I don't shop at Borders very often, mostly because my local Borders bookstore does a piss-poor job of stocking Romance books on their release date (I don't know about other genres so I can't say if it's just Romance or all New Releases). It's gotten to the point where I don't just run out to the store, I call ahead and see if it's in, then listen as they tell me it should be on it's way and will hopefully arrive sometime this week. By the time it's in, I've already gone to Barnes & Noble and purchased the book, read the book, possibly reviewed the book, and traded it in to my local used bookstore for someone else to enjoy.
I have a Barnes & Noble "rewards" card (or whatever it's called) and definitely get my money's worth out of it (and, at our B&N you can also use it at the Starbucks). I wasn't going to buy the upgraded Borders "rewards" card (not the free one but the $20/year one), but someone gave me a gift card for Christmas, so I decided I'd use it to try out the upgrade and see if I'd use it enough to buy it again. So, I shop for books online, add the Borders Rewards Plus to my cart, and go to check out.
Here's what Borders tells me:
"Please Note: Because you have selected to auto-renew your Borders Rewards Plus membership, you will need to pay for this order with your credit card. This will allow us to bill your credit card at renewal time."
What?!? I tried several different times and got the same message... First of all, I'm not auto-renewing, I'm purchasing this for the first time. Secondly, I don't want you to auto-renew my membership at renewal time. I don't want to have to think about when renewal is coming up and go through the hassle of canceling if I'm not happy enough to continue - Barnes & Noble tells me at the register when my card is about to expire and asks if I'd like to renew. I might feel differently if you were a bit more diligent about getting new releases in on their release date.
So, Borders, while your coupons are fabulous and the Borders Bucks thing is pretty good (although I don't shop there enough to rack them up very quickly), they're pointless if the books I want are not in stock. I'll admit to a need for instant gratification and I don't want to wait for the order to come by mail; I enjoy the bookstore experience. I refuse to buy a membership that I have to go through hoops to cancel. I'll use my gift card because, hey - free books! - but I think it's time to break up with you.