I didn’t think I would need to write a farewell to my former employer, Borders Group Inc. But I somehow feel compelled to.
I was never much of a Borders shopper, having only been in one store once before I was hired at the Corporate Office in 1999. And it if hadn’t been for a college field trip gone awry, I wouldn’t have ever heard of Borders at all. (Ya, that is one of my pet peeves throughout the years. Borders just assumed everyone had heard of them. If you didn’t have a Borders store in your town, then you really never knew they existed. Seriously.) I only became a Borders shopper because I got an employee discount, which made me buy a ton of books I have never read because, wait for it, I AM NOT A READER. If I find a series (hello, Fearless & Twilight) or a single book that I really like, I will read it. But I grew up on television, and that is really my chosen medium of entertainment.
So, that finds this post as mostly a farewell to the Borders Corporate Office (and yes, I still call it that–screw you Store Support Center:P). I liked that it was a place where you could come in as late as you wanted, as long as you were there by 9am, and leave as early as you wanted, as long as it was after 4pm. I loved that they let people with unnatural hair colors wander the hallways as if they were no different at all. I liked that we had diversity activities where we made necklaces & bracelets of all different colored beads. One year we made mosaic drink coasters. I still have mine. I will hold on to them as souvenirs of my time at Borders. It is very sad that no company now has the extra time or money for such morale-boosting employee participation events.
I will miss the musical performers who used to stop by. In better times, we would have many of these a year, and most of them open to the full company. I met Jason Mraz twice. I saw Joss Stone perform. Met Ricky Scaggs and Rosanne Cash. I saw Cheap Trick perform in the cafeteria (not a very glamorous locale). I was in the lunch line in the cafeteria behind Phantom Planet…about 2 years before their song was probably used as the theme for one of my favorite TV shows, The O.C. I got to meet (& hug) NEW KID ON THE BLOCK Joey McIntyre! I saw Loretta Lynn getting off her tour bus and walking inside in her pink ruffled dress. I saw Robin Thicke perform–which as I figure it, gets me three degrees away from Matthew Perry! (Swoon) I walked past the conference room where Kevin Bacon was performing with The Bacon Brothers (would that get me one degree from Kevin Bacon?)
It was more than just musicians too. Suzy Orman came in & talked to us about one of her new books. I sat in the back of the room–she has a very bold, loud, scary personality! On one of my daily walks outside, I passed an old guy in a very expensive suit–only to realize it was Lee Iacocoa.
I worked at Borders when 9/11 happened. They came and said that we could go home if we felt uncomfortable staying. I went home just because I wanted a day off, but I got paid for it, which was really awesome. Borders lost a store at the World Trade Center site. It was store 142, I think in tower 12. Everyone got out, which is great. Borders turned a giant area of cubes at the corporate office into a giant conference room and named it conference room 142, in honor of the lost store. Too bad that should have been a sign to all of us that we had less employees every year if we could sacrifice that many cubicles for a conference room.
I do want to forget the girl in the cafeteria who always miscounted my change and thought I was a lesbian. And all the times I was reorganized into a new department or boss or position. And all the hours of my short little life sucked up by my terribly long commute. But I do not want to forget all the wonderful friends I made while I worked there. I hope to stay in touch with many of them as we find new wonderful, better-paying jobs (positive thinking people!).
Now that it’s all over, I *so* wished that I had gone to more in-office concerts. I saw Joss Stone, Cheap Trick, They Might Be Giants, the Bacon Brothers, and a few others, but I know I’m going to regret not going to every single one in the years to come…
I hated the fact that Borders never advertised, too! I think there was one holiday season that we did it. They kept telling us that it wasn’t cost-effective. Well, you see how that turned out. And wouldn’t it have been cool to be the only national bookstore that had commercials?