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Jan. 23rd, 2005

This is a comment in reply to a comment on my comment in pyropyga's journal.  It's a  minor bookselling rant about the Waterstone's guy that was supposedly fired for blogging.


I heard about it through Charles Stross and Neil Gaiman's blogs, both of them were pretty unhappy with Waterstone's.

According to Charlie,  Joe's manager was scavenging for excuses to let him go.

  "Joe was banished from the front desk to the stock room, a grubby windowless basement from which he had no exposure to customers. The previously thriving program of author readings and signings mysteriously vanished."

It sounds like they tried to get him to leave by changing his job, taking away everything that made it fun and worth doing. Probably this is because he had worked there 11 years and was pretty damn expensive.  The suits probably gave the new manager a directive to turn the staff over and now the new manager will  be the guy hung out to dry.

The blog was an excuse, but Charlie's right, it's an important case. For the UK anyway, since their libel, etc. laws are so different it probably won't matter much to US courts.

Unfortunately for Joe, but (perhaps) fortunately for other bloggers, they picked on a guy who was known to and friendly with Big Name Authors.

The blog was an excuse but the steps taken before  firing him because of his blog are symptoms of what I was talking about. The corporate management doesn't want knowlegeable long-term employees, they want kids they can pay$7/hr. to maximize profits.

The truly sad thing is when they turn around and try to fake customer service. About a year ago (I think) it was mandatory for Borders booksellers to ask if customers wanted "fries with that."  For example, if a customer was looking for  books on cat breeds perhaps they would also need a bird book to ID the birds their cats brought home.
Booksellers were supposed to do this for every customer they helped. (Not the ones at the register obviously, that would be silly.)


They stopped that because they couldn't insist on up-selling and continue to cut hours. You can't have people taking time with their customers when there's no time to take. 


about the Waterstone's guy and the real reason he was fired (IMHO).

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