It’s always heaven for me to walk through the entryway of a bookstore. Being inundated with the smell of new releases mingling with the scent of fresh roasted coffee, a perfectly stacked up book pyramid and rows and rows of books waiting to be added to a tbr pile. It’s a booklovers’ dream come true…
Looking to kill some time before my favorite sushi restaurant opened it’s doors for dinner, the bookstore seemed like a great idea. Friendly greetings from the staff floated by and a grin alighted my face, because I didn’t know what goodie I would be walking away with. It’s a primal need to hunt…hunt for books that is.
One hour later, my quarries were successfully hunted. My selections clutched to my chest in a death grip with that possessive feeling of “MINE!” I was ready to checkout.
As soon as that thought flitted through my mind, a sudden dread dampened my high. I eyed the register wearily and made my trek to the front.
It happens every time I visit Booksamillion. The dreaded checkout counter. One cannot avoid it. I normally don’t care and am happy to make my purchases but here…
The sharks started swimming around me. As soon as I reached the counter, it was if they could smell my fear.
“Oh! Sailor Moon!” one employee remarked, as she breezed on by to take her place behind the counter.
(Yes, one of choices was a Sailor Moon Manga and matching POP figurine)
“Hehe…” Oh great…
I plastered a smile on my face and tenderly placed my loves on the counter. The same employee from before stood next to the cashier and started for my manga. Thumbing through it she said,
“I love Sailor Moon!”
Suddenly, the cashier started talking,
“Would you like to sign up for…”
“No!” “Thanks” Maybe I was a little rude but…
Sailor Moon lady then chimes in and says, “Are you sure? You’ll save money on today’s purchase.”
The cashier finishes ringing me up and brings out a brochure, “Okay, with today’s purchase you can have a free subscripiton to eight magazines…”
Sailor Moon lady, noticing my increasing aggravation, says, “Would you like to donate a children’s book today?”
“Um no.” Now I feel like a heel, denying children their books. But all this was going on so fast. I had to save myself. I swiped my credit card, signed (after being told to fill out a survey), and was out the door faster than they could say bye.
My experience of heaven turned into a bombardment of offers and promotions. I felt really uncomfortable and did not enjoy it one bit.
Curiosity took me to the internet to research a little bit about this phenomena and if other people were talking about it. I happened upon a employee review website called Glassdoor.com where current and former employees were talking about their experiences with BAM. There is a system in place where employees have to meet strict quotas or be punished, or even worse, fired.
Some quotes include:
One former employee-manager states: “The discount card program and Magazine for Millionaires are the biggest cause. If your numbers are not made then you will be threatened with your job.”
Another states: “The amount of things you have to sell and tell a customer really puts them off. I’ve had people come up to my register and tell me not to do anything but ring up the books and be quiet. The Mags for Millionaire’s thing can work out but mostly is another opportunity for customers to feel like they’re being forced another thing and even worse, completely scammed.”
I was turned off by this whole experience that frankly, I will never visit a BAM store again.