Barnes and Noble still doesn’t get it…

October 16, 2007

While footnoted.org is focused on the things that companies bury in their routine SEC filings, every now and then it seems worth taking a short detour to talk about a personal experience with one of the companies that happens to file and my experience on Saturday night at a local Barnes & Noble (BKS) seems worth sharing.

Yesterday, I flew to San Francisco and in preparation for the trip, I went looking for a good book to read during the flight. On Friday, I had read two book reviews — one in the Times and the other in the WSJ about the new Charles Schulz biography. So on Saturday night, I went to my local Barnes & Noble to buy the book.

When I didn’t see it on the shelves, I went to the customer service kiosk to ask for help. I couldn’t remember the author’s name or the exact title, but I knew enough to find it on Google (GOOG) or Amazon (AMZN). And there was the fact that there had been two reviews in two major newspapers just the day before. But after searching for 15 minutes, the woman declared that the book was not findable and that I should just go home, look in the WSJ or NY Times, write down the information and then come back to the store, which seemed like a giant waste of time. Didn’t she have access to the Internet, I asked? No, because otherwise store employees might abuse it. And while it’s true that many employees probably waste time online, it seems strange that some techy at Barnes & Noble wouldn’t be able to figure out a way to limit access to certain relevant sites, like book reviews in the Times and WSJ and limit the access to PerezHilton, among others.

So I left the store and ordered it on Amazon. And while I didn’t have the book for the plane ride, there was a less than zero chance that I was going to dig up the information online and then trudge back to the store to make the purchase.

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