Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Guilt and Betrayal in the Bookstore

I am a fairly anti-corporate kind of guy. I try to avoid giving my money to big corporate chain stores. With great passion I will explain to anyone who will listen that they should not eat at corporate restaurants (seriously, don't eat at corporate, chain restaurants). I get a special kind of jolly from buying the things I need at local stores and I love eating at restaurants where the owner knows me and I know the owner's food suppliers. So it is with great difficulty that I admit publicly one of my guilty pleasures is big box book stores. I know, I know, I am a terrible person. But what can I say, all those books. Borders, Barnes and Noble -- they just have so many books. Can anyone here honestly say they don't get a little aroused by walking into a store that is two or three floors of wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling books? And let's not even talk about, which as an entity probably knows more about me than my mother.

This current town of mine has a Borders and a Barnes and Noble across the street from each other. I like the atmosphere of the Barnes and Noble better than Borders. The Barnes and Noble is also a little bigger and a little better selection in most categories. The one category this Borders destroys Barnes and Noble in, and why I subsequently end up going to Borders more often, is science. The Borders here has (or had) a much better selection of science books.

Recently I walked into this particular Borders and I saw a disturbing sight. I walked back to the science section, only to find I was not standing in the science section. I was confused, a little afraid, a creeping sense of dread began to overcome me. Luckily my senses soon returned and I don't think I stood there too long, mouth agape, in the grip of a fear induced paralysis. I saw I was standing in the midst of Fiction/Literature, so I did the sensible thing and meandered on over to the section that used to be Fiction/Literature. Naturally I was assuming this would now be Science, but I was wrong. So very, very wrong. Science wasn't there. Now I started to freak out. I began doing frantic laps around the store as if looking for a lost child. Thankfully I must have looked so unapproachable that none of the employees tried to make contact with me.

I finally found the Science section, but I'm afraid my discovery did little to easy my rattled nerves. Science went from its old place of glory, occupying an entire corner. Walking into the Science nook and you were surrounded on three sides of floor-to-ceiling bookshelves bursting with science. It was my little science cave. Now the Science section was just a little chest-high single bookshelf by the restrooms.

I wish I could say this discovery was the low point of my trip to the bookstore, unfortunately I just couldn't leave it alone. Fiction/Literature was where Science was, so what was where Fiction/Literature was? In my frantic search for Science I hadn't even taken notice, so I decided to return to that section. I would spend the whole rest of the day reconstructing this rearrangement of knowledge if I had to.

I didn't have to. It was actually pretty straight forward. Other than Fiction/Literature and Science, there were only two other changes. Fiction/Literature's old spot was now Religion, which was now expanded from its old home right next door. And Religion's old spot? The subject so very important that it (along with Religion) required Science to become the basement child, downsized and shoved into the corner. What could possibly be so important?

New Age Nonsense.

So this is now the Borders in my town.

Religion vs. Science


Metaphysics vs. Physics


Astrology vs. Astronomy

At least my liquor store never lets me down.

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