Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Rule of the Blue Light Business

Thank goodness for all the Blue Light shops everywhere. They rule.

This is why.

After subscribing to the Financial Times, I found it necessary to end my delivery but I couldn't let go of my need to read the Weekend edition. Customer Service at FT told me I could buy the Weekend FT at Barnes & Noble.

This morning, Saturday, I arrived at B&N at 9.20 a.m. to be told they'd sold out. Sold out in 20 minutes! Yes, they only get 1 copy, said the store clerk. Why not order more? "I wish I could. I'd sell a lot more," he said unhappily. Why not ask for more? "I have tried. I don't control the numbers I get. They," he said waving an arm into the air," they determine what I get and I can't change that."

So I drove 8 miles to the next B&N store. It opened at 10. I was first in the door. "Sorry, we didn't get any Financial Times today," the clerk informed me. What about Monday? "Maybe. We don't control it."

Back 10 miles to the little corner store in downtown Durham, NC called the Blue Light on the off chance they'd have one. They had three, God bless them. They promise to hold one for me each Saturday henceforth.

B&N, the last of the multi-million dollar bricks and mortar bookstores, has lately been suffering poor business results, so the FT tells me.

Thing is, if B&N can get me in a store to ask for the Weekend FT each week, for a person like me -- a reader -- I would be likely as not to buy a book on sale each month.

Instead, they swamp me with emails for sales that I never respond to. What they need is someone at head office with a mind like a small businessman such as the one at Blue Light.