Arrive at local BNob at opening time this morning. We’re the first in the store. Yes, they are open for business. Do they know it? No.
Can’t get to the section of magazines I want because a huge, heavy restocking cart is in the way, no employee in sight. Have spousal unit move cart. Look at magazines, move on to next aisle. Later hear angry voice grumbling that “someone moved the cart.”
Go to Science Fiction section, which is noticeably smaller than it was a few weeks ago - books slipping into rift in time/space continuum, or just not showing a profit? Again blocked by another stocking cart. Ask employee to move cart. “Is there something you are looking for specifically?” she asks in insectoid robotic voice. “Yes, we’d like to look at the books,” I respond.
Suddenly finding it more and more difficult to concentrate because of loud vacuum cleaner sound. Yes, I’ve come all this way to listen to a vacuum cleaner, my least-favorite type of music, second only to the voices of whiny children. Ruminative book ramble interrupted, go to front of store where it might be quieter.
Realize I can hear the overhead music, and I like it. A mix of Zydeco-Reggae with a bit too much pop, but still. Ask Spousal to go to music section and see what it is, buy it. He returns with Sad Face. “The girl doesn’t know what it is,” he says. “Could be one of five CDs, she doesn’t know which one.” Ask that person over there, I suggest. The person over there says “I could help you, but I can’t because I’m supposed to be in this section of the store now. If you find the woman with the red hair and a bandanna, she will know.” This has turned into a detective novel. We give up.
Same girl at the checkout, 20 seconds later. “Did you find what you were looking for?” she asks. Supreme example of bad programming in this droid model! “No,” I say. “Remember us? No one could find us that CD.” “Oh, sorry about that,” she replies brightly and gaily. “You missed a sale,” I say. “That’s unfortunate,” she says, grinning.
We leave disgruntled. We will never, ever again feel sorry for Barnes and Noble when they do their “We try and try but we can’t compete with Amazon” dance. Slowly and surely, they are driving us away. And we can’t be the only ones.