Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Let's start the New Year off with a rant...

I didn't think I'd start the New Year off with a rant, but I guess you really can't predict these things...

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.


  1. Well, since Borders is sliding toward bankruptcy... I think I'd pass on the card entirely.

  2. I changed my mind about upgrading my Borders card too. I wanted to upgrade for the free shipping, but the few times I've ordered from their website have been so frustrating. They really need to upgrade their site to handle more traffic, but after a year they still haven't done so. I'm sticking with B&N!

  3. hear hear, gotta break up when things get to rough, lol

  4. See it's weird for me because I was a hard core Barnes and Noble girl before I moved to DC but since I've moved it's almost like Borders is winning! It's hard for me to say it but while the customer service isn't that great they usually have the books I want when I want them, and as you said Patti they have all those great coupons.

    I don't do a lot of online shopping (instant gratification gets me every time) but I've come to the conclusion that it really depends on where you live. B&N has the better atmosphere and a better layout, but here in DC Borders is winning my business more often. Still it's incredibly annoying that they wouldn't let you use your giftcard!

  5. I'm the other way around. B&N hasn't been good to me in a LONG time but Borders has been awesome. I had $15 in Borders bucks I didn't even know about so I ended up paying $.98 for 2 books.

    Stephanie G
    Paranormal Haven

  6. After reading this, I'm actually glad that we really only have one choice for a bookstore up here (unless you find an independent store somewhere.) You see, no matter what the chain store is called, they all owned by the same company and the cards and reward things are good for all of them. It just makes life a little easier.
    Nice article Patti!

  7. I have the opposite experience. The Borders by me (NYC) is excellent. The romance section is huge and new releases are always on time. Staff is very friendly. Plus, as Patti mentioned, the weekly coupons (30-50% off) are amazing.

    I find B&N pricey and coupons are rare.

    You should send your post to Borders HQ, maybe that location is just poorly managed.

  8. Sorry to hear about that. Borders is in financial trouble, but I do hope they pull through. I experience some of your woes with Borders as well, but I can usually go to my next one nearby and have no problems at all.

    I guess it's just hit and miss with some people and their preference for Barnes and Noble vs Borders. I've always preferred Borders though, probably because of their rewards program, better coupons and Borders Bucks. And I do find I get my money's worth. I did the plus rewards membership in the store and paid with cash to do it more on a trial basis since they are having financial troubles thought it was safer.

    But I still understand why you're ticked off with the auto renewal, I had a similar problem with a completely different company and it took awhile for them to understand I want to cancel the membership and even when I called someone the first time, they didn't really understand English too well because it was never canceled and I was still infuriated! But the matter was solved eventually.

    Sorry for your woes Patti!

  9. I'm so with you on the rant! I hate when they automatically want your CC info so you can auto-renew...for our own convenience. I don't want to, dammit! lol

    My Borders used to be so good about getting new releases in romance out on time - if not early. Now I can never find what I'm looking for. Their "new" releases are usually out 1-2 weeks after the actual release date. Ah well...that's why I shop more at B & N.

  10. We don't have a Borders here. We used to have a Waldenbooks,which was bought by Borders and then went out of business, but we do have a B&N. I've let my B&N card lapse because I just seem to buy everything online and from different store now.

    I do understand your aggravation though. You shouldn't have to set it to auto-renew if you don't want it, and Chris is right. Borders probably won't be around much longer.

  11. I don't have ANY bookstore near me, so I have to buy from WalMart or order from Amazon.

  12. Chris: Thanks for the articles - I didn't know that O.O

    Diana: Oh yes, I'm all about the free shipping!! Sorry to hear you're frustrated too.

    Blodeuedd: Breaking up is hard to do, lol :)

    Dana: I love the Borders here (it used to be a funeral home) but get soooo frustrated they just don't seem to stock what I want!

    Stephanie: $.98 for two books? That is pretty awesome!!

    Julie: That would be nice to be able to use the cards at whichever store had what you wanted!

    Scorpio: That's my only complaint with B&N - those coupons are rare.

    Jessica: There is only one Borders that is convenient for me - the other one is across town in a different parish (county) and parking sucks :(

    Tracy: Even though it's only $20, I feel like it's my $20, not theirs!!

    Eyre: I use my B&N a lot, and also my used bookstore - they're pretty good.

    Estella: Oh no - I would hate that!!!

  13. It's all part of the evil plan to cut out the entire face to face contact in my opinion....

    I get it over here in the UK with banks, supermarkert etc - everything and anything to reduce the customer actually talking to A PERSON is being forced on us...

    I am surprise at Borders though - with their international finacial woes- you would thing they would at least make customers experience better to get people into the stores and spending money...

    Borders in the UK is no more....

    Happy shopping somewhere else hon..


  14. Has anyone tried using the Borders coupons at B&N? It works at Petco/Petsmart!

  15. also of note, they offer 10$ borders reward bucks when you buy the membership, but they're only good for ONE WEEK. i cant figure out how to not have it auto-renew. borders are scumbags.