Look, Barnes & Noble: it’s not me, it’s you.
We’ve had a normal relationship, I suppose. When I first started going to Barnes & Noble, I was young. Every moment we spent together was thrilling, and I couldn’t wait to go back. Barnes & Noble, you made me feel special, and our future seemed promising. You had so many (!) books, and you even let me stay and read if I wanted to. I thought it was love, but it was really just infatuation. Of course, not every relationship is meant to be. Over time, things between us have grown stale. We’re off-again-on-again, because I just can’t seem to break things off completely. I keep going back hoping that Barnes & Noble will be fun and exciting like it used to be. Things were so cozy between us. Every time I go back, though, you keep reminding me why I shouldn’t. We really just need to cut things off completely, but it’s hard. We have so many nice memories, you know?
This is what happens, every time:
1. I decide to treat myself by buying a book I want now, instead of buying it online for cheaper, and having to wait for it to arrive. I go to Barnes & Noble. It probably won’t be full price. Sometimes I see signs that say things are 20-30% off, or something. Anyway, who charges full price for books? Even the grocery store doesn’t.
2. Ughh. It’s full price. (Everything is.) Do I really want to pay $30 for something that costs $17—including shipping—online?
3. Uh, uh, IMPULSIVE INDULGENCE: I guess so! After all, I’m already here. I thought it would be a difference of like, $4, but hey, it will be fun to have it now.
4. Approach cashier.
Cashier: “Are you a member of our program?”
Me: (friendly) “Nope!”
Cashier: “Do you want to join [and pay 3 times as much as you should really be paying for your one book you’re buying today]?”
Me: (slightly irritated because they’re asking me to spend even more) “No thanks.”
Cashier: “Okay, your total is $x. A member would have saved $5.”
Me: (groan) (not in a mean voice, just disappointed) “And if I would have bought it online, I would have saved $15. I was just trying to treat myself, but I probably shouldn’t have. It really isn’t a very good idea to shop here, is it? Oh well. I guess I’ll try to still enjoy my book anyway. ”
Every time I buy something you taunt me by telling me how much I could have saved. Do you think that will make me want to join your program? It doesn’t. It reminds me that I’m an idiot for not being patient enough to just buy it online.
If I’m consciously choosing to pay more than I should, don’t rub it in! For goodness sakes, make me feel like I’m a princess while I’m in your store. Every single person in your store is choosing to indulge. We don’t need you. Nobody needs you anymore. Don’t you see? You’re not selling books like you used to, you’re selling a service now. The service is immediacy, and indulgence. That’s why you started your nook. It gives people something immediately (!), and brings it to them, instead of making them come to you (an indulgence). That business model is successful because it makes people happy. (And doesn't require printing anything.) Think about that for a minute, would you?
For now, I think it’s time that we take a break. All of our nice experiences are in the past, you know, and it’s just time for us to move on. We haven’t enjoyed each other for a while.
Don’t worry about me. I’m sure I’ll be okay. I already have my eye on someone new, you know. Amazon and I have been spending a lot of time together, and we’re really happy. For one thing, he makes me feel special. He thanks me for our time together, and he doesn’t use me like you do. Just upgrading my shipping option will work better for me, I think.
So long, Barnes & Noble. Thanks for the memories.
[Sorry the formatting is messed up. That sometimes happens when I copy/paste from Word. Oh well.]