Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Borders clearance sale: Everything must go

Posted at 3:13 PM ET, 02/22/2011
By Elizabeth Flock
Read it at the Washington Post 

After the news that Borders filed for bankruptcy last week, bibliophiles across the nation mourned its departure while the sarcastic asked who didn't see this coming.

Borders stores in the Washington region prepared to close, putting up garish red and yellow signs that read:"STORE CLOSING", "EVERYTHING ON SALE" and "EVERYTHING MUST GO" as their wares went on deep discount.

At the 18th and K St. NW store location, which stretches an entire city block, the sales drew a hungry crowd. At lunch hour, the line stretched the entire length of the store. One customer remarked "Oh my god are they giving this [expletive] away?!" And another: "This is worse than a book signing."

The deals at this Borders are a bookworm's dream. All new books, bargain books and regular books are 20 percent off. (So are DVDs.) I picked up the newish novel "Brief Wondrous Life Of Oscar Wao" for just $12. The travel bookshelves look ransacked. Magazines are a cool 40 percent off. Calendars are going for just a dollar.

The whole scene was sad, of course. The Borders cafe in which customers so often sat and lovingly opened the first pages of their new purchases over a cup of coffee now has chairs stacked upon tables, for good. Moleskin notebooks lay hanging off the racks in disarray. The employees told me they had nowhere to go from here--they'd all been let go. And the signs that papered the walls screamed its store's unhappy fate.

But in some ways, looking at the line that stretched from 18th to 17th streets inside the store, two women talking about how much they loved a certain Dr. Seuss novel, a man holding a three-foot-high stack of "Mystery Science Theater", it gave me hope, too.

Everything must go, but at least for many of the books, they are finding another home.

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