During my last two semesters of grad school I turned Borders bookstore into my office on numerous occasions. I would set up shop in the café area and try to think of something interesting or mildly original to say about the works of James Joyce, Herman Melville, Charles Dickens, etc. The baristas got to know me as one of the regulars but fortunately they never presumed to know what I was going to order before I said it.
I kept them on their toes by switching around from a medium coffee to a small Café Americano. Every once in a while I would order one of their specialty drinks like a Café Mocha Trio or a frozen coffee drink. Borders serves Seattle’s Best Coffee. If you like Starbucks you should enjoy this. If you don’t, well then shame on you, you coffee snob. I love the Café Americano because it is not as expensive as a lot of other drinks on the menu and because I’m just a fool for espresso.
I like the Café Mocha Trio because besides all the chocolate syrup and whip cream, they give you a stick of chocolate which you can either devour immediately or melt and stir into your drink to make it even richer.
One of the downsides of doing my schoolwork at Borders is that they only have one or two outlets to plug a computer into. So many times I arrived and all the electrical outlets had already been claimed and I had to use up my computer’s battery power. Borders offers free WiFi to their customers, so you’d think they might also provide outlets.
But maybe their WiFi service is just some clever twisted conspiracy hatched by an evil corporation to lure unsuspecting customers in. Once they’re in, they discover to their horror that they have nowhere to plug in their computer. Yeah, it all makes sense now.
I recently took my kids to Borders on Father’s Day. We had a really fun time roaming around the kids’ book section. My boys would ooh and ah over various items and make sure that I came over to take a look. Borders has a really good selection of children’s books.
Borders also has lots of interesting toys and knick-knacks. One of the things I thought was really neat was their hand puppets. They had some really cool and cute ones like a bat, a hedgehog, a turtle etc. My kids had lots of fun playing with them.
When I shop at Borders, it’s usually in the bargain books section. They have a lot of great deals. You just have to keep your eyes open for what you like and eventually they’ll probably have it at a really great price. I’ve gotten my kids some really great books there. And I’ve found great art books for very reasonable prices. On a couple of occasions I got some audio books for a fraction of their usual ludicrous price. For instance on Father’s Day I found an audio book for $5.99 which originally retailed for $44.95.
If you get a Borders card, they email you coupons once or twice a week. These usually range from twenty five percent to forty percent and, every once and awhile, even more. And you can use these coupons on the bargain books (just not items in the store which are on sale), so you could find a great book that’s already been bargain-priced and then get an additional thirty or forty percent off. One time I found a Stephen King audio book (I needed a break from Jane Austen and Thomas Hardy) for $9.99.
That was already a good deal. But then I got to use a forty percent off coupon on it. Not bad. Most of the time I prefer to do my book and media shopping at Half Price Books, but sometimes Borders just has some really good deals. On a couple of occasions I’ve seen the same item cost significantly more at Half-Price Books than it did at Borders. Another great deal I’ve discovered (for you bargain hunters out there) is Borders’ calendars and day planners.
Everybody buys them as Christmas gifts. But if you just wait till about the end of January the prices plummet. Calendars usually sell for $1.00 at that point. That includes those fat little desk calendars where you peel tear off a sheet every day to see the new picture or cartoon etc. And they always seem to have a really good selection even at the end when calendars are going for just a buck. I was also able to get a great day planner (without which I could not make it through graduate school) for $3.99. It was originally priced $25.99.
If you’ve got money to burn then you don’t need my advice. If you’re a little short on cash and you love books etc., it’s nice to know that everything at a chain bookstore isn’t always hopelessly overpriced (even when it’s on sale). Good luck and happy shopping!
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