Tagged: Barnes and Noble Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Michael Krakovskiy 10:34 pm on June 4, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Barnes and Noble, , , , , , Hardcover, , , , online ordering, , Paperback, Plonking, , , Rocketbook, , , , , , , Web fiction   

    Memories of Obtaining Books 

    Early 1980s (Odessa, Soviet Union)

    Most of the walls of my parent’s apartment were lined with bookshelves. When bored, all I needed to do to get a good book to read was to climb the shelves, read the titles and colophons, and taked one. It was best to look in the areas that proved fruitful previously, mining the locations full of science fiction anthologies and historical prose. All that I needed to do was to replace the book when done and not let my father catch me leaving the book open face up or otherwise mistreating it.

    Mid 80s (Odessa, Soviet Union)

    I remember sitting in a public library while my father combed the bookshelves for something interesting. It always took him hours because 99 percent of the books contained political propaganda, speeches by various politburo members and turgid prose of social realists. The pickins were slim.

    Late 80s (Odessa, Soviet Union)

    Decent foreign and homegrown sci-fi books were available for purchase in an outdoor market. While pricey, my dad purchased everything good in sight. The home library was overflowing. This is also when I learned the meaning of arbitrage.

    Early 90s (New York City)

    I spent hours in the bowels of Strand Bookstore. My hands were plenty sore bringing home stacks of hardcovers and paperbacks that cost me from 25 cents to $3. I could not understand why anyone would want to spend more than 25 cents on a paperback. Besides Strand there were library sales – I once bought a dozen tete-beche pulps for a quarter each.

    Mid 90s (New York City)

    Besides raiding Strand, I would sometimes go to Barnes and Noble and splurge on paperbacks that I really wanted at $6.99 each or worse.

    Early 2000s. (New York City)

    My first job at a publishing company introduced me to free review books. My library swelled. I also purchased my first real ebook readers (reading on a Palm device does not count): a Softbook and a Rocketbook (at the time I worked at a company that produced both of them). Converting text files and web pages into .rb format was a pain in the ass, but these kinds of “books” were free. After reading a Rocketbook for a couple of hours in a dark bedroom I’d see the glow of its backlight for the next 15 minutes. The future of the book was freaky. The official ebook pricing for Rocketbook was the same as for hardcovers (if I remember this correctly) and seemed like an insane waste of money. Rocketbook died a slow death, so it actually was.

    2000s. (New York City)

    The online ordering of books at Amazon, ABEBooks and the like revolutionized book buying for me. Now I could get exactly what I wanted for a few bucks over what a paperback would cost me at Strand. An average price of a purchase was $3-$5. Sometimes I’d splurge on a rare or an autographed book (this is how I ended up with a $250 Cray at Chippewa Falls. More free books at work – working for publishing companies is awesome.

    Now (New York City)

    My home library is a drag: finding a book is hard, searching inside a book – well, impossible. Plonking down $13 on a Kindle copy does not seem like insanity any more: the book arrives in minutes and is completely searchable. But staring me in the face is a $2.99 paperback of the same book on Amazon. The cost of instant delivery, searchability and the cost of keeping the clutter down turns out to be about ten dollars. But what about books that are not available on Kindle and have a $2.99 used copy available? These are heartbreaking.

    I keep wondering about the fate of my library – should I purge it? Should I donate it? Should I have the nice people of Strand Bookstore drag it away completely? Should I put every book into a database and then pack everything away into plastic boxes and store in the basement?

    In the past I was usually heartbroken because I could not obtain a book at all, or could not afford it. The modern book buying heartbreak is of a very different type indeed.

     
  • Michael Krakovskiy 8:40 am on May 27, 2005 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Barnes and Noble, , , Crew Leader, Crew Members, Face, Hourly Partners, , , , , , printing jobs, , Squidward Tentacles, , Starbucks store, Talent, , Toyota Canada, Vehicle Advisor, WL Gore & Associates   

    Rank and File 

    Since a comprehensive list of Microsoft codenames already exists, I would like to move on to another taxonomy project that fascinates me. I would like to collect a list of weird titles so common in many big-name corporations. Here are some notes that I collected already.

    Also I am adding a little note about certain not very publicized rules that the company has that might help you get better service, or so to say to hack the system. You’ll see what I mean.

    Kinko’s
    Every employee carries a title of “Co-worker”. Employees use the term Kinkoid instead.

    Kinko’s hacks:
    All Kinkoids seem to live in fear of “mystery shoppers”. The corporate mothership sends special agents that pose as customers, and then evaluate the Co-workers. On at least several occasions I asked for some collating and printing jobs and quoted long wait times by Co-workers, which strangely had a change of heart and did the work right away. Your job is to make a Co-worker suspect that you are a “mystery shopper”. How? I don’t know, but apparently I managed to pull it off a couple of times.

    McDonald’s:
    Generic title: Crew Member. There are special non-management Crew Members with many years of experience called Crew Superstars. Managers carry the title of Crew Leader.

    Fast Food Hacks:
    This is a little known fact, but almost all soda fountains have a special button that will dispense seltzer. So technically the soda choice include seltzer. Sometimes when I am not in the mood for caramel coloring and phosphoric acid, I buy a medium soda and then ask them to find the button (most employees don’t know about it).

    Starbucks:
    Barristas are known as Hourly Partners. I’ve seen a title of Coffee Master on a manager’s card.

    Starbucks Hacks:
    There’s an 8oz cup called “Short” as opposed to the holy trinity of Tall-Grande-Venti. It’s never advertised, but I successfully ordered it on occasion.

    I learned a new trick, which I am not planning on using, but which surprised me. I found a tiny sticker which outlined Starbucks refill policy. It reminded me that Spongebob episode where Bubble Bass pointed out to the microscopic print on the Crusty Crab menu that outlined the refund policy. Anyway, it seems like the rule is that if you finish your drink within the hour, you can ask for a refill in the same cup at an unspecified reduced price. How will they know if you consumed your drink in an hour? There’s a label on the cup that records the time when the drink was ordered. You can also apparently bring in your own cup and have it filled at 30 cents off or so.

    You can ask for free coffee grinds at any Starbucks store to use as fertilizer for your garden or farm.

    Barnes and Noble:
    This is a surprising one. All B&N employees carry the title of “bookseller”. Even computer programmers and janitors. Thank you, anonymous tipster for this slice of corporate weirdness.

    Disney
    Most employees at Disney World are titled “Cast Members”. “Face” characters, like Cinderella and the like are “Union Actors”. Disney weirdness is too huge to discuss here, there are whole sites dedicated to the subject. “No Disney Cast member at the Disney reservation center has the same name. If there are more then two with the same then they are given a name.” Whoa.
    Thank you, Merlin!

    Pacific Theaters
    Ushers and the like carry the title of “Talent”.
    Thanks you, Greg!

    This calls for a gratuitous Spongebob quote:
    “Squidward: Repeat after me. “I have no talent”
    Spongebob: I have no talent.
    Squidward: “Mr. Tentacles has all the talent”.
    Spongebob: Mr. Tentacles has all the talent.
    Squidward: “If I’m lucky, some of Mr. Tentacles talent can rub off on me”.
    Spongebob: If I’m lucky, Mr. Talent can…rub…his tentacles on my…art… (smiles)”

    Toyota Canada
    Salesmen carry the title of “New Vehicle Advisor ”
    Thank you, Aidan R.

    WL Gore & Associates
    Every employee is – you guessed it – an “Associate”.
    Thank you, Joe Grossberg.

    NASA
    Gouvernment employees are called “Guvvies” and contractors are called “Swaliens” (because they are frequently from Swales Aerospace.

    Thank you, anonimous commenter.

    IKEA
    IKEA employees have the same designation as Kinkos – “Co-worker”. I am not sure if this is a recent development or not.

    If you have any information like this, please let me know.

     
  • Michael Krakovskiy 11:54 pm on January 26, 2005 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Barnes and Noble, , , Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture, , , , , , , ,   

    Hand Chewed 

    I just learned from co-worker that I missed a reading by Douglas Coupland over at B&N in Union Square. He signed books and everything! Dang. How I wish Barnes and Noble had an rss feed of all the Meet the Writers events in Manhattan stores.

    Anyway, heads up – Coupland is on his way to Atlanta, SF, Berkley, Portland, Seattle, etc.

    I am surprised Kurt Vonnegut did not think of this first: “hand chewed” book sculptures. I wonder what inspired Coupland – the Spanish Inquisition that forced heretics to eat their books?

    “Generation X”
    Paper and magnolia branch
    First edition English language version of Generation X
    hand chewed by the artist and then formed into a nest
    2004

     
c
Compose new post
j
Next post/Next comment
k
Previous post/Previous comment
r
Reply
e
Edit
o
Show/Hide comments
t
Go to top
l
Go to login
h
Show/Hide help
shift + esc
Cancel