Open Letters to People or Entities Who Are Unlikely to Respond
Send your nonfictional open letters to firstname.lastname@example.org.
An Open Letter to Customers Shopping the Liquidation Sale at the Bookstore Where I Work.
BY Jen Mueller
Thank you for shopping with us today! I realize that you are traumatized and heartbroken that our store is closing. Driving to our store and spending fifteen minutes trying to find a parking spot is far more convenient than staying at home in your pajamas and ordering your book from Amazon.
Your naïve belief that some sort of protest or petition could keep our store open, despite this company’s filing for bankruptcy, gives me hope for the future.
Yes, this store is closing. I understand the four-foot tall signs that scream STORE CLOSING! in bold primary colors are somewhat subtle and easily overlooked. To be fair, there are only like 500 of them. We really should have more signs if we expect you to get the message.
You’re right: it is completely rude of me to simply nod and point to the nearest sign when you ask me if this store is closing. I should be a lot nicer, especially since my job will die as soon as I finish digging its grave.
I also understand the liquidation process is difficult. I get that you don’t want me to mark through the bar code on your book because you’re buying it as a gift and don’t want the recipient of said gift to think you’re cheap. Clearly, your falsely gained reputation is worth more than my job, and I’m okay with that.
It also makes complete sense to me that you would believe a store that is liquidating its inventory and closing forever is still receiving new books, or that if you can’t find a book I can order it for you. I also understand your anger and frustration with the fact that we have no computer system to check our inventory for a book you want despite that you don’t remember the title or author, or even whether it’s fiction or non. These are all things I would have been able to do a few weeks ago, when we were still a store. The fact that I can’t do any of these things now must be baffling.
No, you can’t use the coupon that clearly says you can’t use it here. Perhaps you were confused by the email telling you to redeem it at a different store, the only store in this area staying open. That email wouldn’t have been automatically sent to you by a computer if you couldn’t use it at the one store where you always shop.
Naturally, I also completely understand your desire to know when our “last day” is, or if there will be steeper discounts later on. It’s not as though other stores have gone out of business lately, especially given this booming economy.
This obtuse liquidation process is designed to trick you into buying books now, in mass quantities and at a measly discount, so that your self confidence will be crushed later when everything goes to 70% off and you realize you’ve been played for a fool and could’ve gotten all those New York Times Bestsellers for the price of ramen. Don’t you feel stupid! Then again, you’ve already bought all the best books, so when prices do drop there won’t be anything left that’s worth the paper it’s printed on, but what’s there will be cheaper than toilet paper so you can buy it anyway and use it for that.
I’m glad that you believe I’ll be just fine when this store closes, because this company will provide me with excellent benefits and a healthy severance package. This should go without saying, considering they already pay me a six-figure salary to use a cash register with an operating system hasn’t been updated since 2001.
There is one thing that needs to stop, though. This question: “What are you going to do after the store closes?” I don’t even know you! It’s quite poor form to ask a stranger such personal questions until you’ve at least bought her a drink. I find this morbid curiosity vulgar, patronizing, and intrusive. There’s really no need for you to continue pretending you are concerned for my well being. I gave up the carefully constructed pretense that I give a shit about you when the first sign reading NOTHING HELD BACK! was hung.
And no, we don’t have any restrooms.
Soon-To-Be EX-Bookstore Employee
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