Barnes and Noble Blackout

So the Hubs and I went to Fort Wayne yesterday. I wanted to go through Hobby Lobby for some craft supplies and figured we'd eat in town while we were there. FW is an hour away, so we tend to make the most of it while we're there.

After Hobby Lobby and a nice meal at Olive Garden, we were heading past the mall to head home when I spied Barnes and Noble. Now I've only ever been to B&N online; I honestly didn't know they even had "real" stores. This one had to be fairly new because I know it wasn't always there at the mall. I'm not into mall hopping anyway...just not my thing. But since we were right there and in no hurry to get home, I asked the Hubs to pull in so we could browse.

Now I don't know about you, but I love book stores, and I avoid them most of the time for that very reason. I could easily spend hundreds of dollars in there in very short order. It's kind of like how guys are in hardware stores or anyplace that carries tools. If I see some I want, I have to buy them. I just love books! But since I seldom actually have the hundreds of dollars to spend in there (and on this day it was certainly no different), I just don't go in book stores too often. But since I'd never been into an actual B&N, I figured this would at least be worth the effort.

After scouring the parking lot for a parking space--which is never an easy task at that mall so it's something I do not attempt too often--and then squeezing our car into one of the undersized mall parking spaces, we headed to the doors of B&N. We got to the entryway, which had several people kind of milling about in it, and noticed it looked kind of dark in the store. As we tried to make our way past the people, a store employee stopped to inform us:

"I'm sorry, but we've had a power outage and we are not letting customers inside the store. We do, however, have staff members on hand who will gladly browse for books for you and..."

OK, I stopped her right there. While in my mind I'm thinking nothing more than WTH?!, I just shrugged her off, said "no thanks" and headed back out the door from whence I entered.

I mean, are they kidding me? They are going to browse for books for me? How does that work exactly? Were they gonna send an employee into the dark belly of the store, have her randomly grab books, hold them up and holler back at me with, "How about this one?" And then I would, in turn, yell back, "Maybe, could you read me a couple of pages to see if I like it?" Um, yeah, I don't think so.

Book shopping, except for the occasions when you're only in a book store to buy one specific book, is a very personal experience. It's not something someone else can do for you, and I'd think B&N staff would kind of know this. Why else do book stores have chairs and coffee shops in them? Perhaps because people are going to spend a bit of time in there...reading?

Apparently, the store had been without power since a thunderstorm passed through FW earlier that morning. And from what I could gather from other folks who had been talking to the B&N employees before our arrival, the employees had been standing at the doors all day telling every customer who showed up the same things they told us. We heard another customer say, "that's a long time to be standing in the doorway." Uh, ya think?

So my question is this, Barnes & Noble: why on earth didn't you just put a sign on the front door that explained about the power outage, thereby preventing people from going through the hassle of trying to find an undersized parking space in a crowded mall parking lot and making the trek from their car to your front door, only to find out that they could not even go inside?!

Hmm. Maybe they were just afraid that people wouldn't want to read their sign...because, um, you know, people that go to book stores...don't like to read.