Last week, I learned that Borders Books and Music is about to leave this earth forever. While I was truly saddened to learn of its demise, there is something I have to get off my chest. So let this serve as an admission of my guilt and an official confession.
I am a murderer. I killed Borders.
First of all, I suppose I should come clean. Borders was not my first “brick and mortar” bookstore experience; I remember spending hours in B. Dalton and Waldenbooks in my youth, as well as Barnes and Noble. And of course there was the Beloit Public Library. But for the last half-decade plus, there has been something special about Borders. Whether it was the proximity to our house, or the convenience of being able to hang out there before and after seeing a movie at the mall, I’m not sure. But my heart has held a special place for Borders, which by definition makes this a crime of passion.
Borders was where I saw my wife for the first time. We shared a coffee and smiles, and I bought her a copy of The Time Traveler’s Wife there. We kissed in the parking lot. Over the years our daughters have enjoyed numerous story-time sessions and have come to view Borders as a shopping destination second only to Target in sheer awesomeness.
We have parted with much coin at our local Borders. But that doesn’t change the fact that there is blood on my hands. I may not have pulled the trigger, but my hands were on the grip. I killed Borders.
Can I be blamed for falling victim to the seductive wiles of free shipping, unlimited selection, and low price guarantees? I love the indescribable pleasure that my finger feels after I’ve clicked my mouse and made a purchase …
My mistress — let’s not be coy; her name is Amazon — first courted me years ago by offering me half-price DVDs on Tuesdays. Now I consult her for everything; she has replaced Best Buy, Fry’s Electronics, eBay, and, yes, Borders as my preferred shopping destination for the cool stuff that I think I need. I’ve even used my phone to take pictures of books I’ve leafed through at Borders in order to check the price on Amazon.
It’s embarrassing to admit that, but confession is good for the soul, I guess.
When I explained to my 6-year-old about online shopping and Borders’ demise, she asked, “Why would anyone get in their car and drive to the bookstore?” Why indeed.
I mourn the loss of Borders. And as the guilty party, I can only offer my sincere condolences to the victim’s family. I feel, however, that I must also share this troubling fact.
I can’t stop.
While I’m not sure who my next victim will be, I do know that this isn’t over.