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An Echo of My Post about Schuler

From Charlotte Higgins’s piece in The Guardian about shopping in her local Borders:

Walk in and you are bombarded with the visual cacophony of three-for-two offers, TV chefs and Parky’s biography. Of course they have a wide selection of books, but the place is such a jungle – Aldi is surely more of a pleasure to visit, and I don’t say much there – that locating what you want is a nightmare, and as for an enjoyable browse, forget it.

I headed upstairs and tried to find the CDs. A staff member, appealed to, said, candidly, “Our music selection is terrible.” No go, then. I tried for the book, edging my way towards the relevant section, where the shelves were full of misshelved volumes and a mess. It wasn’t there. I talked to the staff member again (who gets full points for being pleasant). He found the book on the computer, where it registered as “in stock”, but he couldn’t locate it on the shelves. He told me that the system did not necessarily reflect reality. Bookplates – well, forget it. The assisant I spoke to didn’t know what the word meant.

She contrasts this with the store she used to shop at:

Then there was, close to work, another indy, called Metropolitan Books. Phil Griffiths, the fantastic owner, didn’t always have what I wanted, but he was a delight to chat to and knew precisely what he was talking about. Even if you had to wait a couple of days for an order to come in, you’d always leave Met Books feeling like your day had become rather better, not worse. Phil closed down earlier this year – a black day.

Which leaves me with no independent local book shops and wondering how capitalism has not winnowed out such obviously unsatisfactory stores as Waterstone’s and Borders.



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