An eerie air of fiendish shopping and mourning characterized the mood inside the Upper Kirby location of Borders on Friday, marking the beginning of the company's liquidation process. On Monday, Borders announced it planned to close all 399 of its remaining stores.
Yet the anticipation of massive sales today was met with disappointment when customers found many items reduced by only 10- to 20-percent.
"You know, I could probably find new or nearly new books on Amazon for probably the same cost," customer Justin Sunseri said while scanning sports volumes. "I'm probably holding out for another week or two before I make major purchases."
"I think most of us here are done with the book thing."
Lauren Lawhon traveled to the Upper Kirby district from The Woodlands to shop at Whole Foods when she noticed the sale across West Alabama Street. "I expected a little bit better deals," she admitted while clinging to a few choice CDs. She emphasized her remorse over the chain's closure. "I'm very worried about the future of music and books," she said. "It's very, very sad."
Added Sunseri, "Big bookstore have become obsolete because of the cheaper books I can have delivered to my house. But I feel sad for the people who work here and have lost their jobs."
Indeed, over 10,700 employees at Borders stores will be losing their positions in the weeks ahead. Employees at the Kirby location were not permitted to speak on the record, but one by the name of Chris said that he is slated for a second interview for a managerial position at Barnes & Noble. "I think most of us here are done with the book thing," he said.
"I know what I'm going to do. I'm going to go for something a little more stable," said Audra, a cashier.
As for coupon and gift certificate-wielding customers, Audra suggested that offers be cashed in "as soon as possible." Gift certificates will be valid throughout the liquidation process, but "Borders Bucks" or Borders Plus Cards (with their additional 10-percent discount) will "not be valid for much longer."
Liquidation is expected to cease at an as-yet unannounced date in September. Oddly, the stores will still receive their planned shipments of holiday merchandise. Christmas in July has never felt so un-merry.