will become more irate and the bookseller more standoffish. The customer will become offended by the demeanor of the bookseller, who has other customer to deal with, will vow never to come in to a BN ever again, and will post their awful experience on a site such as this.

    Most importantly, please do not blame employees for things out of their control. We do not have anything to do with items shipped to customer’s homes. We cannot control the time it takes for a book to be shipped to the store. We cannot control what books the store carries (a customer once accused BN of being a part of the “Liberal Media Conspiracy” because the publisher of “Liberty and Tyranny” was not able to ship us the FOUR HUNDRED copies we ordered). We cannot control what happens when you call the BN customer service number. We cannot control incompetent coworkers who shelve books incorrectly.

    If you don’t know what you want, at least have a genre in mind. For example: “I’m looking for a book about the civil war.” The bookseller will direct you to the civil war section of the store and might even be able to suggest a title. Please, do not come into the store with a specific book in mind, with only a couple words from the title. The bookseller will not be able to help you.

    Lastly, in response to post 232, if you are browsing our books with the intent of buying them somewhere else, you are in effect stealing from the bookstore, because we employees will have to clean up after you when you leave a stack of books somewhere in the store. You also take away from the quality of the new books that we sell. Barnes and Noble is NOT a library, it is a business. Please respect that.

    PS- to all the BN employees complaining about their jobs- you have not worked for a bad company. As a part time worker I receive paid vacation and will eventually be eligible for health benefits, among others. I receive a consistent number of hours, and, although my pay is low, I am still paid more than my brother, an employee at a chain retail clothing store who receives minimum wage, a terrible employee discount, and inconsistent (and low) hours.

  • AL

    Good day. I have just waded through several hundred of the comments on this site and have several general comments.

    A note about the complaints about late delivery, books that are used when you buy them, on and on.

    > If you go to any national retailer with a reasonable problem that they may have caused and ask them to fix it. They will. There is not a general manager or district manager that is not going to attempt to make you happy. Your only chance to be treated like dirt (as described in this series of notes) is to run across a not exceptional GM or DM and treat them like dirt. Then, there is an outside chance they will shovel some manure on you.

    > Either way, no one here is really going to listen to you. You will be dismissed by the readers as an immature person that should not really be allowed to own a computer.

    A note on comments:

    > If you are going to bash, how about using good grammar, spell the words correctly, and do not swear or use words that are just as bad as swearing? Yes, I swear, too, it slips out when I am being ignorant, stupid or just out of control. How about you? I think we can safely say that intelligent (or at least reasonable) people pay very little attention to comments with poor grammar, misspelled words and swearing.

    > By the way, do not use capital letters to reinforce your poorly framed message thinking it is going make a reader believe you more or share your wrath (that word means strong vengeful anger or indignation). Chances are that the reader already moved on after reading your first line, writing you off as someone not worth listening to.

    A note on compensation:

    > So you do not think you are being paid enough? First, chances are you are being paid exactly what your effort is worth. Past that point, you need to understand that you probably are indeed at the bottom of the food chain, money wise. It is the nature of the beast. If you do not see that working harder, better or with a better attitude will make you more money, then leave.

    > If you are there for some other positive for you, good benefits, getting to read off the shelf without buying the book (they all do it), the flexible schedule, whatever; then do not complain about the money. You have made an adult decision to take the secondary benefit over making lots of money. Please quit whining.

    A note on your manager:

    > If you think the manager doesn’t like you and has it in for you, you are wrong. Even if the manager does not like you they were not promoted to managers because they are not professional enough to deal with employees as adults. Some are better than others, that is true. You must believe me, none of them were made managers by accident.

    A note on customers:

    > I can guarantee you that there is not one person that walks through the door at a book store, be at B&N, Borders or whatever that cannot read. Most customers that frequent book shops are there because they are intelligent. Occasionally, they ask silly questions. When I worked for Radio Shack in Altoona, an old lady asked me to show her our line of snow shovels.

    > I personally love the one about looking for the book they heard about on NPR last month but only remember it had something to do with the President (yes, I worked as a bookseller at Borders for two years).

    > When someone asks you for that book and you have a good attitude then the story is funny and is something to tell your friends about and have a good laugh. At the store though, when they ask for that book, just remember that they are not asking for the book with the green cover about cats just to make your day extra bad. Why not help them so they will feel you tried and maybe you can feel you really tried to help someone?

    Summing up:

    > I have a friend who works in an auto junk yard (no kidding) who proved to me that he was the most intelligent person in Cleveland Ohio. He told me this:

    If you do not like the way things are where you work; you have three choices. One is to decide to work intelligently to change the bad parts where you work. The second is to resign yourself to the bad parts, shut up and just do the best you can. Your third option is to leave.

    If you choose #1, good for you. You have chosen a challenge and I hope it works out.
    If you choose #2, good for you. You are showing your intelligence.
    If you choose #3, good for you but… make sure that you are leaving for the right reasons. If you had the same problems at your last job or you have these same problems at your next job, then it is a pretty safe bet that the problem is not the manager, the customer, the money.

    The problem is you.

  • Dani

    Responding to comment #231 .. it’s not that we don’t like, or aren’t willing to do our jobs. It’s the fact that, quite often, people will come in and say they’re looking for a book, they don’t know the title, author, or really what it’s about, but it was on . We cannot read minds, and then these customers generally get angry quickly, despite our best efforts to help. I won’t say that ALL bn employees are great at customer service. They aren’t. But most of us really do try and do the best we can.

    And seriously, quit it with the “get educated” crap. I personally have a college degree, and in this economy everyone’s lucky to HAVE a job. The “better ones” are sadly, not all that much better at the moment.

    All we ask is that customers be civil, not treat us like incompetent, uneducated morons (which is a common occurrence), and we are much more likely to go the extra distance to help in whatever way we can. Realize that we are people too, not just drones there to serve your every whim.

    One more thing.. if our store doesn’t have the book you’re looking for, it’s not OUR fault. We as booksellers have no control over what is actually IN the store on any given day. We have no control over how quickly the wharehouse fills your order. Once we click “confirm” on the order page, we officially have no control. And we WOULD put the books that are out of order back in order.. if we knew where they WERE. But customers move them, and stick them back in any random shelf they want. I found a bargain interior design book in the cognitive science section today.

    If you have a serious complaint, talk to a manager. Booksellers have absolutely no power or really control over a n y t h i n g.
    K, I’ve said my piece. :)

  • Anonymous Bookseller

    Barnes & Noble is heavily promoting its new ebooks.

    But why can’t a customer use his B&N membership for a 10 percent discount when purchasing ebooks?

    If B&N management is truly serious about selling memberships, they’ll fix this problem fast.

  • Anonymous Bookseller

    ebook question …

    Suppose I buy a bunch of B&N ebooks and then B&N goes out of business. Will I still be able to access my books, or will the books I paid for be gone?

  • We all need to feed our kids

    Your complaints are valid. You have a right to human decency. We all do.

    But, in our current economic situation, it’s not fair to bash a chain for something one person did.

    Do you think it’s right to keep the registers from being put away and counted just because of your presence at closing time? It’s a safety issue. You could be waiting to rob the store.

    Don’t you think it would be rude if you wanted to go to bed but a guest was overstaying their welcome in your store?

    As long as you are there, the cashier has to postpone his/her job and therefore waste needed money and hours that could be distributed later in the week to people who need to feed their kids.

    You could make the same complaints about any store. It just depends on who works there. People aren’t all jerks.

    I’m a sensitive person and would not have become a Lead at my store if my managers were hard to work for.

    One last note.
    You weren’t the first difficult customer to get on that workers nerves.
    Most customers expect the service provider to be a rocket scientist. Not every bookseller majored in B&N customer service. Were just trying to put food on the table.

  • PT v FT

    The break requirements are in your employee handbook.

    Read it.

    If you are full time, you are entitled to an hour.

    PT, 8 hr: 30min lunch of the clock, + 2 15s on the clock (that’s paid for, so quit your bitchin’!)

  • Anna

    First of, I’d like to say to all the B&N employees here still defending that company: Good for you!!! You must be lucky enough to be working at one of the few stores where employees are being treated right.
    It’s not the whole company that’s bad. B&N is a huge corporation and, as you go down the latter, issues get worse and more often overlooked by the home office.
    I worked for them for 6 years. I applied for that job because I love books. The customers (who are not always right, by the way) could be overlooked if the management were more caring about the bookseller’s welfare.
    The store I worked for had some of the worst managers I have ever come across. Petty, uneducated people who came from all kinds of retail places. I took it all, mainly for the sake of job security and health benefits. Until one day an assistant store manager (whom I personally trained when he first started the job) told me that from then on I’d need to come to work and sit there off the clock until I’m needed. He had the district manager’s approval for his brilliant idea.
    You know the feeling of being used, abused, spat in the face and discarded? I recommend it, it’s highly enlightening. I turned in my keys that very day and never looked back with regret.
    All of you high and mighty customers who like to make yourselves feel more superior by abusing the retail employees… I really wish you to be in a situation where you’d have to experience that kind of treatment. And in this day and age where people beg for any job at all, I believe I just might have that wish granted.
    I’m glad to be out of there. I’m actually grateful now to that jerk that finally got me angry enough to quit. I never shopped at B&N afterward and I’m sure they don’t miss my business. I don’t miss them either.

  • Still Incensed

    Update from comment #185.

    A few weeks ago, a woman approached the cash registers at my store wanting to return a book. Simple enough. No.
    She was beyond her allotted 14 days and was told that she couldn’t return or exchange it by the very polite cashier who apologized. The woman became hostile and demanded to speak to a manager.
    The manager (who was pregnant) calmed her down and graciously made an exception and allowed her to do an even exchange.
    OK. Let’s review: by this point the woman has already thrown a fit over something the people in the store basically have no control over and is printed *ON THE BACK OF HER RECEIPT!* and has had to be placated like a small child.

    So, the woman goes shopping. It might be prudent to mention that she has her young son with her– about three-four years old– who has already had to watch his mother act atrociously.
    The two walk to the kids section and they shop for a little while. Now, they stay there for I’d say…15 minutes? Well, after about that much time, the customer service desk is told about a very disturbing problem. The manager (the same pregnant, easy-on-the-customer, exception-making manager) is called and walks to the kids section.

    Drum roll please! ……….
    The woman allowed her child (who was in her view) to pull down his pants, squat, and shit on the carpet. Lovely.

    Then, to add insult to both injury and disgust, she CONTINUED SHOPPING.
    The manager (I’ll say it again– pregnant and very nice) was not allowed to say anything to the woman and had to clean it up.
    Then, the woman, after about another twenty minutes of shopping around, brought her new purchases up to the checkout counter and exchanged them for the items she came in with.

    Let this be a lesson to every customer who thinks that they were absolute angels and were harassed, intimidated, dishonored, or disrespected by an employee of Barnes and Noble. We have to deal with shit like this (no pun intended) on almost a daily basis. Whether you came up to the checkout talking loudly into your phone, or allowed your baby to wail and scream for half an hour throughout the store, or you spilled something on an entire stack of magazines…. we’re just trying to do the best we can do and customers almost NEVER make it easy or even tolerable. I love my job, which is why I prefer the morning shifts when we put out new books or tidy up or do projects to the mid-day or night shifts when I would have to deal with the freaks, perverts, and careless dumbasses who never stop coming out of the wood work.

    Also, even if you just go to our cafe and sit down politely and don’t pull books or anything like that…you’re still not entitled to (As happened at my store last week) drink most of a venti drink and then return it with an inch of liquid left in it because it “tasted different”.
    A woman ordered a venti latte and our cafe lead accidently made it with skim instead of 2 percent… she didn’t like it… so, she came up and had cafe make a new one with 2 percent. That’s reasonable.

    Now, coming back FOUR MORE TIMES and having us waste that much material on you is inexcusable.
    Oh, and then after basically consuming three full drinks-worth of product, she returned the drink and got her money back…

  • Steve Burstein

    I get depressed when I think of the years I wasted at B&N being treated like a dog.It(the Downtown Crossing Boston store) was a fun place to work until about 1991 or ’92. Then, corporate put their hands on It, and I had to deal with nasty, patronizing managers who’d snap at me over nothing, plus a head cashier who screamed at me constantly and said:”I am you supervisor, you don’t talk to me like that!” the one time I stood up for myself.So why didn’t I look for another job?You’ve heard of low self esteem?I’ve got NO self esteem!

  • joy

    barnes and noble is the worste place to buy a book. their delivery takes at least 3 weeks and their service is disgusting. they are the most unreliable and greedy company i have ever seen. i hope they go out of busines

  • Gman

    If your mad, just orders some books and then refuse the order. They end up paying shipping both ways and have to restock the books.

  • Stephanie Lynn

    I have worked for Barnes and Noble for 3 years and while I don’t know all the ins and outs of the company, I can honestly say I really really enjoy working there.

    So I don’t understand former employees who say they hated it so much. I have worked about 8 jobs in my short 6 years of work experience, and NO WHERE was I treated better or given more respect than at Barnes and Noble.

    To customers: be patient with us. Errors in shipping or computer errors may sometimes mean that your book arrives late. It happens, rarely, but it does and there isn’t anything we can do about it except order you a new one. No, we cannot “hand-sell” you so many books like small independent chains, but that’s the price you pay for greater selection. I will try to recommend something in any situation that I can, but sorry, I don’t know anything about HVAC, C++, woodpolishing, etc. etc. I have a broad range of interests, but unfortunately, I don’t know everything about every book in the store.

  • Liza

    Honestly I don’t know why everyone is complaining. Where I live all of the B&Ns are clean and well run. They usually have what I need in stock unless it is obscure. And then it has come in within a matter of days. I have never been assaulted by anyone, and have never had the credit card mentioned to me. Everyone has been pleasant and wonderful. Maybe it isn’t the store chain itself but rather the branch you all are dealing with. I shop here, Borders, Amazon, and mom and pop booksellers. Each had its advantages and disadvantages. However B&N is convenient and my branches are friendly and prompt. I love the employees there. They like to talk to you, and help you find what you need. They want you to have a good experience so you come back. Maybe the reason all the people complaining here had bad experiences is that they made them that way. Think about it.

  • Worker

    Take it from someone who works at Barnes and Noble – we can’t carry everything. There just isn’t enough space. And, while you might have had a bad experience with customer service in the past, don’t take it out on every employee. Most of us are doing all we can to help. Don’t treat us like dirt just because you think you have a “beef” with the corporation.

    Everyone has to work for their money, there’s no need to make it hell for us.

  • A B&N Employee Speaks.

    As a veteran of an east coast B&N who has worked in each department of the store, I need very badly to point out something to many of the customers who have had problems regarding our store. I only hope that some can listen and understand.

    Barnes and Noble is, even in the current economic climate, a very successful company. A company does not become successful without consistent and renewed customer satisfaction. For every complaint you post on this website, for every individual dissatisfied customer, rest assured that you are outnumbered by a vast, vast majority of satisfied customers.

    I have worked in a number of fields, including several retailers, food service, civil service, and clerical industries. In my years [40+] of working in this country, I can say with strong conviction that the majority of all dissatisfied customers are unhappy because of problems they have themselves generated. Not all, of course. But without a question in my mind, most of all customer complaints originate with the customer’s own inappropriate actions. Not just with B&N, but in every business.

    At B&N, the most common problems I have encountered involve customers who truly want the impossible, and they want it done yesterday. The real world does not work like that.

    If you know you need a book in one month for a class, order it today, not two days before your deadline.

    If you know the book you are looking for is very hard to find, do not expect us to have 45 copies of it sitting on a shelf.

    If you do not see a book on the shelf, politely wait in line at Customer Service, and we will help you. Our cafe servers cannot help you find a book. They are cafe servers. Our cashiers cannot help you find a book. They are cashiers. Our Children’s department personnel are working in the Children’s department, and cannot help you find a book on the opposite side of the store [though most will help you anyway].

    If we cannot find a book for you, remember that you also have not been able to find the book either, and it is likely that it is not an easy book to find.

    We do not have access to the internet from the sales floor. This is a corporate decision, not the decision of the store managers or the employees. We cannot change the policy. Asking us to change the policy is about as useful as asking a gas station attendant to give you free gasoline, and getting upset at us is simply wasting your energy. Many of our stores offer free wireless service through AT&T.

    We do not control UPS, the US Post Office, Federal Express, or any other carrier we employ to deliver your orders. We are Barnes and Noble, and we only have control over our own company. If you order a book to be delivered in five days, rest assured that B&N has placed that book in the hands of UPS within 1-2 days for delivery. Once that book is out of our hands, we have no control over it. If your book is late being delivered, you can yell at us all you wish, and all you are accomplishing is making yourself look foolish. We will gladly provide you with UPS tracking numbers, so you can unleash your anger where it is both appropriate and effective, which is with UPS.

    If you order a drink in the cafe that is not up to your specifications, we will gladly remake it for you. But be aware that our baristas are trained to a level above Starbuck’s standards, and to put it plainly, we DO know beverages better than you do. If you ask for a drink using specific terminology, that is exactly what we will make. If you think we’re getting something wrong, please rethink your order and tell us what it is you want, because we are going to give you exactly what you are asking for whether your request is what you think it is or not. As a longtime cafe veteran, I assure you that at least 75% of all customer complaints are due to the customer not understanding what they are ordering.

    On that note, please understand that we are Barnes & Noble, not Starbuck’s. We are not owned, operated, or affiliated with Starbuck’s in any way, other than Starbuck’s licenses us to carry a certain percentage of their beverages, and trains us in their creation. We cannot honor Starbuck’s coupons, just as one cannot use a coupon for CVS in a Walgreen’s. We do not carry the entire Starbuck’s menu, so some products you may be used to at your local Starbuck’s are not available. This is a decision by Starbuck’s, not by Barnes & Noble.

    Our stores do not have enough employees to cover our needs. Period. If you waited 10 minutes at Customer Service, it is because that employee was needed elsewhere for those ten minutes. This is corporate policy. Becoming upset at the employees is a complete waste of your time and energy. Believe me, we want more employees. We beg and fight for hours. Corporate has decided that the way to deal with the economic crisis and stay as successful as we are is to cut back payroll. Dramatically. We cannot simply will more employees into existence. Trust me, we would like to.

    The only way this policy will ever change is to bring attention to the fact that all our stores are understaffed to B&N corporate management.

    Explain that the employees you have been screaming at for not jumping as high as you are asking them to are doing the work of 2-3 people apiece.

    Explain that the dirty store you are whining about needs another employee to recover [clean and straighten] the store, because the other employees were too busy doing the work of 2-3 people apiece to maintain an attractive store.

    Explain that the rude cafe server who offended your delicate sensibilities was upset and exhausted from working alone during the midday lunch rush, doing a job that is normally handled by 3 people, all by him/herself.

    Explain that your 10-minute wait in line to check out was because only one or two overwhelmed cashiers were employed to handle the entire busy line despite the presence of 8 cash registers.

    Explain that complete customer service can only be accomplished by an appropriately-staffed store, and that the corporate policy of understaffing stores will make you think twice about spending your money at B&N again. Corporate only understands the bottom line profit, just as any other corporation in the country does, and only threats to the bottom line by customers will make them take any notice.

    I know there are a lot of internal faults with this company. There are dozens and dozens of things that are done poorly, affecting employee morale. There are outdated and outmoded ways of corporate thinking that cripple us from doing the job we could be doing. There are constantly more and more layers of corporate beauracracy to deal with as an employee, even in the seemingly simple task of putting a book on the right place on a shelf so you can buy it.

    I think most of us honestly want to help you and make your shopping trip as smooth and positive as possible, I really do. We are shoppers and customers, too, when we are out in stores, trying to fill our own needs as citizens. We do understand how it works, from both sides of the issue.

    All we ask — and all anyone from any company can ask — is that you, as a customer, have as much responsibility in making your shopping experience positive as we do. Do your part, do your homework, understand what it is you really need, and then we can help you. And if we cannot, then it is your responsibility to modify your needs, not ours.

  • Sarah

    Ok guys. We don’t make commission off the cards nor the books we sell. Sometimes we have bad days and sometimes we have good days. Don’t expect for someone to be nice to you when your being rude as hell just cause were on the other side of the counter. We get enough shit from our bosses and shitty insurance. We just like giving knowledge. Just because we here to serve you doesn’t mean we take shit. Us booksellers have nothing to do with management. On the other hand some Barnes and Nobles are better then other. The one in Nashville is AMAZING. Great employees beautiful cafe and extremely helpful people in the music department.

  • anonymous in texas

    ive worked for Barnes & Noble for years and must warn you that at least at my store which i will not reveal due to fear of being terminated by management there exists only anarchy. We are rarely if ever visited by our district manager or human resources and those people that have called our special “Welisn” line the company hails as a direct line to report abuses have been fired or hours cut severely of course only after some time has passed so the people cant link the complaint to their being fired…raises within the company are solely based on favorship with the management team basically if they do not like you no raise…but even management did not get raises last year supposedly due to “financial crisis” within the company and yet the company has enough money to release the nook e-reader which cost millions to produce! This company cares nothing for its employees we have even had a girl who is on drugs all the time at work and has had several customer complaints come forward and i saw her ask several managers for help in getting rehab which the company offers and NOTHING was done for her! On top of that i witnessed the store manager himself and other managers discussing her on the sales floor and saying they wished she would just quit and that they didnt want to help her…when i said something i was told to mind my business…we have another manager who was promoted from within our store that now thinks she is god and daily berates employees including a disabled employee who has been there for years! She goes out for drinks with some of the employees and talks regularly about internal business i know this because the employees she values with this information of course discuss it with others…but she also is friends with the store manager so even i know people have complained routinely about her using our stores open door policy nothing has been done about her rudeness. it is no wonder so many people quit our store basically if you are in good with the managers and i mean like friends with the store manager or the newly appointed manager who thinks she is god you will have an easy job. If you show up and stay out of office politics and try to make the store better you will soon fall out of grace and find your hours being cut..this happened many times and when people went to the scheduling manager to ask why they were simply told we arent making money yet we recently hired like 6 new people one of which at our christmas meeting was said to have been high on drugs!!!! this all may seem like a fictional account but if you ever visit our store you will quickly see its all true…maybe if our district manager or human resources visited like more than once a year to talk to employees (ive never met either) things would change! Word of advise ask around in a store or observe the people there before signing your soul away to this slave pit!

  • anonymous bookseller

    My store is having technical problems with Bookmaster, and it really slows us down. So our manager calls the support services department, and they check our store’s computers from their end.

    Well, support services can’t see any problem from where they sit, so they declare that we don’t really have a problem, and they will be making no attempt to fix anything.

  • Rocky Mountain Bookseller

    @#248 – A B&N Employee Speaks: Thank you for telling it exactly as it is.

    I am a Bookseller at a Rocky Mountain Barnes & Noble (B&N) store. I wanted to work there because 1) I love books, 2) The employees were friendly and helpful (one even remembered my name and asked me about the book I had purchased, even though I’m sure she must have helped many, many customers in the month that had passed), & 3) I really want to share that love with other book-lovers. Yes, it is a job and I love money, but these other sentiments are what made me apply for the job in the first place. If they weren’t my key motivators, I could have tried at any number of workplaces for the same pay/number of hours.

    I am a university professor who now has to find a new job because my school is laying me off in a few months. The school is switching over to more online classes (read: more profit, less cost. Sadly, they’re operating just like every other corporation during this hard economic era). The manager at B&N is aware of my situation and is doing his best to give me as many hours as possible, but can’t do much because “corporate is only allotting a certain number of hours” to our store. He can barely give me a lot of hours, let alone all the other veteran employees. He has no choice but to be frugal with the hours and make do as much as possible. As #248 said, we really are doing the work that, before the economic downturn, 2-3 employees would have handled.

    So, for those complaining about cashwrap staff (cashiers) not helping them find a book: To make sure paying customers are getting through our cash register lines quickly and easily, we are told to direct customers who aren’t ready to purchase to customer service for assistance because 1) there’s usually only one or two of us at the cash register stations, and we’re not allowed to leave those stations unattended (for obvious reasons like preventing store theft, customers waiting in a line with no one to help them, and so on), 2) if we helped every customer asking for a book at the cash register, then we’re making paying customers who’ve already selected their books and are ready to purchase wait 5-10 minutes more for each customer we help (there are different sections/departments for a reason) & 3) the people who work in the customer service section have been working in the store longer; they know the store layout better and have more experience with what we do and don’t have in stock.

    I have been a customer of B&N for years, shopped at several stores in different states, and have never had the problems others have complained about. I love that B&N is such a comfortable place to go. I love that I can go to the store, sit down and read a book (in its entirety), put it back on the shelf and not get harassed for not buying it. Occasionally, an employee would ask me if I needed help, and when I said “No thank you”, they left me alone.

    I am amazed that I can special order a book and not get harassed when I change my mind! Some other stores give me a huge hassle for doing that or won’t order anything unless I give them a deposit or pay for the item before I order it.

    My sister and I often use the B&N restroom over a fast food or a mall one (which should be cleaner) because more often than not, their restroom is cleaner (go figure).

    I have had minimal problems with bn.com: I can upgrade my purchases of $25 or more to “Fast and Free” 2-3 day service and I’ve never had to wait more than that for the purchase. If I want to purchase something under $25, I just go to the store; it’s easier that way (even if I didn’t, the shipping is still pretty reasonable–sometimes the store will even waive shipping to my home so I don’t have to make an additional trip). My only real issue with bn.com is that the return policy requires you pay the shipping for the return or go to a brick-and-mortar store for return or exchange.

    I love love love the discounts (10% on almost everything, 40% on best selling hardbacks, plus 15-25% additional saving every two weeks or so). I got a “40% off any item” coupon the week after Black Friday! My membership has paid for itself every year; all the free memberships did was make me go out of my way for a savings that sometimes wouldn’t even compensate for the gas expenditure.

    As an employee, we are told to ask if a customer is going to use his/her membership, but I’ve never been required to push selling one after he/she says no (we don’t get commission for selling them, but a membership usually guarantees the customer will come back to shop with us first). I’ve only talked more about when they spend over $100 or they ask more about it, & my motivation is that I really do want to save them money (I’m a consumer too). I’ve been told by several supervisors to “read a customer’s body language” to gauge when to ask or promote anything, and not to be pushy when that language says “I’m not interested/I’m in a hurry.” In my experience, more customers pay full retail price for books than use the membership. This amazes me but I guess it makes sense if you aren’t a book-aholic like I am and don’t need the discount for the only book you’ve purchased all year.

    I honestly can’t say anything else that #248 hasn’t already stated. I haven’t worked for B&N long, but so far, everything #248 stated is correct. It’s a long post but it says everything that needed to be said about all the complaints here.

    Personally, I don’t really think it’s fair to compare Amazon.com to Barnes & Noble. Amazon doesn’t have any brick-and-mortar stores nor that store’s staff allot hours/cost for. They only have warehouse and website staff. Amazon also takes away that personal human touch. You won’t get a intelligent recommendation since all of Amazon’s based on your past purchases and generated by a computer program. You won’t get an chance to really browse a book and then return it to the shelf like at B&N; Amazon’s policy is if you “just don’t want the item” or “changed your mind”, you’ll have to pay to ship it back (sometimes you’ll have to pay a restocking fee). Amazon also sells more than just books or book-related items (or DVDs/CDs) and so they never have to worry if “people aren’t buying many books/DVDs/CDs this year”. Comparing the two businesses is like comparing Redbox or Netflicks to Hollywood Video, Hastings, Blockbuster Video or an independent video rental store. It’s not a fair comparison! It would be fairer to compare B&N to Border’s or some other national bookstore that has the same set-up as B&N does.

  • ignored customer

    Here’s an update on post 179.

    Many months ago, I submitted a friendly suggestion to the customer service area on the B&N web site. I got an automated response immediately, and it promised that I would hear from a human being promptly. After a year, however, that human being still hasn’t contacted me. B&N shouldn’t promise a personal response if it isn’t going to give one.

    A few days ago, I happened to be in a B&N store chatting with a store manager who was feeling rather candid. She/he revealed to me that to get anything changed around that company, an employee has to complain and gripe and bitch and moan and fight and harangue and argue, often to the point of putting her/his job at risk.

    From these two incidents, one might conclude that the upper-level management of B&N is dismissive of suggestions from both customers and employees. Perhaps the higher-ups are so arrogant to believe that they’ve got everything all figured out, and that customers and regular employees are just too stupid to have any good ideas. Or perhaps the higher-ups are merely interested in collecting their paychecks, and they really don’t care what anybody else thinks. A more charitable hypothesis is that B&N has ossified into an impenetrable bureaucracy.

    Such a problem, a chasm between high-level management and everybody else, often develops in large corporations. In many cases, the result is that the large corporation becomes a small corporation.

  • L Cohen

    I will now vow to no longer utilize B&N for any book sale or any other item. I’d rather donate my money to a better cause so not worth the trouble they gave me! Waiting for a package and dealing with Lasership & B&N c/s is a nightmare. Its amazing they find their way to work everyday finding and delivering a package is obviously not as easy as we all think!Thanks for ruining my holidays B&N. Thank goodness for Amazon!

  • GL

    stop complaining….

  • BN bookseller from PA

    sorry if some if you feel somehow bullied or unhappy by our behavior, but many many customers bully us and treat us like crap…we are not babysitters, maids, or whatever, its a two way street. respect us and we’ll respect you.

  • GJ2009

    We have had the worst experience from B&N online (not the stores) and when orders don’t arrive, late, etc., they send an automated message directing customers to check the info online because they are swamped! Unbelievable. They divided our orders into three shipments and the last one shipped arrived but they other two are no where to be seen. Because one late shipment is a text for a course due to start in a week, we now have to expedite from Amazon and pay more because we have no idea if the books will arrive – and we are unsure if the book is even available. Anyway, no more B&N online for us; back to Amazon for efficient and prompt service and shipping.

  • jenel

    for the people who think that borders is better than barnes and noble you’re full of sh*t! as an employee for the store for 5 years we give better customer service than most places. Borders employees are always in there own world talking to other employess. I’ve shopped in both stores my entire life so I know.
    I’m sick and tired of customers coming into the store expecting us to wait on them hand and foot and when we don’t move fast enough for you or don’t have your book or know everything about every single book ever created you treat us like we’re stupid and don’t deserve to breath the same air as you. You’re no better than us. I’ll gladly help anyone who needs it. It’s my job. Especially when they appreciate the help. But those who think we owe them something we don’t. I would love to come to your place of work and treat you the way you treat me and make your workplace or home look like the crap you make our store look like.

  • Bookseller

    First, to the angry customers.

    I agree with all the previous postees that you should be including the city and specific store in your comments. You’re taking one bad experience in a single store and plastering it on the entire company. You complain about BN’s greed but here’s a newsflash; of course they’re greedy, they’re a corporation. Their only goal is to turn a profit.

    In regards to all the people complaining about us “pushing” our memeber cards, it’s our job. We’re required to push the cards, because the company wants to sell cards. The managers push us all to sell cards because the more the store sells, the better they look. Not us, the hard working employees who have to chant the same mantra over and over to customers who are sick of hearing it. No, the store managers. And to make matters worse, corporate sends “secret shoppers” around to stores. They pose as customers and if you neglect to mention the member card, you get written up for it. Personally, I hate mentioning the cards. It’s extra time that I could be using to speed up transactions and make lines run smoother and quicker. But I can’t, because I never know if a customer is really a customer or not.

    As a bookseller, I don’t expect or demand any kind of conduct or behavior from customers aside from this: if your mom would have smacked you for it when you were a kid, don’t do it. And if your kids try to do it, smack them. Or at least stop them. There is no reason why I should have children urinating on bookshelves, and yes that has happened. Also, don’t ever tell us that Barne’s and Noble has lost a customer. We honestly don’t care. Best story: a woman comes into my store at around 5 o’clock. She grabs a book and sits in a chair for 5 hours until close. At the end of the night, when she replaces her book, she comes up to me and complains about how cold it is in the store. She complains about the air conditioning being on after sitting in it for 5 hours. This is Texas, and it’s an 85 degree December. People are walking around in shorts and sandles, yes the A/C is on. I tell her I’m sorry, but our thermostat is regulated by the mall, we can’t control it. This isn’t good enough for her, and she says Barne’s and Noble has lost a customer. I am unmoved. Point is, if you have a valid complaint, I’m sympathetic and I’ll listen. And if it’s in my power, I will help fix your problem. But the customer is always right only goes so far. If you’re one customer in a store full of hundreds, and especially if your complaint is something petty like “I’m cold,” I’m sorry but you lose.

    Secondly, to the employees. You entered a retail/customer service job. If you don’t know what that means, you should not be working there. I know it sucks. I do it too, at 12:30 AM on a Saturday shift straighting out the messes that customers have left, putting books back on shelf, pulling a stolen car stereo out of a toilet (also happened). But welcome to the real world. You’re not in school any more, where an authoritarian overlord of a teacher looks down her nose at everyone and makes sure they fall in line. I’ve been treated like crap by customers before, and I’ll be treated like crap again. But it’s whatever, I got bills to pay. And I would like to keep my job, so I’ll continue to be a decent employee.

    Randall Graves said it best: “This job would be great if it wasn’t for the f***ing customers.” But how many times have been somewhere and thoght “This store would be great if it wasn’t for the f***ing employees?” Think about it

    Wow, this ran long. Mea culpa

  • Britt_the_Buyer

    I agree Barnes and Noble DOES suck..especially if you are Canadian trying to buy books from their website. What a mistake ! It took over 3 weeks to get my books, and customer service never seems to pick up when I call the line, or answer emails. all i can say is NEVER again !

  • anonymous bookseller

    There’s a web site called engadget that’s running a survey to see what e-reader is the most popular.

    Barnes and Noble, on its internal web site, has instructed its employees to visit engadget and vote for the nook. Has B&N so little confidence in the virtues of its e-reader that the company must stuff ballot boxes?

    Most B&N employees are so poorly paid that they can’t afford to buy a nook, in part because there’s no employee discount on this item. How can a person authentically vote for a product that s/he has not used? Keep in mind that the demonstrator models in stores, which most employees have had a few minutes to tinker with, are not the same as the version sold to the public. Among other changes, the software has been altered to allow free downloading of books.

    And how many B&N employees have tested the comparable Kindle or Sony equipment, in order to form a well-based opinion of which is best?

  • WM

    I will no longer do business with Barnes and Noble. I ordered over the internet in January and was given a ship date for april. I called customer service and after being on hold for a long time, I received a rude representative who worked on the order and finally had it to ship immediatly. It turns out that it took two more phone calls, and long holds with rude reps at the end as well as a 4 day wait before the order finally shipped. I will no longer do business with them and will not recommend them to my students when they need to purchase books. They have lost my business

  • PW

    People, go to Borders to buy your books. Customer service and staff attitude is way better than B&N, but more importantly, they are struggling and need our business. Imagine a world in which B&N is the only place to buy a book. Scary.

  • Lord Erectus

    Unfortunately Barnes and Noble is no longer listening to it’s customers. I’d advise people if they are not happy write a letter to Mr. Riggio the CEO of B&N, make a copy for yourself, cut up your B&N membership card and mail it to him.

    The best option when dealing with a store that gives you poor customer service is to vote with your pocketbook. Don’t settle for poor customer service and/or excuses by employees. There is no reason for it. Don’t tolerate it. Don’t do anything passive-agressive, just leave the store, never come back then tell everyone you know the store just plain sucks. Word of mouth can destroy a business.

    There is absolutely NO justification for poor customer service. Whether the customer is wrong or right they should be treated with respect. They are the bread and butter of the company.

  • Noble Girl

    I agree with the one post about how most of you are crying about things and how we go above and beyond for you, Christmas for instance. Why would you wait til 2 days before to order a gift card and then cry and yell about not getting it. Ummm holiday delivery is alittle slow, wow amazing how you can go to your local grocery store and purchase one and be able to give that day. You people dont relize how NASTY and RUDE you are to us and we smile and deal with YOU! At least I do! But common get a life you get farther with treating people like they are human instead of some POS! B&N is a really good company, If you dont like it dont cry about it just go to freakin Amazon than, you threaten us with it anyway just GO!. There are many good customers that we have and we deal with! We dont need jerks!

  • likeucare

    Read Noblewoman’s comment. It’s the smartest and most accurate comment here. You got it down, Noblewoman. I have been a B&N employee for 10 and 1/2 years and have to say that we are very happy not to have the business of most of these people. However, we do have wonderful customers who would say the exact opposite about our customer service. Don’t freak out because you have to wait 30 seconds at customer service because the bookseller is helping another customer and then complain to the manager (me) that you stood there for 5 minutes. No you didn’t! And yes, I did just smirk at you because you’re a lying idiot! How long did you have to wait at Walmart the last time you were there? As for Borders…..well, enjoy it while it lasts.

  • likeucare

    I spent 30 minutes helping a customer who I knew within 2 minutes was not going to purchase anything. He had a list (a very long list) of books that he wanted me to look up for him just to see if they were still in print. I did it with a smile on my face and put a smile on his. He didn’t buy anything that day, but I’m pretty sure I know where he will go when he does decide to purchase books. As a matter of fact, he offered to buy me coffee from the cafe. I told him it wasn’t necessary, that it’s my job to help him. I am the Store Manager and can honestly say that any of my employees would have treated that customer in the same way. Try to find that at Amazon.com or Borders.

  • Donyale

    Barnes & Nobles thrives in this economic climate because it has closed or sold off most of, if not all, of it’s other divisons such as Doubleday,Charles Bank, INK, and B. Dalton Booksellers. An additional bonus to closing some of their older bookstores is that they got rid of some of the employees who have been with the company for more than 10 years. With these employees gone the company saves large chunks of money from salaries that have just gotten larger and larger as the years gone by. Now to be fair some of these long term employees are offered jobs at their local B&N. But, if you were not a B&N ass-kisser you were offered a job well below your skill level and was offered the pay to match. It does not matter to them how many years you were with your store, if you did not start out at B&N or transfer to B&N before your store closed, you are treated as less that pond scum.
    It’s true that the B&N laid off some of there higher ups in the company and stop their yearly fall meeting (5 days of meetings full of free food, free books, free high class entertainment, & $600 a night rooms)to save money. But getting rid of seasoned employees just to save a little money is just stupid when you think of the time & money you use training more and more to take the place of the one person who could do it all.
    Once this economic crisis is over I just hope that B&N is not staffed with employees who think “Disappearing Acts” is shelved in Performing Arts under Magic.

  • discouraged bookseller

    A B&N executive posted a piece on the company’s internal web site about giving customers “above and beyond” service.

    This executive needs to understand that going “above and beyond” takes time — when one customer gets extraordinary treatment, the next customer will have to wait longer to get service.

    In my store, we do the best we can, but there are so few employees that we must try merely to give every customer decent, but minimal, service. Otherwise, the line of in-store customers gets so long that people walk out in disgust; and folks on the phone grow tired of waiting and hang up.

    In order to make the time to give our customers somewhat adequate service, we have carved into our recovery and zoning hours so severely that in half the departments where the shelves are labeled “Alphabetical by Author”, the books are not sorted at all. (Many customers notice this, and they conclude that we don’t know the alphabet.) If a book makes it to the right bay, that’s about all we expect anymore. When books are misplaced, it takes longer to find them, and that itself slows service.

    A disappointing part of this job is that we are always having to look for ways to lower our standards in order to save time. Whether sales go up or sales go down, payroll hours get cut. I am serious about giving customers A-1 service, but this executive needs to do something to convince me that he is not merely spouting empty words: I need some support.

  • Hereticrick

    Wow…well…I’ve worked for BN for 5 years now at two different stores. While I’m prone to agree that BN.com sucks (but hey, they’re taking business away from the brick and mortar stores too so the hell with them), I can’t believe some of the stuff I’m hearing about the actual stores.

    In my district customer service is KING…well..ok…nook is king…but customer service is still a big deal – particularly in my store. We go out of our way to make customers (particularly members and teachers) happy. If some of these abhorrent stories are true and not complete exagerations than you need to complain. If you go to the manager and they don’t do anything, go to their District Manager. If he doesn’t do anything get the number for the Regional Manager. I guarantee you go high enough and someone will completely and utterly buckle to your whims (even if your whims are nuts).

    As to employees complaining that management sucks…I don’t think it’s really fair to make such a blanket statement. I mean, come on…you know that just because your store has a sucky SM (and the first one I worked at certainly did/does) doesn’t mean they all do (my current management team, particularly my SM, are AMAZINGLY AWESOME).

    Oh..and as to the membership program: yeah it’s not for everyone, but for a LOT of people it’s great. Customers should suck it up and not get angry just because the cashier HAS TO ASK THEM EVERY TIME they ring up. Chances are if you’re getting tired of hearing about it you might have bought enough things to consider buying a card next year. But we as employees don’t like having to push the card even more than you dont’ like having to hear about it. Just say ‘no thank you’ and move on. (and imo any credit card offered by ANY retail place is a scam and better off avoided.) I’m not a huge fan of the membership, but it’s not a bad thing overall.

    Oh, and all of the fulltime employees have their own recommends endcap to try to localize our store and increase hand-selling. In our city Barnes and Noble IS the local bookshop.

  • Hereticrick

    I should also add that if you had a problem with bn.com, don’t take it out on the brick-and-mortar stores. I hate bn.com as much as you do. They steal our customers, undercut our prices, and take money out of the LOCAL ECONOMY. Yet we as employees of these stores are expected to send customers to what is essentially our competition (particularly in my town where the ONLY bookstores around are two Barnes and Nobles – no Borders or other stores to compete with – just each other and .com).

    Also…I don’t care how outlandish your request is or how little you know of the book you’re looking for. That’s not the problem. I don’t mind customers not having the information, what I mind is the customer having a bad attitude about it. If YOU dont’ have the information, don’t get angry that I can’t manage to pull it out of my butt for you. Some of my favorite customers are the ones that come up with, “Well..this is a stupid request..and you probably can’t help me because I don’t have any information…but can you help me find [insert cryptic book description]” It’s super awesome when you CAN find the book despite their expectations, but it’s also nice that when I can’t create miracles for $9.75 an hour, the customer is at least understanding. I gave it a shot…come back/call back when you have more information.

    Same thing goes for complaints and weird return requests. You’d be surprised how far a nice attitude will get you with our strict return policy(though not really – a LOT of stores are adopting stricter return policies).

    Another note on that policy: it was a looong time coming. Three years ago a customer could EASILY rip us off because our return policy was so lenient. You could spend a month reading a book and still return it when you were done…hell…used to be you could pick a book off our shelf, walk up to cashwrap and claim you’d bought it, lost the receipt and wanted to return the book. You might not have gotten cash, but if no one saw you do it you’d at least get a store credit. LOTS of people abused this light policy, and so now it’s changed. We’re not a library.

  • TextBook Buyer

    The new membership rules are a crock. Now you can only get discounts in-store. What about those of us that buy textbooks? Are you going to start stocking all of those in the stores? I bought the membership, and for what? An 1 day increase in shipping? C’mon – I will just purchase my texts from Amazon. B&N.com, you just made a helluva big mistake.

  • Anonymous bookseller

    The management of my B&N store has decided that we employees are not using our 15-minute breaks efficiently enough. So now we are being pressured to practice using the nook during that time.

    Management’s reasoning is:

    1. Since we are on the clock, we ought to be doing something useful.

    2. By being in the break room and not on the sales floor, we are in fact getting a break. At least we get to sit down during this nook practice.

    3. Since many of us read books during our breaks anyway, we can just as well read them on the nook. (Of course, this limits our reading to those titles that are available as e-books, and that is a minority of all books.)

  • Anonymous bookseller

    Between the years 2000 and 2010, Barnes and Noble closed its remaining B. Dalton stores, generally as their leases ran out.

    Now I’m learning of B&N stores that are being closed as their leases expire. Has anyone heard of the company renewing any leases lately, or has B&N decided to abandon its bricks-and-mortar presence in favor of the web site?

    If that is the plan, B&N had better improve the visibility of http://www.bn.com immensely, as most of the customers I talk to at the B&N store where I work don’t even know that that the company has a web site. For buying books on the internet, the word that always comes out of customers’ mouths is “Amazon”.

  • Anonymous bookseller

    I could sell more nooks if I had a demonstrator model that worked right:

    1. It’s frustrating when I’m showing some nook feature to a customer, and suddenly the display jumps to a completely unrelated screen, or the nook shuts off entirely.

    2. My store has more than one demo model, and they are somehow linked. Rather often, I have attempted to download a book in front of a customer with no apparent result; this is embarrassing. Later I have discovered that the book showed up on one of the other nooks in our store.

    There’s little use calling the technical support folks; about all they ever do is instruct us to remove and re-insert the battery.

    Evidently the high-level B&N executives are satisfied with equipment with works fairly decently most of the time. (That would certainly explain how the many defects of Bookmaster are allowed to survive.) Maybe the higher-ups don’t know that a far higher standard is possible, and is in fact achieved by many companies in the electronics industry.

    It is really difficult for me to be an effective salesperson when I cannot have confidence in the product that I’m trying to sell.

  • Anonymous bookseller

    Maybe the most frustrating part of working at B&N is not being able to talk to co-workers about company business. Sometimes, important information really needs to be passed around, but routinely it doesn’t happen.

    I can try to start a discussion with another employee, but usually within 30 to 60 seconds a customer walks up or the phone rings, and that’s the end of the conversation. I’ll try to resume the conversation later, but most likely after two or three failed attempts I’ll just give up. The store is far too hectic for essential communication to take place, and as a result small problems turn into big problems.

    I’m likely to resign soon, after more than five years with the B&N, and the company will never know why. When I go into the manager’s office to announce that I’m leaving, I probably won’t get more than three minutes of his time before he has to go resolve some crisis. In fact, I may not even be able to get an answer on whether he wants two weeks’ notice, or whether he wants me to leave immediately.

  • Blah

    Barnes and Noble is the number one book seller. I have nothing to say bad about B&N or Amazon, What i want to say is that no mater what 50% of the public will bitch about it. Also these companys employee people just like you (with bad attitudes) and it is not their fault every company has them.

  • Blah blah

    I’ve had so many issues with BN.com
    ..items from my order being cancelled without any explanation whatsoever, and then one of th items is still charged on my card.
    2..I cancelled an order on the website, and they still shipped it to me..
    3. the customer service is dismal..they don’t answer my emails or auto reply it..and then I make an international call and get put on hold endlessly…
    Is anybody listening at all at BN?????

    Amazon is just so much better!!!!

  • Dismal

    Blah Blah I would have to agree with you. The customer service either doesnt answer and it says leave a message, then says mailbox full and disconnected me after an hour of waiting, then I get someone who transfers me to somebody else who says I can’t help you call this number, and just to get the same answer from them, they were rude, interupted frequently, would repeat back what I said wrong and when I told them they werent listening to me they would interupt me again, no one would give a name or extention and when I said I had called numerous times, they would say rudely well excuse me maam we have no record of that. so I told this particular gentleman that he was a rude pretentious asshole, who had no idea what he was talking about. I could not get anyone to care about what was happening and still have no resolution. Ive given up because it was just waste of time to even call. My boyfriend got me a nook for christmas and i love to read I got over 200 dollars worth of barnes and noble gift cards and the only reason why I bothered buying online was so that I could use my Nook. I have no problem going into the store, but that defeats the purpose of my expensive e-reader. So I am highly upset that I’ve had such a horrible experience. as far as the retail store goes, I have never had any problems, i live in columbus, ga and regularly hang out at the barnes and nobles here, I just wish my online experience was as wonderful as my in-store. I apologize about typos and/or grammatical errors, I am writing this in haste and out of frustration.

  • stuseattle

    Bought 2 copies of an in stock cd, as presents, with the Free Express Shipping option. Scheduled to ship on 1/20 and 1/21. 1/20 comes . . item not shipped; 1/21 comes, first item still not shipped, second item shipping date changed to 2/9! Emailed customer service . . . form letter said to call instead. Called and held for 28 minutes to be told that cd sales can’t be canceled. They confirmed they didn’t actually have this title in stock and that, even though the one that was past ship date still had the “cancel” button active, it couldn’t be canceled. Can’t cancel the one that’s not shipping for 3 weeks either. These were presents and I don’t want them anymore. Selling something you don’t actually have is called fraud! I don’t expect them to carry everything but, if they say they have it and will ship it, they should actually have it to ship.

  • CafeLead

    Wow. This is always a fun thread to read. I’ve been with the company for over 2 years now working in the cafe and I must say some of our customers are absolutely ridiculous. Just a large group of loiterers with nothing else to do in their life. Some prime examples.

    We have a gentleman who comes in every day and sits in the corner feet up on his laptop for 8-9 hours. The man will stay until we close then start to pack up and attempt conversation with the staff (mainly the females) until asked to leave. He buys one thing when he’s there his prized Latte! Something that for him is a 5 minute process to make because it has to be up to his exact specifications regardless of whether or not there are other customers because the customer is entitled. The man harrasses out employees and flirts relentlessly despite being in his late 40s.

    Another gem is a man who buys nothing at all. He comes in daily props himself in a chair, sometimes feet up and shoes off. Plugs his cell phone in and sleeps while it charges occasionally texting or talking on it. Also one of our regular things to do in the Cafe is sample out drinks/food to the customers browsing the shelves on the floor in hopes of encouraging them to come up to the Cafe and purchase something. This gentleman has come up to me multiple times complaining that he didn’t get one and demanding that we make another tray full of samples for the sole purpose of him getting 3 free ounces of coffee.

    And really as a whole the customers are messy beings, be it spilling coffee and food on the books, taking large stacks out without any intention of buying them, or taking the books, bookmarking them and hiding them in a shelf somewhere in the store so they can’t be put back so you can return the next day and continue sitting around and reading. Sorry people we’re not a library.

  • B&N Supporter

    Barnes & Noble treats its employees, members, and customers with respect & dignity, and offers quality cafe goods, food, drinks. Through teamwork and a warm hospitality for everyone. Not to mention the Nook Color is your best bet for an exceptional device, both in quality and cost.

  • B&N Supporter

    Through teamwork and a warm hospitality for everyone, Barnes & Noble brings a very unique quality that other companies lack. **

  • Risvani

    I have worked for B&N for 2 years. I am sorry to hear about the bad customer service some of you got, because that was never how I worked there.

    Some things I’d clear up though – People seem to think ‘bad customer service’ is a disease that B&N alone has… ALL stores have suffered from this. It isn’t necessarily a company issue but a human being issue. I am not going to say that B&N is in a ‘no fault’ situation – there are things that should be improved upon, but I could list a bunch of horror stories about Borders or Macy’s or Office Max, or any number of other stores.

    Also, customers aren’t a walk in the park either. People come in, take piles of magazines and books leave them all over, spill their coffee or drink on them, leave garbage on tables and chairs and walk away. People have left used diapers in the children department after changing their baby. Parents have let their children rip books and open toys, as well as let their kids slobber on stuffed animals and not bought them. As far as the comment about books not being ‘new’ when you buy them – yes, employees are allowed to borrow books, but if the book is damaged, it isn’t put back on the shelf. This is no different than the hundreds of people who come in, pick a book and read it then put it back. I won’t even get into magazines…

    The theft issue is something we don’t have control of. Due to company policy (which MANY retail stores share), employees are not allowed to confront someone stealing. We can follow them, make note of them, tell a manager, but we cannot confront them (for many reasons). How about this? How about instead of being made at the employees, how about being mad at the people who steal?

    What people don’t realize is that, the damage they do does more than harm the big bad company of B&N. There is only a certain percentage of loss a company will budget for, after that, the loss gets put in the books. Loss is damaged items and stolen goods. With the economy being what it is and the loss, the company then has to force stores to deal with their profits and loss…. This leads to employees getting their hours cut. Less employees means less people to clean up after customers, help them and do good customer service. When you are alone at the customer service desk and the phone is ringing, people are making a mess, there is a line of people in front of you and you still have a huge cart of books to put on the shelves… it can be hard to smile and be courteous.

    I could list a lot of horror stories from the employee end of this discussion regarding customer behavior, but I think I’ve rambled enough.

    The point was that, B&N isn’t just a big monster thing. Its made up of people. Those same people can be found in any other work place… they just happen to be here. I am really sorry for the bad experiences so many of you had – not because its B&N but because no one should be treated badly where ever they shop.

  • Mandy

    Poor guest service is something you generally find with the wrong atmosphere. The managers or leaders are the people in any business that set a positive or negative atmosphere. For example- I worked for Borders for 9 years and was promoted to manager. We were very guest focused. We met sale’s goals and were competative about it. I started working at Barnes and Noble a month ago after I found out that my store was liquidating. Well, the managers at this store are poor in quality and generally have a negative outlook. In turn, all of the employees think negatively and rebel against goals and exceptional service. They say that all customers are rude, when I think that it’s their perspective. The employees are looking for a battle. I even witnessed a manager argue with a guest. I couldn’t believe it!
    I’m currently looking for another place to work.

  • BANANA goes NUTS

    I thought working with this company would be a nice experience. After hearing those negative details about the people that I will be working with then everything change. I’ll be leaving this company asap.

  • Lynne

    Customer service in the cafe at the Johnson City TN store is horrible. A pleasant ritual I once enjoyed on Fridays was shopping for a book on the way home from work, then buying a sandwich from the cafe on my way out. They can’t seem to understand that I don’t want my sandwich heated because I’m going to eat it at home. Several times, they have ripped the sandwich from its wrapper and started to heat it. When I say again, loudly, that I don’t want it heated, they dump the sandwich into a paper bag and present it to me, minus the wrapper. At that point I would ask for a fresh sandwich, earning a glare from the employee. I had the bag slammed on the counter once after this occurred. What is it about a simple request, please don’t heat the sandwich, that they can’t understand? I complained to several managers, got an apology and a promise to talk to the employee, but the next week it would be the same thing. I finally stopped shopping there altogether.

  • Penny Lane Crull

    I ordered a Nook online for my daughter’s birthday on a Monday to ship 3 day select. Her Birthday was on Thursday, so that should work. I received an email on Monday saying that the order had shipped out. On Friday, I still had not received it (after her birthday), so I clicked on the tracking information. It said the label was printed and that was it, so I called ups and they stated they never received the package for shipping. This is bad enough, but what happened when I tried to call customer service was even worse. I waited on hold 10 minutes, a nice man came on and asked me all of my information and then told me that it shipped, i said it didn’t , he transferred me to someone else. I told this man the whole story – which took 12 minutes and then he said he couldn’t help me and had to transfer me, then I was disconnected. I then called back and waited on hold 10 minutes, was disconnected without ever talking to anyone. Called back AGAIN, on hold for 7 minutes and finally talked to a man who told me it shipped – i said “it didn’t” please give me a refund.

    As a consequence of this : My daughter did not receive her gift on her birthday, even though I ordered special shipping so that I would have it on time. I lost 1 hour of time from work. I became frustrated and upset. I now have to drive an hour away on a Friday evening before a holiday weekend and will have to deal with traffic (make that 2 hours away!) to purchase one today so that I can give my daughter her gift a day late. It looks to my daughter like I did not value her birthday enough to make sure I got her gift on time.

    They deleted my negative fb comment a few minutes after I posted it, but they can’t delete everything! B&N please pay attention! You have some AMAZING products and employees. Why Why Why Why mess it up with horrid customer service and policies?

  • LOVE my job…

    Gripe, gripe, gripe. I have worked for Barnes & Noble for 2 years now, and must say… I am 35, have worked since I was 14, and this is the ABSOLUTE BEST company I have ever worked for. What makes my job miserable, the customers. Sure I have numerous customers who make my day and bring a smile to my face. Almost all of the regular customers I know by name, and they are a pleasure to deal with. The rest, well I can’t stand them. They come in, tear the store apart, ruin books, leave their kids in the children’s department alone while they kick off their shoes in the cafe and read, stay for hours upon hours only to leave a mess, and are extremely rude when we announce it is time to close and they have to leave. Most of them think we are there to simply serve their every desire.

    I did not choose to be a babysitter for your children, I did not choose to be a maid to clean up your messes, I did not choose to be a college graduate who gets talked to as though I haven’t even finished grade school. Everyone I work with is a college graduate, some who even have law degrees, yet we are the morons.

    It seems to me that most of you customers want/expect us to be a servant, not intelligent employees. I am kind to every customer who walks through the doors. Even the jerks who treat me with absolute and extreme rudeness.

    Before you judge a company, or the employees, take a look at what kind of customer you are. I am betting you are one of the ones who wants something for nothing, and expects everything right now. Maybe you should judge yourself, and your actions first. This would probably make EVERYONE’s experience a WHOLE lot better.

  • Bookseller

    I am an awesome employee, well at least I try….i like most of the people i work with…thats always the case. They customers are kind of awful, there are always a few who are cool but mostly they are rude, lazy, selfish and stupid. Maybe they think the same of me but when i find a book just thrown on the ground because she couldn’t move her arm the extra 2 ft. Then when i ask them to please be careful they say something along the lines of “Your getting paid to do it!” Just lovely. they need to work in retail for a day.

    Now as for the company, they seem nice. but its passive aggressive. like i said most of the people i work with are cool but my manager is a nightmare. it is awful because i am tense when i work with her and my numbers show it. i’m not new, but the second she is around i cant even function correctly.

    an example: today, my schedule was screwed up, as mine seems to be daily, and so i was talking to a fellow employee, something we had done before but we never spend more than a minute doing it and its only because we are confused. then this manager comes up and says its the second time she seen this today (second time she had come up in 6 hours even though i had called her for the 3 hour gap i had found in my schedule) she then ripped the schedule out of my hands crumpled it and yelled (less or a yell, more of a raised voice with a passive aggressive smile). she wouldnt listen to our reasoning and everything we said only hurt us further. she did this in front of customers (VERY UNPROFESSIONAL!!) and then the scheduling problem (i could have fixed if i had 15 seconds more with my coworker) had me waiting an extra hour and 15 for a break–which was cut short– and i left an eight hour shift a half an hour late. so shes a bitch. (i needed to rant a bit i m sorry)

    i would call “we listen” but there is reprimand. a former coworker quit because she called the “we listen” on the same manager and felt disrespected, ignored and was just slowly taken off the schedule. so barnes and noble doesnt listen and neither does my manager. i would really care she called me out if she would listen to the explanation, but she doesnt. she is disrespectful and passive agressive, not good qualities for a manager.

  • Christy

    This thread really borders on the ridiculous. The problems that you guys are facing cannot be solely blamed on the company. Like any retail chain, the majority of the issues rest with the people who manage the store. If you are having a legitimate customer service issue and do not feel like the store management is handling it appropriately, you need to complain to corporate. I worked retail for years & my husband still does (at Barnes & Noble, I might add). If you’re an employee who thinks you’re being persecuted, chances are good that YOU are not the stellar employee that you think you are. If you are a customer who thinks that all B&N employees are rude, chances are good that YOU are probably not the delight you think you are. And if, by some small chance, you really are as wonderful as you think, then complain where it will do some good – not on some silly website.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Well said, Doc – and kudos to you.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    ???

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    The comment Glenn refers to has been deleted (as was my response to it) as it was deemed an unsubstantiated allegation, which is a violation of the comments policy.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Perhaps because Barnes & Nobles is a substantial advertiser?

  • http://cinemasentries.com/ El Bicho

    “it was deemed an unsubstantiated allegation, which is a violation of the comments policy.”

    If that’s the standard, someone might want to go back through the Politics threads

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well said. But since when our allegations are substantiated?

    Allegation are unsubstantiated by definition. And by the time they become substantiated, they’re no longer just allegations.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Roger, if you think the comment was removed at the behest of Barnes and Noble, you might want to scroll up to the top of the page, stare at it for a few seconds, and then think again.

    And are we really going to have another grumble about the comments policy? I posted comment 294 as an explanation to RJ, nothing more.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Was just kidding, Dreadful. Obviously not since the entire article is critical to begin with. Yes. I was aware all along of the title.

    Moreover, quibbling about comments policy was the furthest thing from my mind. It looks, however, as though you, not I, who have opened the Pandora’s box. I was just playing along. But it seems to me you could have responded to RJ’s puzzlement, more diplomatically, shall I say?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    In any case, sorry to be making much out of nothing. There hasn’t been much action lately on BC, so I guess I was itching for an-honest-to-goodness interchange.

    Bespeaks to my miserable condition, I suppose. Didn’t mean to drag you in, although misery loves company.

    Now that I’ve had my fill for the day, I bid you adieu.

  • SirGeorgesPianoBroke

    Reading a lot of these I observe a lot of irrational judgements and customers or employees who would rather paint everything black and white as opposed to addressing problems individually. Aside from corporate, people have to realize the sociological factor that lies here. The customers and possibly employees you get depends a lot on where the store itself is located. Sorry if I’m spurring controversy here but some of these stores that have the employees living nightmares: what’s the average age group, educational levels, income bracket, crime rate, possible average IQ of the area you’re in? Sorry to say but a ton of these factors are strongly correlated to the way people act, and there are countless statistics to support this.

    I myself have been a bookseller at B&N in Deer Park here in Illinois, and I’ve also worked as a “Genius” at an Apple store and at Geek Squad; albeit all were in high school which was several years ago. I’ve pretty much noticed the same trends among the costumers, it’s not as if B&N has a magnet for attracting sucky people. If your B&N is in the ghetto, then yes you will probably have people wanking and homeless people stumbling in.

    One thing I must point out though (and there have even been articles in BusinessWeek and Fortune about this) is that B&N lacks corporate dynamic. They might be a Fortune 500, but only because unions ruined Borders (highlight this benefit leeches of B&N) and Amazon is never going to establish itself in retail, allowing B&N to monopolize bookstores. Nothing wrong with this, but there is when corporate lacks the need to seek improvement whether it be from industry experts or simple suggestions from booksellers themselves then there’s a problem. It’s almost as if B&N is sailing on smooth seas because the storm happened to miss the ship, but not because the ship is strong. A company which focuses on quarterly profits over long term ones and lacks dynamic in improving store communication, technology in store and with shipping, not to mention management order in a lot of stores seems like a company which got lucky when Borders sank and no other competition kept B&N from taking the retail market in bookselling. Oh well, that’s my two cents.

  • SirGeorgesPianoBroke

    On a second note, if anyone from the Deer Park B&N is reading this: if you keep minimizing your science, educational, history, philosophy, and classic lit sections to bring in more toys and action figures (because you already have so many that you have to put those stupid action figures from that zombie movie or harry potter on each damn bookshelf end in the store) then your warp and implode for managing to inverse the damn definition of a BOOKstore and breaking the universe. There will be a black hole in the place of the store where all the morons who used to come and harass me about missing pieces to the one of thousands of board games we would sell can jump in. That is all :-D

  • Suchaya

    Wow! Even 6-8 years later Barnes and Noble still can’t get it right?!
    I am livid!
    I currently reside in Australia, yes, I understand it is international and far away from the USA but I’ve never experienced such SLOW delivery and poor customer service from any other online provider in the USA.
    I have been waiting over a month for a simple Journal.
    Firstly, the first customer service email gave me an incorrect ETA date.
    The second email practically just cut and copied the same standard answer which I had received before (and I did follow the advice previously) – then they continued to be sarcastic about their “assistance” and threw the blame on Customs and the local postal service in my country – which I had already called (as advised the first time), and they stated that they wouldn’t be interested in with-holding a simple Journal, which is not a high risk or suspicious item.
    I’m still waiting for my Journal to arrive…

  • Toitanya

    I work at a Barnes & Noble in AZ. We have a manager who does not even speak to his employees. It makes for a hostile work environment.

  • anon

    Just finished my job as seasonal help at my local B&N. We were given only the most basic training. I figured out a lot of things on my own as I went along.

    While the seasonal employees worked there, the regular employees (who know their jobs quite well)had their hours cut drastically so the company didn’t have to pay their higher wages. Of course, the seasonals, who don’t know the job well at all, were left to find and order books, run the cash registers, fix drinks in the cafe, clean the restrooms and reshelve the books as best as we could. Which most of the time was disastrous.

    Treating your employees this badly is the same as treating your customers badly. Shopping there during the holidays is not a smart thing to do. I won’t be a B&N employee or customer ever again.