Friday, March 26, 2010

It Was Already Bad... But Now This?

Hello all, I've been busy as a beaver of late and haven't been updating. I guess anyone whose bothered to see how I post can see that I have no schedule at all. But I post when I can.

I've read a few books of late, I made it through all the Rama books. On a lark I tried Bright Messengers by Gentry Lee... Uh, I don't have much good to say about that one so I'll leave it alone.

I also read Eon by Greg Bear. I think that one was a semi-classic of hard sci-fi but for whatever reason I never really made an effort to read it. Well, now it's done. I'm sorta torn over it though. I honestly feel like I have no idea what happened during that book. It was hellaciously complicated - to the point I'd nearly call it confused, but I'll forgo that moniker for now- and I think I'm glad I'm done with it.

Too bad, the giant macguffin in the sky is one of my favorite premises for a book. But unfortunately it quickly descended into a mess of 34th century politics and physics lessons on multi-dimensional transit systems. Oh well.

The real point of news for me in the past month or so is that I visited my local Border's again. I know, after that rant I went on about them previously, you'd think I would never go there again. But the fact of the matter is that I visit them regularly. The family seems to enjoy the place and all I can do is moan and complain about them as I continue to purchase from their crappy selection of items.

I was there bemoaning their overall lack of anything good science fictional when I thought I was spotting something odd regarding their sci fi/fantasy selection.

Sigh. See all those empty spots? I've got a brilliant idea: Why don't you put books there? I wondered around the section and found rack after rack of partially emptied shelves on nearly every rack they had in their sci fi area. If their idea of a great money saving gesture is to cut their inventory down to zero I think they've mis-interpreted how running a book store should work. Maybe they expect me to just come in and buy coffee and go buy one of their million copies of Twilight. I just don't get it.

I know it may seem I am overreacting a bit, and I concede that I could be. After all, perhaps they were about to revamp their selection. They could have heard my complaints and decided to clean up their act and fill their shelves with a more varied selection of books. But this happened on a Saturday night, most likely one of their busiest shopping times of the week, and I saw no evidence of replacement books waiting in the wings. No workers were scurrying about and attempting to restock these shelves.

However, I wasn't there for me, the kids had earned their rewards for some good deeds and we were there to buy them a book. They made their selections and I went to the register. Now, for the past few years I don't think I've gone to Borders and not had a coupon that had been previously emailed to me good for 20 to 40 percent off. I know that they are offering me a discount from their already everyday low prices to to lure me in and they don't actually owe me one... but after a few years of this I have sort of come to expect it. It is the reason that 80% of the time I'm out I'm shopping there instead of B&N. I would actually prefer to shop there, but their membership costs me money.

So when I walk up to the counter I kindly mention to the teller that I didn't get my coupon for this week. She informed me that one didn't go out. I shook my head incredulously and said, "I don't think that has happened to me in 2 years!".

At that point I don't know what I expected her reaction to be, but standing there with $50 dollars in books with no coupons means I'm paying 10 to 20 dollars more than I might have had to otherwise (Multiple books means my wife uses her membership to get the same discount). Did my cashier nod sympathetically and shrug? No. Did she offer any sort of contrite action to try to make me feel any less frustrated? No. She decided to confront me on the accuracy of my statement.

"That isn't correct sir," she said, "we had a week a few months ago when we didn't offer any in store coupons."

Geez, I feel better already.

I wasn't going to disappoint the kids, who were very excited to be getting the books, so I nodded, saying something witty, like "touche" and pulling out my wallet.

She did ask if I wanted a bag. "No," I said, "won't be needing it."

She nodded and ran my card, only after handing me my receipt did she say anything else, "I'm sorry, did you say you wanted a bag?"

"No, won't need it" I said again. Trying my best to be polite and just get out of there.

She smiled and shoved my books in a bag and handed it to me. "Have a nice night," she said, holding the bag at arm's length for me to take.

I was flat out dumbfounded. I'm sure the other folks in line would have thought me the idiot for just standing there not taking my bag, but I was just stunned at the passive aggressive attitude I was getting from that nutty cashier. What the hell is going on?

That crazy bitch lady gave me a bag... and I didn't want one. I half expected her to cuss me for destroying the environment by not refusing the bag she offered.

All in all, Border's has increasingly become a place I don't like going and I no longer go there when the choice is mine to make. Well, that location is no longer my first choice anyways. Anyhow, I'm happy that the ugly incident is over now. Maybe an e-reader is the way to go after all. I wanted to wait until another gen or two hit the market before getting one, but who knows. Maybe the iPad will be an acceptable choice. I'll just have to see.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tinker Time

Just an FYI to all the faithful out there (including me there should be at least one). I think I'm gonna play with the layout some. So beware of ugly and/or disastrous changes.

And beware of evil computers.