Sunday, February 12, 2012

On the Fence

I had my job interview that I was excited about and had been waiting for almost a year to get. It went well, they asked when I could start, but “First we have to have a background check.”

Okay no problem, I say. I fill out the information and now I wait. And while I’ve been waiting and had more time to think about the interview, I’m starting to wonder if this bookstore is really a place I want to work. 
During the interview, I wasn’t asked about books. I was however asked if I knew my alphabet?! Are you kidding me? I just told the manager that I am a writer. During the interview, the manager’s focus was their club card and was I willing to sell it? I would have to sell a certain percentage of cards or possibly risk losing my job. Oh and by the way, you’ll need to sell magazine subscriptions too.

When did the focus of a bookstore leave books behind? Why the huge push for magazine subscriptions and club cards, you know the managers didn’t have an answer. Why not push books and excellent customer service. Why not hire people who love books and want to talk to the customers about books. I’m all for pushin’ books, but, not so much the club card or magazines. I certainly don’t go to the bookstore because I have a club card; I go because I want books. Until a few years ago, I went because I knew the bookstore employees loved books the way I did and would ask the right questions and have a short list right off the tops of their heads for books I might enjoy. The customer service was exceptional. Then it all changed the stores felt they had to compete with the likes of Amazon but to what end. A bricks and mortar store can’t compete with price, but can beat them with knowledge and customer service so why not push your service, knowledge and books. As a consumer, I would love to save money, but I also put a premium on customer service. I will pay more for excellence. 

Now that I’ve had time to think about everything, I am on the fence as to whether I want to spend my weekends hawking club cards and magazines, when the whole reason I applied was to be a bookseller and serve customers.

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