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Comments for Open letter to Barnes & Noble

Excerpt: Barnes & Noble screwed up by sending a marketing email to people who told them they didn’t want to get email, made it difficult to change email preferences, and then ignored their mistake. Read the whole article…

Adam Kalsey
November 6, 2002 6:01 PM

I received a response from Barnes & Noble. You can read it and my thoughts at

Ruth V.
October 31, 2004 7:39 PM

Concerning your comments about Barnes & Noble: I just clicked on their site to save 40% on Political Books. Of all the Political Books offered at 40% off - 70% were liberal books and CDs and 30% were conservative books and CDs. I guess you can count on Barnes & Noble to be unbiased in their offerings.(sarcasm) So typical. I shouldn't be surprised.

BN Shiva
March 29, 2006 5:17 PM

I've had problems with Barnes and Noble for a while now. Lately, their customer service has been less than helpful. Any requests made to find out how much you've spent in their stores goes unaswered. I've been falsely accused of 1. using to contact employees. (how does one do this, I haven't figured it out yet) 2. contacting employees via email without their concent. I've also overheard sexually harassing comments made about me while using their bathroom facilities. Possible violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. General violations of my civil rights. Drug use by employees during working hours.. Alcohol abuse by employees during working hours. Employee theft is rampant. Customer theft is beyond rampant. When I made a complaint / suggestion regarding their bathroom facilities, I was treated rudely, falsely accused by a particular District Manager on the phone. I've tried to speak to this District Manager at the store. She stood up and walked away. The store in question is located in Saugus, MA. I've decided instead of trying to fight these people anymore, to instead take my business elsewhere. I reserve the right to tell my friends, family and associates about the very low quality of general service Barnes and Noble provides to it's customers. Before deciding to not do business with this firm anymore, I discovered that this firm is keeping a "file" of some sorts no me. The purpose apparently is to create enough evidence so they can ban me from the store. I could clearly understand if I were one of the many paedophiles who have exposed themselves to children and / or the customer who felt up a part-time worker, but I attempt to keep my nose clean. I understand that I am a guest at their private stores and try to act accordingly. I used to spend a great deal of money with this firm, but they've not only lost my trust, but my business as well. I recommend everyone reading this entry put these words in the back of their minds and make their own decisions regarding this firm. I have decided to go elsewhere. Thank you for allowing me to post my story. Bob.

the observer
August 11, 2006 5:10 PM

I generally avoid large bookstores, like Barnes and Noble, due to the fact that 1. the staff has no union for their protection 2. most of their staff is not very trained in bookselling 3. most of their staff appears to be very unhappy in their jobs. I generally only visit these stores, for only a brief period of time, to look around and discover their weeknesses for my employer. Corporate secrets are easily discovered by just sitting down and pretending to read a book or such. I have made my employers quite wealthy with this practice. No, my employer is not in the book market. Large book chains appear to be scaling back to try and compete with their competitors. I've been in a few establishments which I wonder how they make any money at all. For a real enjoyable book experience, focus on your small business owner. There's less politics and they treat you better as a customer.

September 25, 2006 3:55 PM

I used to be employed by Barnes and Noble at the Saugus store mentioned earlier. What most customers do not know is that there is a consise plan by several management staff to get the store closed because of it's high loss ratio. This is being accomplished by consistently writing up employees, anything to get customers who spend money in the store to leave. When this goal is accomplished, certain members of the management team can make the case that the store is not worth keeping open and the parties who make these decisions will close the store. This makes certain parties of the management staff appear in a "better light" due to the already high loss ratios second only to those in Manhattan. This is big business at it's worst. Fortunately, I was terminated because I didn't act like those who hired me. I tried to act with professionalism and a high degree of customer service. The stories I could tell you about this store are nearly countless. Grease pits not being changed for 10 years, the release of toxins into the store atmosphere due to faulty air conditioning, people falling on the property, people falling in the store, young ladies being groped by customers, pedophiles exposing themselves to children in the store. If you don't believe me, check the police reports that have been made. I don't recommend anyone spend any money at any Barnes and Noble store. You are only being laughed at once you exit the building. Don't bother calling the town of Saugus regarding any of this. They are not interested for whatever reason. Never believe any one single source of information and always do your homework before investing your money anywhere. Don't even believe me, check what I've said against the facts. What you'll find is even more disturbing that what I've told you here. Whatever you do, don't let your children out of your sight where-ever you go. They are too precious. Thank you for listening to me rant. Dave

suspect post
October 6, 2006 1:14 PM

Hmm, former_bn_employee's post from September 25, 2006 3:55 PM sounds alot like a form gripe where "B and N" was inserted into the text. Why would there be "grease pits" in a bookstore? Perhaps this was originally a McDonalds complaint?

December 24, 2006 9:00 PM

"Grease pits" in a bookstore belong to the cafe in the bookstore.

perhaps a form complaint...
January 18, 2007 3:09 PM

Even in a Barnes and Noble that has a cafe, they do not sell any product that requires being fried before serving. They have a microwave, an oven, and a sandwich press. None of which have a grease trap that needs cleaning.

February 6, 2007 5:28 PM

I'm a Canadian Costumer whose books have been mysteriously lost in the mail. Barnes & Noble has charged me for books I have not received and they claim it's my responsibility to find them in the mail because I'm from Canada. So now I get to do their job for free? As if this large corporation doesn't scam enough money from people already...they've already taken $200 from me and I am a first and last time costumer. Cheers

Carone Brown
April 6, 2007 10:50 AM

I alsol have worked for a BN - however, it was a college bookstore. We were once independently owned, then BN took over, yada, yada, yada. In the 4.5 years I had worked at the bookstore - full-time- through its transitional change, 3.5 out of the 4 years, I had a wonderful customer service review. I got along well with all employees, all the customers, and headed up book rush (training, monitoring, working overtime, etc). - A lot of trust was on me, seeing I was a main cashier, along with 2 other full-time cashiers. When BN took over, most of my perks were taken away - including my dignity. At my yearly review, I was takejn into a room with the managers of the bookstore and my supervisor, and all they had were negative complaints - how I didn't get along well with others, I was rude to the customers, I didn't wear my ID all the time, and a few other remarks. This made me so irate, I started crying during my review - and I left the meeting with the intent to write a letter to corporate to tell them of how I was hassled. Management was trying to rid full-time employees as it was, seeing it's cheaper to have part-timers. And , I must add, that three of the managers of the bookstore when it was independently owned, left as soon as BN took over and created their own bookstore - now there would be competition! - and have thrived better than the college BN! After I wrote my letters to corporate (all registered mail, and to every big-wig I could find), BN responded very non-chalantly saying that I didn't talk with the managers enough about it, so they wouldn't do anything about it. I have all my letters if anyone would like to see them. I HATED working there afterwards - a fun experience it USED to be, then it simply went downhill for all employees. I have since quit BN, and I even worked for the competition (which BN HATED) along with some other employees who quit BN. This is the BN college bookstore in Pullman, WA (Washington State University) which had made my life miserable as an employee.

April 26, 2007 12:20 PM

First off, yes Barnes & Noble has grease traps in there cafe. Cakes, scones, sandwiches all produce grease. Being a current employee of the bookstore, I know this for a fact. Secondly everything you've heard about how bad B&N is, is 100% true. The management is completely inept, the leads and cashiers all hate their jobs, and as a result are ungodly rude to customers. I would advise everyone to stay as far away from this bookstore as you can. Worse than the incompetance of the staff, is the racism of the staff. My store is in a bad neighborhood, and the floor staff assume every black person in the store is stealing. If you think shopping there is bad, try working there.

April 28, 2007 4:43 PM

I'm through with Barnes & Noble as of today. I was shopping there with my wife this afternoon, and I found a book I had been meaning to pick up, Umberto Eco's "The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana." The book was priced at $15 on the back, but on the front cover it had a sale sticker with a price of $8.78. There was another copy without the sticker, but I picked up the one with the sticker, of course, figuring they were both on sale at the same price, but the sticker would prevent the cashier from ringing it up at the wrong price. I picked up another Eco book, also $15, but not on sale, and took the two books my wife was carrying and made for the checkout counter with an armload of books. While ringing up my stuff, the cashier, a young female appeared puzzled by the sticker on the front. I thought to myself: "Uh-oh, here we go." Obviously new on the job, she asked the more senior cashier next to her (a middle-aged male) what the deal was with the sticker, and said that it wasn't ringing up at that price. The fellow looked at it and said, "That doesn't look like one of ours," and gave me a quick glance as if to try to gauge my character and determine if I looked like the kind of person who would stick a phony price sticker on a book to save a few bucks. I am not. He smiled apologetically and said, "I think I need to get the manager," and said that he was sorry for the holdup. He made a quick call to the floor manager to ask her to come up front. The manager came none too quickly, as we were waiting there for her for several minutes. Luckily, the checkout line was not busy and there was only one other customer who the gentleman checkout clerk serviced while I waited for the manager. Eventually, the manager sauntered over, a thin older lady (and when I say "older" I mean "than dirt"), her wrinkled, prunelike visage a warning to the young: "This is what a lifetime of retail looks like." She examined the sticker and said dryly, "This isn't our sticker." I replied, "Well, it's in your store." She snapped back, "I *know* it's in our store, but the sticker isn't one of ours. I don't know how it got there." I was going to reply, "Well, an employee from your store either placed it on your shelf or allowed it to be placed there, because it wasn't me," but before I could say anything she quickly snapped, "You don't have to buy it; you can put the book back or you can buy it at the full price." I said very calmly, "I'm not buying anything," and said to my wife, "Come on, let's go." I walked out the door without a word of apology (or any word at all, for that matter) from the manager or sales staff. Now, of course I wasn't upset about the money. If the book had been priced at $15 I would have gladly paid that for it. I just consider it extremely poor customer service for the manager to waste my time and her time over a few dollars. In my lifetime I've bought several items that were mis-marked at a lower price than they were supposed to have been. On each occasion the manager or salesperson caught the mistake but made the decision to sell the item at the price marked. You know why? Because it's good customer service. I've been a good customer and spent a good deal of money at Barnes & Noble stores, and this one in particular. I realize that the manager was trying to protect the interests of the store and prevent loss, but how is it benefiting the store to lose both a sale and a customer at the same time? P.S. The happy ending to this story is that the dried-up old prune of a floor manager actually did me a favor. Some resellers sell the book in question for as low as 15 cents plus shipping in like-new condition, so I just bought it there. I try to support my local retailers, but considering that B&N aren't exactly known for good prices, I don't think I'll set foot in one of their brick & mortars ever again.

Debra Springsteen
December 23, 2007 8:06 AM

Barnes and Noble offers free shipping just like Amazon LOL! If even one of your items is out of stock, they hold shipping until all items are in stock. That means that Christmas presents ordered on December 15 won't be shipped until March 28, and you can't cancel the order. You need to wait to receive everything snd then ship it back to them! What a joke. Amazon will ship everything as it comes in even with Super Saving Shipping!

January 9, 2008 1:59 AM

Last Sunday I found a great offer 'After Holiday Warehouse Clearance Sale! up to 90% off' at [url=""]Barnes&[/url] store through site.......!

January 23, 2008 6:48 PM

Debbie... of course you can get your items shipped seperately. I do it all the time. And you absolutely can cancel the order.

Worried about the future
June 6, 2008 8:26 PM

I currently work at an institutionally owned bookstore and I think we're about to be leased to Barnes and Noble. I'd really like to hear from those that have been or are currently in this situation. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Ticked Reader
September 25, 2008 5:21 PM

My wife gave $100 in B&N gift cards(They told her that $50 was the largest denomination available.) I go to the store once a week to meet friend for coffee and conversation and usually buy a book while there. I chose to use the cards one at a time using up one before using the other. The last time there I used up my st card so I paid $6 on the new card. when I looked at the sales slip there was only $28 left on it! Seems the chage a fee of $1.50 "service charge" per month on each card, That figures to a whopping 36% per year!! I'm not gouing there any more after I use up the remainder on the card which will be reduced by $1.50 by then. Amazon's the way to go. I refuse to be a customer to thieves.

October 7, 2008 6:59 PM

As for the previous comment- Barnes & Noble does not charge a "service charge" on gift cards. MANY years ago - maybe 5 or 6 years ago - they charged a fee. It proved to be extremely unpopular, so they stopped doing it - in fact, they reimbursed all the cards that had fees charged to them. On the back of the gift card you may see fine print stating that B&N is ALLOWED to charge this fee, but the official, written policy is that these fees are not charged, and will NEVER be charged. EVER. And I gotta laugh at the "grease traps". There are NO grease traps. Period. The poster above who claims to work for B&N & said that the "cakes, scones, and sandwiches all produce grease" is flat-out WRONG. First of all, the cakes are all "thaw and serve" - there's absolutely no cooking involved. The scones & sandwiches arrive frozen, and are baked directly on a cookie sheet. No grease. I really wonder if any of the posters above actually work for B&N.

December 30, 2008 10:02 PM

To D.P.: I wonder if YOU work at B&N, at my cafe we do have a compartment in the floor under the 3-bay sink that allows for settlement of unwanted "stuff" that might clog the drains from the sinks, this compartment is not much different from a grease trap, or perhaps even is one... think about all that fatty whipping cream, and frapp. mix going down the drain. The compartment at my cafe is cleaned out by a contractor once a year (probably should be more frequent), and it smells up most of the store when it is cleaned. So, anyway be a little more careful pouncing on others.

Jason E. Lee
June 21, 2009 8:03 PM

New laptop $750.00 Double latte at local Wi-Fi espresso bar $5.50 Plugging your new book wherever possible... SHAMELESS

This discussion has been closed.

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