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What's on sale at Borders

Everything must go! How to shop Borders now.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 20, 2011 4:11PM

This post comes from Kelli B. Grant at partner site SmartMoney.


Borders could begin sales as early as Friday to liquidate its remaining 399 stores. Consumers hunting for the best deals will need to buy cautiously, and visit often.


Executives for Borders, which filed for bankruptcy protection in February, announced late Monday that the bookstore chain had been unable to find a buyer that would enable it to keep operating. Its only bidders were liquidation firms Hilco Merchant Resources and Gordon Brothers Group. If a judge approves the purchase Thursday, sales could begin as early as Friday. Post continues after video.

Sales are likely to follow the same pattern of rising discounts used at Borders store closures earlier this year, but with some key differences worth paying attention to, says consumer advocate Edgar Dworsky, the founder of Consumer World. Because all the stores are closing, it's a good idea to use gift cards and any store loyalty rewards quickly -- there's no telling how much longer they will be valid, he says.


Sharper Image abruptly stopped accepting gift cards a few months after it filed for bankruptcy protection in 2008, leaving an estimated $20 million in unredeemed cards. (The Borders informational site on its bankruptcy proceedings says it is still accepting both; the chain did not respond to requests for comment.)


Liquidation sales are final, with no returns or exchanges accepted. That's not a big deal on the books, but be sure to carefully examine any e-readers or other electronics you buy, Dworsky says. In Circuit City's 2009 liquidation sales, one couple famously bought a half-price, $1,100 flat-screen only to find out at home that it had shattered in the box. Their credit card issuer later reimbursed them, but other less-careful shoppers may not have the same luck.


To get the best deals, don't bite at initial 10%- to 20%-off sales. "The first rush is going to be the most intense," says Deborah Mitchell, executive director of the Center for Brand and Product Management at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The deals aren't great, either. Borders had routinely emailed shoppers offers for 33% off a single item, and even then, competitors sometimes had better deals.


But don't wait until deals hit 50% off unless you have a long list of potential purchases and time to hunt through the stacks. By that point, selection is likely to be slim and stores disorganized, she says.


No matter when you buy, use a smartphone to compare prices, or bring a list of the best deals online to make sure you're getting the best price.


More on SmartMoney and MSN Money:

Jul 21, 2011 11:42AM

This comment actually comes from my friend who is a sales manager at a Borders store. Please keep these employees in mind!


"Many have expressed sadness to us about the store going away. To those people we say thank you for your support, and kindness. To everyone else treat us with some ounce of respect please. Remember as you are pillaging our store, a lot of us put our blood, sweat, and tears into that place. Behind every 'deal' you get there is a wonderful person who will be losing their job."

The Borders near us is a fabulous book store with quality literature and thankfully "obscure classic lit" (r o slipknot5) that is fun to browse through. My children and I have spent countless hours perusing the shelves and have enjoyed every minute of it. We are truly sad by the closing of this oasis. B&N is a huge warehouse of mostly bestsellers with a terrible ambiance. Amazon has a great selection but I cannot peruse the shelves and handle the books so I it is limiting in what I find. Sadly the Saturdays of book purchasing for us will be gone soon, no more bags of novels hand chosen with care, will enter our home after a rewarding trip to Borders. A chapter in our lives will be ending soon and I am truly sorry for this. 
Jul 21, 2011 12:35PM
When the Waldenbooks (which was a part of BordersGroup Inc.) that I worked at closed, everyone was so happy to get "such good deals".  My response was always, "I'd rather be keeping my job, which I've had for the last 15 1/2 years."  That sometimes made them stop & think.  But not very often, unfortunately.
Jul 21, 2011 1:57PM
Borders offered teacher discounts and held teacher appreciation events. Last year I won a bag of paperback books for my classroom library. I'll miss Borders.
Jul 21, 2011 2:11PM
I will feel bad about losing Borders. As one of the obviously few customers who actually went in to buy books I do feel that the sales associates need to be treated fairly and with respect as they are losing their jobs.  However I'm not going to feel bad about shopping for deals.  I don't think the store should be torn apart, and I'm certainly not going to brag to the sales associate that I'm getting the deal, but I refuse to feel ashamed that I'm getting a discount on the books I will be purchasing.  Corporate couldn't make the store work, they are selling their assets, I'm getting a deal.  I really hope that the employees get some sort of severance package and that they are able to find another job. It's hard times for both the employees and the customers. 
Jul 21, 2011 2:01PM

I agree with jrg1968. Keep it in perspective people, so many are losing jobs from this. I had to go through my store closing in the first wave after declaring bankrupcy. The people in there so happy to be saving 10$ made me so mad. Especially the people who RUSHED in and completely tore the store that I spent a year and a half of my life keeping clean apart on the first weekend of sale. They could have saved a lot more than that initial measely 20% (it took about a month for our clearence to be anything signifcant and by then half the store was gone) had they shopped there normally as a free rewards members. But that's consumers for you. They only rush in if they think they're getting a great deal and it's so stupid. Most those people had never been in our store before, and were really happy that we were closing to our faces. My advice- don't do this. Because as people losing jobs, they don't give a crap if you find what you're looking for or not. They lose their jobs at the end of the day either way. They don't HAVE to do anything for you, they don't OWE you anything, and we'll show it if you are super happy about our job loss because of a SALE. My boss cussed off quite a few people, LOL. Also don't get RUDE with employees if they have to mark through the barcode on the book. They made us do that at my store and so many people went nuts and cussed me out over it. I argued back, again what would I care I've already lost my job, and apologized that they won't be able to sell it on eBay as brand new or gift it looking like they paid in full. You guys are more than welcome to pay full price at a B&N staying open. I was honestly worrying more about how will I pay for college than you thinking a black marker through a barcode will make a book unreadable.

Now I'm rambling, so yeah, just keep it in perspective. These are HUMAN BEINGS losing their jobs and for some, careers- not service robots who were created to save you 30% off.

Jul 21, 2011 2:15PM
It's all part of the dumbing down of America !  Just "be happy" you can keep your job.  Just "be happy" you can make your mortgage payments, just "be happy"...
Jul 21, 2011 10:30AM

It's a shame. Most of the book market seems to have been bound up by a few entities. Most of it is Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Borders. Before the turn of the Millenium, we had Walden's, B. Dalton, Encore and some independent stores(Garland of Letters and Paperback Booksmith in my neck of the woods); we a few roving cutraters as well. Not as many entities to cut down by box stores and e-business as with the record stores. Will the liquidation of Borders free up the market for new stores, even in these slim times?

Jul 21, 2011 12:20PM

Is there no escaping these lame come-ons for  struggling date and other e-commerce sites? We might have, say, 15 views per post, so how much business do you really expect to make this way?


Sarah, I hope your friend is able to find another management job, and training for it, in another area. Drug stores or supermarkets are the first to come to mind. They seem to be areas where there will be a perenial need.


R.I.P.: Record chains, book chains, econo-department stores(pre-Wal-Mart and K-Mart)and longer-standing real department stores(those gobbled up by Macy's or plain gone).




Jul 21, 2011 4:32PM

It is the sign of the times that another retailer (Borders) must fall by the wayside. Used to shop at Borders years ago, and they were not bad. Had a good selection of books that B and N did not have, so I bought at Borders. Now to get these off brand titles, it looks like I will have to go to Amazon, or if there is still a Mom and Pop operating, go to a Mom and Pop bookstore.


Feel bad for the employees at Borders who would be losing their jobs soon when the stores close. Due to the bad economy, ANY new job is tough to come by (even one that pays minimum wage and no benefits). When I was out of  work about a year ago, I applied for a job at a new Wal Mart store opening up in Post Falls ID, and for the  200 new job openings which were to be filled at that Wal Mart, they had over 3000 applicants. Many who applied for these Wal Mart jobs used to work in the construction industry formerly making $ 30.00 an hour in pay and benefits, and now if they were hired by Wal Mart, would have got Federal Minimum Wage with no benefits (about $ 6.50 an hour). I think the former Borders employees will be facing the same fate in the Spokane WA area.


Anyhow, wish for the best for these people and God Speed....

Jul 21, 2011 4:11PM

Glass House,

I hope you know that most people who have to pedal that stuff are required to.

I can say from personal experience at Borders they closely tracked our sign up percentages and enforced us to do as much as we could or lose our jobs, which some people did if corporate came by and saw they had steadily low numbers or didn't improve. Simply saying NO shouldn't be that big of a hassle. Some people I worked with were pretty aggressive about sign ups but their job was on the line.

 I hated when they released the paid option for Borders memberships they REALLY used us for all we were worth then when they knew they were going under. I've gotten so many people to sign up for them even though I suspected we'd be going under soon and now Borders has taken their money for something they got to use not even 5 months. I feel so bad when I think about it, but I needed to hold onto my job as long as I could.

Jul 28, 2011 3:11PM

Used to be great book departments in all the regional department stores. We live in the boonies. Twice a year I'd drive an hour and a half away to Allentown, Pa to buy many dozens of books at Wanamakers, Strawbridge's, and Hess department stores, plus at three independent Mom & Pop bookstores, plus Walden, Dalton, and Paperback Booksmith. Now they're all gone, as well as all the record stores. On the plus side both a Walden and a Paperback Booksmith bookstores opened about 20 years ago only 25 miles away in Scranton, so I was in Heaven until both went out of business to be replaced by a Borders. Now the Borders is going. End of an era. Probably libraries will be next to go, digital is replacing print.

I dropped in our Borders yesterday to pick up The Big Short - the store and parking lot had more people than I'd ever before seen there, and yes, a few were rude and seemed to have never been there previously. Some employees were also rude. I overheard a manager tell another employee stocking shelves to leave the bottom shelves empty because "I know these people, they won't bother to bend down." Her voice seethed with comtempt. Her attitude unfortunately is not new since the bankruptcy- this store for many years had employees who were openly contemptuous of its customers, managed by a former Paperback Booksmith manager who set that standard [after all regular customers stopped visiting his own mall store and it closed]. I really don't know what any of them then did other than man the register, as they certainly never helped anyone. However a few years ago management changed and both the new manager and most employees since have always been friendly, ready to help you find something, and even at the register have made small talk about the books you're buying and ones they've liked. It was obvious from our conversations that they had actually read the books they talked about and weren't just pushing something they had been told to sell. Equally obvious was their love of books, and their intelligence. A refreshing change from the clerks at many stores today.  I will really miss the store and these people, and hope they find jobs quickly. Maybe they can get jobs at one of the Ollie's stores, Ollie's have very large book departments and the owners seem to be very honest and really care about their customers [the ambiance is terrible but then Ollie's only sells liquidation merchandise, at fantastic prices-70-80% or so off]

To all the Borders employees - GOOD LUCK GUYS, WISH YOU ALL THE BEST !




























rders opened a store only 25 miles away [in Scranton] about ten years ago,

Jul 21, 2011 3:07PM

r o (slipknot5) maybe if you read more you would know how to spell genius

Geaux Tigers

Jul 21, 2011 11:02AM

Borders may offer what they call decent discounts, but when our Borders closed here several months ago, their idea of a great discount deal was raising the prices about $5 - $10 or so on items that you would think were the actual price. So in the end, what they called their sale price was the actual price of the item. This let Borders pull a fast one over the customers because they the customers thought they were getting a great deal while Borders themselves were not losing any money. This is what I clearly call customer fraud.


So in the end, do some MAJOR research before you go out and buy that current item. I guarantee you will find it much cheaper elsewhere. I learned my mistake the hard way and found the cheaper deals after I paid for the over priced sale items at Borders.

Jul 21, 2011 4:13PM

WOW!  I thought I was the only one that hated Border's.  The one time I went to the Border's in St. Charles, IL (I usually go out of my way to B&N in Geneva) is because it was literally next door and wanted to check on something really quick....The manager body checked me and didn't even apologize and as I was leaving ...that same Manager was outside smoking while his juvenile employees were throwing snowballs..almost hitting 2 other customers walking out!!  That was the last time I EVER stepped foot in ANY Border's!



jerry: thats ridiculous lol

i went to to the big sale , half off , 87 percent off. make sure you get there before all the good stuff is gone!
Jul 21, 2011 10:31AM
"we have a few roving cutraters..."
Jul 21, 2011 2:03PM
No offense to those that do not deserve it but to those that do at least in the southern NH area,it would have helped Borders to some extent if mgmt would not have been so tolerant of the rumor mills many of the Borders stores generated,as like BandN.'s.Another local small timer ,Annies Book Stop did the same thing basicly turning every location into the -Mge's,Owners-, personal club.And would not ever have had to met a person before.. hearing of a statement and it would be off to the races to see what was next about a person.I know many of the emp.'s were P/T's beginning in college or late high school but it should been stressed that this is a business,not a social club.So what if it was'..only selling books..'Borders alright.
What the F is wrong when a mge is two feet away from an Emp. and the top of their voice starts calling someone a sex offender or Fag or Thief without proof and the mgr passes it off as freedom of speech.Fire in the Cinema is freedom of speech.Is that OK?No!Get F'd 
Jul 21, 2011 12:46PM
went to one of their store closing sales a few months ago....same old sh**...high prices for books that looked worse than used including obscure classic lit that the idiots sitting all over the store wouldn't know to pick-up and thumb through between their next coffee and doughnut...their stores were BIG...maybe that's why they started looking like refugee holding camps...tripped and almost fell on a floor dwelling genious at one of their stores once...libraries take'll probably be seeing an influx of floor geniouses SOON!
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