Friday, October 14, 2011

Sticking It To The Man

Today I received an e-mail from William Lynch, the CEO of Barnes and Noble.  In addition to making some grammatical errors—which, as a teacher, I thought I ought to correct—he asked me for my business.  It seems that B & N has just acquired the Borders Books customer lists in some high level bankruptcy proceeding.  I don't know why he's so keen on seeking new customers.  Given the virtual monopoly the two booksellers had on brick and mortar outlets, Borders customers have almost nowhere else to go.  Here is my response to Mr. Lynch.

Hello Mr. William Lynch:

          Please check your grammar (below).  "Close proximity" is redundant, since the two words are synonymous.  Also, the error in "Our intent in buying the Borders customer list is simply to try and earn your business" should have been detected by your editors and changed to "Our intent in buying the Borders customer list is simply to try to earn your business."
          I am a 4th grade teacher.  As such, it pains me to discover that someone was able to reach CEO status of a major corporation with lackluster writing skills or without the means to afford a good editor.
          My wife and I are long time educators.  We used to make professional and personal purchases at Barnes and Noble in large part because of B & N's teacher discounts.   However, we stopped shopping at B & N ever since the clerks began interrogating us about whether or not the books we were buying were "for the classroom."  Let me get this straight.  You lure us to your store with what seem to be thoughtful and conscientious discounts, then question our purchases.  Shame on you.
          It doesn't matter if the books we're buying are for the classroom.  The point of giving teacher discounts should be at least two-fold:  1) to help poorly paid teachers purchase books that their salaries would normally prohibit them from purchasing, and 2) to enhance the intellect of teachers so they can in turn enhance the intellects of their students.  
          Because of this apparent policy to interrogate teachers, we have urged many of our colleagues to stop shopping at B & N and patronize our three local bookstores instead.  So far, many have.  These booksellers are happy to have teachers buy whatever they believe will make them better teachers or their students better students. 
          If, in the future, B & N decides to treat teachers as the professionals they are, perhaps my wife and I will do business with your company again.

No comments: