The sorrowful scene at a closeout sale at an LA suburban Borders had the 22,000-square-foot space draped with those tragic yellow and red signs proclaiming, “Everything goes!” “Everything on sale!” and “Up to 90% off!” With but a few days left before the once mighty book chain is gone forever, the crowds of bargain hunters who had lined up a few weeks ago have dwindled to a few hearty stragglers, hunting for one last bargain among the tumbleweeds and debris.
After declaring bankruptcy in February, Borders has cleared out their warehouses, dragging out piles of Glenn Beck’s ‘Christmas Sweater’ and odd boxes of stocking filler like cat stuff and Dilbert calendars, marking down everything 25% – 40%. With roughly 3% of their stock left now, the fiction, young adult, mystery, etc. sections are empty, there are no multiple copies of anything in the store, including the “For Dummys” books. Even the furniture and most of the fixtures are gone. Everything is more or less gone, with one glaring and woeful exception.
“America By Heart” and “Decision Points” lay in stacks around the store, invisible piles that NOBODY stops to look at, begging the question, would Borders have gone bankrupt if they hadn’t bought truckloads of this shit? Maybe if Borders had had Ms. Palin autograph these copies…..then…. they would be at 99%.
The shelves are categorized according to discount, 60% off for the most desirable books, 90% off for the crap literally nobody wants. It’s a rock solid indicator of what actually sells once the Conservative Book Club isn’t there throwing off the curve (I thought 90% off seemed pretty steep even for a Palin book until I checked Amazon Marketplace: asking price of $0.01 (like new)), there can be no refudiating this deal. They’re literally not worth the paper they’re printed on.
Then there’s the shit on the shelves (these are the “oh fine just take it’ shelves. Really. At the La Cienega Borders, they put the “oh fine just take it” shelf literally outside the entry door, in the parking lot. You could shoplift one of those and they probably wouldn’t send someone out to chase you). Even when their obsolescence is undisputed, the GOPer’s strange tomes linger like craven ghosts on the dusty shelves. Long forgottens like George W Bush, Sarah Palin, Bobby Jindal and Glenn Beck still desperately cling to life amid the devastation of the Borders Closeout. It’s nice to see so many of our favorites doing so well in the free market they love so much. Makes you wonder how publishers stay in business!
Let’s look at the numbers: the undisputed winners were Ms. Palin’s “America by Heart” at a count of 77 (thanks, good humored and soon to unemployed so nothing left to lose book seller), and George W. Bush’s ‘Decision Points’ at 62 (ironically, “My Pet Goat” is more expensive now than “Decision Points”). In fact, I saw all of W’s memoirs still fighting for space on a shelf. Also not moving an inch were Palin’s classic “Going Rogue” (19 copies), and Ann Coulter’s titillating titles: Godless (20), “Treason” (13), and “Slander” (8), despite the beckoning of the black cocktail dress. There was a baker’s dozen of Glenn Beck’s oversized ‘Broke’ and exactly 11 copies of “Leadership in Crisis” by Bobby Jindal. Bringing up the rear were Don Rumsfeld’s “Known and Unknown” (8), with Rick Santorum’s “It Takes a Family” and Laura Ingraham’s heinous “Obama Diaries” tied at 4 copies a piece. A single copy of Rick Perry’s, “FedUp!” sat alone, and hiding in the barren “teen” section, Bristol Palin’s horrible book lined two shelves of an otherwise empty wall unit. I have a fondness for shelf shuffling (shielding the innocent book shopper from the faces of the infidels), but there was nothing to use as cover!
As the final days draw near for Borders, it looks like they’ll actually have to pay their cleaning folks to toss this crap out. Even at 90% off, it’s a little too pricy for toilet paper. And honestly, W and Caribou Barbie’s faces are the last things I’d want near my ass. Maybe if you’re looking for a good deal on kitty litter box liners or something to level your water heater… let’s cut the crap. Burn them. I don’t usually advocate burning books, but it’s going to be a long, cold winter for Americans, what with the recession and the wrath of global warming, and, well because even if given away no one out of prison would read these…. couldn’t we, shouldn’t we, as liberals, consider shipping the “books” to senior citizens in the Northern and New England States, to toss in their pot belly stoves during the coming winter of their discontent? Start with a coupla Jindals as tinder and Ann Coulter screeds as kindling, arrange in the shape of a tepee, light the centre. As the tepee burns, the primary, outside logs (“Decision Points”, “America by Heart”), fall inward, feeding the fire and producing a concentrated heat source that can warm an entire ranch home. With the added benefit of purification through fire, etc.
As I left Borders, I overheard a depressed, 10 or 11 year old boy say to his mom: “all the good stuff is gone.”