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Since at least 2008, my knitting and crochet group has been meeting at the local Barnes and Noble in the cafe area. It’s a fantastic group of people. During our weekly meetings, we would buy beverages and snacks from the cafe area. After meeting there so long, many of us purchased Barnes and Noble memberships. And of course, an end of night run to the craft section to pick up a new book was a regular occurrence. Our group size grew over time, and one day it turned out we weren’t welcome any more.
1. Don’t Try to Compromise- Just Kick Customers Out
No one asked us at first how they could accommodate us. Instead we were just greeted by a surly assistant manager who told us we couldn’t meet there and suggested that we could go to the mall food court down the road instead. It wasn’t until several of us asked if there were other alternatives, that she said they could set up chairs in a back area for us.
2. Have the Security Guard Handle It
The first night they had us move to the back, they also had the security guard ask each person coming in who appeared to be from our group if they were a knitter, and if so, to please go to the back. The running joke in our group was that the folks at Barnes and Noble thought we knitters were criminals. Because that’s honestly how you feel when a security guard comes up to you as soon as you enter and starts questioning you.
3. Send Inconsistent Messages
Whenever a member of our group called the manager, he genuinely sounded like he appreciated our business and wanted to accommodate us. He agreed to have the back area set up with chairs and tables each week for us. But the assistant manager present on Monday nights made us feel very unwelcome. Her tone of voice and body language made us feel extremely unwanted.
4. Customer Facetime isn’t Important
With all the mixed messages going on, it would have been really nice if the manager had shown up on a Monday night when our group met at least once. But we never saw him. Ever. I know that he did not work Monday nights, but if he had taken the time, even once, to stop in and thank us for our patronage, it would have gone a long ways towards making us, and our business, feel wanted.
This past November, we were notified that we could not meet in the back area from November to January because they needed the space for holiday displays. We relocated, and due to all the reasons above, won’t be coming back. I use to get a warm fuzzy feeling whenever I thought about Barnes and Noble. It was a place where I gathered with friends and enjoyed hot tea and yarn. (Boy did I buy a lot of tea there…and books.) But now, whenever I think about Barnes and Noble, it leaves a kind of sour taste in my mouth. So a different cafe will be getting my weekly business, and Amazon will be getting my book orders.
I agree with your decision 100%. Big businesses need to realize that customers have lots of options these days when it comes to where we spend our money. If customer service isn’t priority numero uno then we have the power to take our patronage to someplace who thinks customer service should be number one. Kudos to you and your knitting group!
You’re not the first person I’ve heard complain about B&N kicking out crafting groups. I am sorry it happened but it makes me feel better about buying my stuff through Amazon and patronizing a smaller cafe.
I used to work for that company and had a thriving knitting group when I did. My husband still works for them. Sadly, as the economy has contacted, so has their Grinchy heart. Their mission seems less and less about making sure that they help each customer find what they need, more and more about selling games, puzzles and Nook and they don’t seem to care if its what you walked in the door for.
I’m so glad I got out of working for big corporations. Go for a local business, they’ll be much more appreciative of the steady customers and much more approachable when any hiccups arise. Good luck finding a new spot for your group 🙂
I find it really distressing that brick and mortar businesses (even large ones in danger of bankruptcy!) don’t realize that it is the personalization and customer support that keep customers coming back. If you’re not getting a quality experience, you will always reach for the cheapest and most convenient way of buying, which is of course online these days. Oh well, no wonder they aren’t expanding anymore.
Aww, that is too bad. I hate when someplace I used to love gets ruined for me for one reason or another, and a bookstore would be the worst. Sounds like y’all are on to bigger and better things, though!
Yeah. I’m kind of sad to hear that it’s not just us. If I had infinite amounts of money, I’d open a giant store with comfy tables and chairs where groups could meet free of charge.
Thanks. It’s totally within their rights not to let big groups meet there, I just think they’re missing out on a lot when they kick out crafting groups.
Life is short, and this article saved vaalblue time on this Earth.
Wonderful family fun!! LOVE seeing Grandaddy reading an actual BOOK!! Technology is great – but you have to draw a line!! There's nothing like sitting on a lap with a real book to read together!! You can touch the pages without the page moving!!!
I have exactly what info I want. Check, please. Wait, it’s free? Awesome!
RD, what would our government do if it were short a few politicians?!?JTW, it is impossible to “bear” arms without ammunition. Also in Heller. See dfwmtx’s comment.Btw guys, I wasn’t actually being serious with this. Think of it as a sort of a pixelated “wouldn’t it be nice” moment.