Photo by calaggie of Flickr
This was written by my friend, Renee, when her store in Florida was closed down because of Borders' bankruptcy in the US.
Renee was my boss when I worked in Borders Singapore (and one of the best managers to work for), and her letter captures the tragic state of affairs in Borders USA. She gave the best years of her life to the company and got diddly squat.
This was the final email she sent before the computers in her Florida store were shut down for good.
Today is my last day with the company. After 23 years I thought I would be sad but am in fact relieved. The Borders most of us loved closed down years ago and it was a slow death by a thousand cuts each time another great GM, DM or RD was forced out.
I am the last GM from Dion country in Florida. We were a tight group and were consistently the highest performing district in the company, developing many processes and procedures that were rolled out to the entire company. Sure we did question the status quo with questions like (7 years ago) "whats our plan to deal with digital music?" and were seriously told not to worry about it, it would never effect us. Some of us were let go for not being better lemmings… some of us stuck around in the hope that it would get better, some of us left with their actual dignity.
As each of our stores closed down this month we kept our staffs motivated with our own limited money. We bought pizza, had parties, bought fresh sharpies to follow your ridiculous procedure. Even though we would all soon be unemployed with no severance and living in a state with the highest unemployment rate and worst benefits. Our staff trusted us and did their best and deserved better than what the company was giving so yeah, we took up the slack that's what proper leaders do.
Every new regional VP insisted the economy was no excuse. We in the store were obviously failures in the company's eyes. In our eyes our leaders were failures. A cacophony of yes men that woudn't take a stand and fight for the things that could have saved us and were too proud to listen to anyone in the field.
You had great success with your plans this year: outsource customer care, pull bargain from the vestibules during the holiday season, not purchase school reading titles, cut hours and increase workload, roll out more functionality in atlas that barely functioned to begin with, discount excessively to buy loyalty, create an environment that managed to an audit at the expense of all else, and under-develop a web presence that demotivated the staff and frustrated the customers.
Yes, you and your team should be proud of all you have accomplished. Only a few more stores to go and you will reach your goal of total annihilation. For that and all you have done to degrade, torment, abuse and demoralize us please by all means keep my 23 years of severance and add it to your bonus. You deserve it. Be sure to keep two gold pieces for your ferry ride to hell.