Saturday, November 14, 2009

Dear Borders Bookstore A Word of Friendly Advice

Dear Borders Corporate Office:

My youngest adores Fancy Nancy. She thinks Fancy Nancy Books are Stupendous (that's a fancy word for great). When I got the email from Borders Bookstore saying there was to be Fancy Nancy Special Event, I knew this would be a "must do" for our Saturday morning. The boys were off at a Boy Scout event so we planned to make this the "fun" for the day.

We invited a few friends to come along. We got on our "Fanciest Outfit" with necklaces, bracelets, and even a little glitter on our face. Miss A was all ready for a fancy time. I'd bribed the older girls that they could hang out in the Cafe and enjoy Hot Chocolate during the event and then we'd all go home for a play date.

We arrived 20 minutes early to just browse and I was shocked at the number of cars in the parking lot. I assumed that maybe people were getting a jump start on Christmas Shopping.

Arriving back in the "Kids Area," there were already lots of little girls in tiaras, boas, and bows. Pink and purple dresses and lots of glitter. Miss A and her friend Abbey would fit right in with the crowd.

I grabbed a few seats for the girls and then waited. More and more girls arrived. There was no one from the Borders Staff in the Kids' Area to greet us or inform us of the plan. No table of Fancy Nancy Books. Not even the brand new Christmas Book: Fancy Nancy Splendiferous Christmas.

In fact, the two big girls M and her friend went in search of copies for us to buy. Not an easy task.

Finally at 11:05, when the crowd had grown to nearly 75 girls (need I say restless) and half as many parents, the two Borders Employees came forward. No supplies, no microphone and what appeared to be a shabbily put together plan.

A lovely women with the speaking voice of a quiet mouse attempted to read the Original Fancy Nancy Book to the girls. She then offered that there would be a door prize, a coloring page, and a craft. Oh yes, she had a box of 25 to 30 crayons and about the same number of coloring pages to pass out.

For the next 20 minutes, it was unorganized chaos. Not enough supplies, nowhere to color, no space to move, and no one who stepped up in charge.

In many ways, it was heartbreaking how the hour progressed. Little girls with fancy clothes and eyes filled with excitement who were just waiting there for the action to begin, for pages to color, and for the craft to start.

Parents, who were obviously disenchanted, continued to carry on very loud conversations with each other. Kids running amuck between book shelves.

My girl scout training almost got the best of me and I so wanted to step up clap my hands and get the girls to listen quietly, read them another story, and maybe introduce the "new" Fancy Nancy Book to this waiting, eager audience.

But I held back.

When the "Froot Loop Bracelet" craft began I quickly informed the girls that they could make one, but under no circumstance could they eat even one little bite. When a child threw up all over the floor nearby, I was glad that we were almost "outta there" and was followed by lots of Purell.

However, there was still the "Free Fancy Nancy" gift every girl was to get on the way out. When the Borders Employee causally mentioned she'd catch us (all 100 plus) on the way out, I decided to start the line. Yep, I grabbed the girls, walked towards the door, stopped a few feet from the door, and informed all behind me this was the line.

Miss A and her friend got "Fancy Nancy" Binoculars and then we headed off to the Cafe' for their promised Hot Coco while I ripped off their bracelets and washed their hands yet again.

While we did leave with the new Fancy Nancy Book and another Fancy Nancy I Can Read Book, it was only because I had promised first.
Borders lost some of my respect today. They did not take into consideration the hearts and minds of Fancy Nancy Lovers. They didn't treat their littlest customers with respect.

Today's Fancy Nancy Event was not planned well. They should have had tables waiting with colors and paper, a microphone for story time, reservations so as to limit the numbers, and for marketing purposes, stacks and stacks of Fancy Nancy Books ready for purchase.

So Borders Marketing Department, if you'd like some help planning your next "Fancy Story Time" Event, give me a call. I've got some ideas that would help you and the customer out and make you more money and create some excitement so that your youngest customers and their moms will want to come back time and again.


A book loving momma !


Anonymous said...

Ok - I saw your invite to us on Facebook and feared the amount of people that might show up. It has been my experience that some of these 'events' for girls are not properly planned for, and not just by Borders. We've been to other places also. I wonder if they do not understand the size of Omaha and number of parents looking for 'fun' events for their children to attend. I like your suggestions - and truly you might want to give them a call or send them a note. I have really gone back to notes recently - for good feedback (ie this summer at Cheesecake Factory - one of their staff treated Emma with a lot of respect and not like she was a 3 year old child) and not so good, I still need to send that note to a cat groomer that overcharged us this week. So, anyway, I applaud you for trying! See you soon. Love, Kathy

Lynn said...

Wow, what a shame you had such a bad experience. I've just discovered the Fancy Nancy books and they do look splendiferous (that's a fancy word for wonderful). I'll bet all the fancy little girls were mighty disappointed.