Consider this to be your FAIR WARNING: I’m a grump when I’m tired or when I’m frustrated by something stupid that’s out of my control but affects me negatively…and today I’m both.
I’ve been sitting at the hospital for the last four days with my father (who is close to turning 95) as he undergoes another series of tests to find out why he is suddenly feeling so weak and generally awful. He was carried to the ER by ambulance at four a.m. on Thursday morning and we still don’t have any answers although I’ve told doctors and nurses at least three times that he probably has bronchitis again. I’m starting to believe that the doctors want to do all the other tests first because they are just now starting to “confirm” that he probably has bronchitis, after all. Strange how that worked out…and it only took four days in which his condition slowly worsened.
So that takes care of the tired part (and a good bit of the frustration part). Now for the rest of the frustration part:
I took a break this morning to grab a quick sandwich outside the hospital and to make a run over to the Barnes & Noble store nearby because I needed a new book to help keep my mind occupied. I walked around the store for about ten minutes before it struck me that something about the store layout was very different from what I’ve grown used to over a number of years shopping there. And then, I figured it out. All of the shelves in each of the different sections of the store that had been dedicated to “New Books” in each of the various genres were just gone. I was so disoriented that I actually walked the entire store to see if this plague of stupidity had struck the whole place – it had.
I wandered back up to the front of the store where I cornered one of the booksellers and asked what in the world the store manager was thinking because now readers like me had no easy way to distinguish new books from each section’s back-catalogue. She said, “Oh, we are just trying to keep our customers happy. Corporate required us to do this because customers kept requesting it.” So now I’m thinking (but not saying out loud), “Are you really that stupid? What idiot in the corporate office came up with this crap…and if you can identify him, his butt needs to be fired today, Sunday or not.”
So now, according to this clerk, if you go inside a Barnes & Noble store (sadly, pretty much the lone surviving big box book store in this country nowadays) and want to know what’s new in fiction, or mysteries, or science fiction, or biography…too damn bad. Just look at every book in the alphabetically-filed section and you might figure it out…or maybe you want. THEY DON’T CARE.
So Barnes & Noble, in another example of how incompetent its management is, has turned its brick and mortar stores into the same mess that online book shopping is: if you don’t already know now that a particular title exists, you are not very likely to stumble upon it in the store or on the store website.
I’m done ranting now. See, I told you I was grumpy. I always get that way when someone reminds me that you just “can’t fix stupid” people. They will forever remain stupid, something that Barnes and Noble management reminds me of over and over again. How long this chain survives is anyone’s guess, but I’ve just shortened my own guess by a few years.