21 July 2011


AnnArbor.com, 18 July 2011: Borders Group, Inc. plans to liquidate, marking the culmination of a years-long decline for the nation’s second largest bookstore chain, which had fallen into disrepair four decades after it opened its first store in downtown Ann Arbor. The liquidation, which Borders announced shortly after 4:10 p.m., means that the 10,700 people who still work for Borders — including about 400 at its Ann Arbor headquarters — will lose their jobs. The Ann Arbor-based chain’s 399 remaining stores will be closed quickly, with liquidation sales starting as soon as Friday

No surprise. And no mystery as to Borders demise. I worked at Borders Corporate for eleven and a half years, and watched its disintegration close-up. Borders fatal mistake was to be caught flat-footed at the beginning of the e-commerce era. The Higher-Ups on the third floor at 100 Phoenix Drive in Ann Arbor sneered at Amazon.com, only reluctantly building an inferior, penny-ante internet site, all the while continuing a remarkably dumb strategic plan of building twenty-to-forty new Superstores a year, most of them in awful locations with terrible leases. Once Borders thick-headed management finally realized online sales were the future of book retailing, they didn’t have the capital necessary to play internet catch-up, as the red ink flowed from dead weight stores and fruitless remodels. The once-haughty Borders executive team was forced to sign a humiliating chump change partnership deal with Amazon, and the once-proud book store chain began its fifteen year slide to the dustbin of AmerICKan retail history.

[Borders would get caught similarly flat-footed at the dawn of the e-book era, but by then its shortsightedness didn’t matter, the chain was already on life support, waiting for its creditors to pull the plug.]

Borders might have been able to survive for another ten-to-twenty years had the executives admitted defeat on e-commerce and e-books, and recommitted to SELLING BOOKS. . .there is a huge aging population in AmerICKa that actually enjoys browsing through bookstores, and had Borders targeted them, they could have forestalled the chain’s extinction, but one idiotic CEO after another tried to paper over Borders colossal e-commerce mistake with retarded retail gimmicks--all at the expense of BOOKS. . .book inventory shrunk year by year, with the floor space devoted to faggot British stationary, wind-up toys, snack racks and an embarrassing collection of electronic gizmos, meant to suggest to Borders was *cutting edge,* but in reality only signaled Borders’ cluelessness (for example, precious retail floor space was wasted on an asinine cd burning station where Borders’ executives thought customers would line-up to burn their own music cds--apparently the Borders’ brain trust had never heard of a little thing called the iPod). Had Borders been content to remain a BOOK STORE, and not stupidly cut book inventory in favor of garbage its core customers had no interest in, I truly believe it could have survived for at least another decade. . .and maybe by then, it could have found a CEO who would actually be ahead of whatever the next retail curve turns out to be.

The sorry lot of Borders CEOs, VPs and Directors were the dumbest, most self-deluded people I’ve ever met. Here are a few of my *favorites:*

Greg J. They hired this dumb pollack from some Chicago grocery store chain. Apparently he convinced the Board of Directors he could save the company by running book stores the same way he ran grocery stores. This dumb pollack brought over the same grocery store inventory system and tried to apply it to books. *Category Management,* he called it. He single-handedly forever ruined Borders book inventory system by insisting, despite steadily declining sales, he could sell Dostoevsky the same way he sold frozen peas in Chicago. What a dumb fucking pollack. The company wasted untold millions over the years trying, never successfully, to repair the damage done by Greg J.’s dumb pollack inventory system.

The Nameless One. His name is never recorded in any of the numerous articles that have been written documenting Borders’ decline and fall over the last fifteen years. That’s because Borders has carefully concealed his stunningly brief reign as CEO. Lured away from a Big New York Publishing House, the Nameless One spent most of his few weeks as Borders Boss by roaming the halls of the corporate office looking for free food, and leering at the pretty, young female admins. When the creepy-looking creep was caught on a parking lot security camera *violating company policy,* the Board of Directors decided it would be wiser to offer the Nameless One millions in stock options to quietly walk away than to turn the matter over to law enforcement officials. The Board of Directors made many decisions which were more harmful to the company, but none were more morally reprehensible.

George J. A plump runt who was shit-canned by Saks, but he somehow conned the Board of Directors into thinking a former tenure at Warner Bros. Stores was sufficient for him to lead a turnaround at Borders. George’s bright idea to save Borders was to sign a bunch of celebrities to write books exclusive for Borders!! What if Madonna or Jennifer Anniston wrote a novel that was only available at Borders!! Woo-hoo!! George spent most of his time in Los Angeles shamelessly star-sniffing, but all that ever came of it was this ridiculous offering, now, ironically, only available from peddlers of used books on Amazon.com. George J., however, was “blown away” by this *book,* proving you should never hire an illiterate to run a book store. George’s All-Hands meetings were an unintentional laugh riot, tawdry Hollywood choreographed abominations in which he was forever proclaiming he was working on several partnership deals that would transform Borders into the Number One Media Retailer of the future. He could never divulge any particulars of the details of these partnerships, they were always just a couple of months away from being finalized, he didn’t want to jeopardize the delicate negotiations, but he assured us we would be “blown away” once he could make the announcements official. Needless to say, nothing ever came of groupie George’s daydreams.

Ken A. George J. brought Ken along with him from the Saks unemployment line. Let’s put it this way: if George J. was Billy Martin, then Ken A. was Art Fowler. Ken spent most of his time at Borders in the third floor men’s room, relieving himself of the previous night’s libations. Bulbous red-nosed Ken was a real life Willy Loman. . .it was a painful experience to watch this broken figure struggle through his brief moments during George’s absurd All-Hands meetings.

Steve D. The quintessential yes man. This paunchy sycophant never met a new CEO’s plan he didn’t believe in “one hundred percent.” He never had an idea of his own, but he lasted as a VP or President (and made a shitload of money) for over a decade by being the consummate corporate mediocrity, always bumbling along and farting Somewhere Over The Rainbow.

Ron M. Prick. Zero personality. Zero people skills. He was the vampire who sucked the last blood from Borders, then ran off in the middle of the night to A&P (!?!?). He left behind a human turd named Skip C., a pencil neck midget who was forever boasting of his miniscule accomplishments at. . .Joanne Fabrics (!?!?!?).

This marked the end of my time at Borders, and what has gone on in the past few months, under the default CEO, Mike Edwards, I have no idea, other than it must have been pretty gruesome. . .Borders hospice.

I liked working at Borders. As stupid and offensive as the executives were, the regular Joes who worked there were a decent bunch, and I never had to labor more than three hours out of an eight hour day--which was true for almost everybody at Corporate, its bloated staff being one more sign of incompetent management.

Those soft, EZ corporate office jobs are fast disappearing in AmerICKa, and I doubt most of those who have worked at Borders will ever have it so good again. I know I haven’t. Now I have to work for a living, and it sucks.

O God, why did Borders just have to be a little bit stupider than Barnes & Noble???

Anyway, may God in particular bless the following ex-Borders employees:

Joe G. Mike S. Jerry R. Suzane the cafeteria cashier. Jessica U. (who with her skimpy wardrobe single-handedly forced Borders to change their dress policy). Nicole C. And

Jersey Shore Jill L.

06 July 2011

Family Night

The double shift. Every Saturday night. Come in at 3 pm Saturday, leave 7 am Sunday. Sixteen straight hours of After COPS. You watch COPS, and at the end of every segment you see the officers driving off in the squad car, with the reprobate in the back seat. Where do they go after the camera is switched off? County jail. And that’s me. Baby-sitting the unkempt and the unwashed through the long Saturday night and Sunday morning.

I’ve worked all days and all shifts at the jail for a year, now. The Saturday double is the gauntlet. Hour after hour assaulted by the liquor fumes, body odor and sewer stinking feet of the newly arrested wretches. Ear-aching hour after ear-aching hour of listening to their retarded self-justifications and dumb protests of innocence, their insane babble, their wearying pleas and juvenile schemes for extra phone calls, sack lunches or jail jackets, all accompanied by the blare of the televisions.

I call the Saturday double *Family Night.* A slow trickle starts at 5 pm, and the floodgates open at 8 pm. Domestic Violence. Domestic Violence. Domestic Violence. Domestic Violence, one rolling in every twenty minutes until the early hours of Sunday morning.

*Families* spending time together on Saturday. . .

By dinner they’re at each other’s throat.

Central announces each arrival:

“Ann Arbor in the sally port, one new male arrest.”

“Ypsilanti in the sally port, one new male arrest.”

“County in the sally port, one new male arrest.”

“Pittsfield in the sally port, one new female arrest.”

“Northfield in the sally port, one new hillbilly arrest.”

Then, just to break the monotony:

“Ypsilanti in the sally port, three new male arrests.”

Home Invasion by three juvenile delinquents dumber than Home Alone’s Daniel Stern and Joe Pesci.

And sprinkle in a few OWIs, a couple traffic bench warrants, a possession of dangerous drugs, maybe a felonious assault, a criminal sexual conduct, and every now and then, a murder. That’s Saturday night.

But Domestic Violence is definitely the Saturday house specialty. . .even more so now the hot weather is here. And particularly for the POOR and the DIRTY. And the FAT. Pricking at each other all day, husband against wife, wife against husband, parents against children, children against parents. . .even the grandparents get into it. Snarling at each other all day long, baiting each other all day long. . .mixed with alcohol, of course, until one or more of them invariably loses control and then the brawl begins.

The blazing sun is the enemy of domestic harmony. The burning rays fry the nerves of the poor, the dirty and the fat. Their brains cooked until derangement sets in. The cops go in and pick these human weeds. The tares arrive at the jail in various states of undress. Stinking, sweating, sunburned, rolls of fat spilling from their soiled, stained, ill-fitting rags.

Human offal.

Human waste.

Human dross.

Human chaff.

Stumbling, slurring litter.

All ages. From the seventeen year old boy who threw a bowl of chocolate pudding at his mother, then taunted her by holding a mirror in front of her, telling her how stupid she looked, and then breaking the mirror over her head, to the seventy-four year old geezer who battered his seventy-two year old wife with her walker.

All day Saturday, families warring.

POOR families.

Maybe families with money tear themselves apart, too. Maybe they just have enough wealth to live far enough away from their neighbors. Out of earshot. The poor live stacked on top of each other, and the neighbors report the mayhem. Or maybe the poor are just conditioned to have the police referee their dysfunctional lives. . .whatever the reason, it’s always the POOR, dirty and fat, who are brought in on domestic violence.

The high*light* last Saturday was Brianna--five foot, four inches and three hundred and sixty pounds. At least, three sixty is what she was willing to admit to. Stringy, greasy, shit-colored hair hanging to her shoulders, sweating buckets in worn pink Wal-Mart stretch pants and a stained, soiled tent-sized originally white, now gray t-shirt. She got into a scrap with her daughter, and according to the county deputy who brought her in, ending up biting her on the right breast.

Domestic Violence.

That’s all it’s ever been since Cain and Abel.

It’s in our blood.

I look at these people. Us. I watch them every Saturday night. I listen to them. The truth eventually slips out. One of the questions I have to ask is:

Have there currently been a few weeks when you felt useless or sinful?

The NEVER feel sinful. That concept has been lost. They laugh at the idea of sin.

But it is amazing how many of them admit to feeling useless.

Broken people, not at peace with themselves, and, therefore, unable to be at peace with others.

It could be said:

These are the people Jesus loves.


In His incarnation, Jesus never laid eyes on a three hundred and sixty pounder. He would have been disgusted by the sloth, the gluttony, the degeneracy of appearance and conduct.

But Jesus came to preach the gospel to the poor and the broken in spirit.

But these people are poor only by AmerICKan standards. Compared to most, they are well-off.

And are they broken in spirit? They have the gospel all around them. AmerICKa is choked with churches and so-called *Christian* Media. The gospel lays all around them like junk mail on the kitchen table or the coupon flyers in the Sunday paper--ignored. This human corruption takes no notice of the Lord Jesus Christ.

For fifteen hours and fifty minutes every Saturday night I say:

Burn this garbage in Hell.

But in the last ten minutes, as I’m about to be free of them, I have a deathbed conversion. They are, after all, only a mirror. So I say to myself, judge them according to your measure. No match for the world, the flesh and the Devil. We get our ass kicked all day long. This stumbling, slurring litter is my blood.

7 am every Sunday morning I find comfort in Psalms 103:

The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will He keep His anger for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. . .Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear Him. For he knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust.

This is my comfort. The comfort of those that fear the Lord. As for the others, those who feel useless, I leave them sitting in darkness, waiting:

Behold My servant, whom I uphold; Mine elect, in whom My soul delighteth; I have put My spirit upon Him: and will keep Thee, and give Thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.