Sunday, June 10, 2007

My Sunday at Bart's Books

The last couple months I have been using the "free WiFi" at Bart's Books here and there. Recently, every time I accessed the internet thru Bart's, the WiFi would turn off after a couple minutes. Finally, today, I decided to inquire why. I was told that "I only take up space." And: "I have never bought anything." As far as the space issue goes, guilty, but aren't we all? As far as buying books goes, I bought 3 books sometime in the last month. When I suggested that we look at their written records, they refused. I even offered to show my I.D. but their expressionless faces were answer enough. I have given Bart's Books hundreds of books for a fraction of their cost - especially since the time of the new ownership. I have never taken cash from the new ownership and kept it on credit. Last year, I made an extra effort to mail 50 books from the E coast - specifically for Bart's as a way to thank them for their contribution to the Ojai community. What is the real reason for my being 'censored' then?

I recall a conversation I had with a certain pony-tailed manager just prior to my being 'banned'. The conversation concerned Subway's entrance into the Ojai core. Our opinions differed. He vehemently wants the Subway in town. I am opposed to franchises in our town. He said he'd 'gladly welcome Barnes and Nobel to set up shop accross the street". I did not argue. He asked where I stood and when I said 'opposed' he walked away. Soon after our conversation, my access started being denied, my contribution to their vast supply of books is now irrelevant. The many books I have purchased: irrelevant. The short haired manager who spoke to me today lied to my face. Maybe my mini docs struck a nerve. Not one person there had the backbone to be up front with me.

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4 waves:

Blogger Chad B. said...

Interesting. Really. I don't go there but shall remember.

Free water/food/air/housing/medicine/internet.

11:16 PM  
Blogger Mike Didj said...

chad: I am still shocked that they'd treat one of their best[hall of fame] customer$ in such a deceptive and petty manner. In retrospect I see it as an indicator of their decline. The self-destructive tendencies of the management seem to be bleeding into their business practices.

12:33 PM  
Anonymous Lenny said...

The manager you wrote of (whose name closely rhymed with "rave day") was a true weasel. A weasel clad in a cheap veneer of pseudo-eclectic snobbery, but a weasel none the less.

Thankfully, he left in December of 2010 to run a record store in Pueblo, Colorado; where he told a local newspaper interviewer that he was the "former owner of Bart's Books in Ojai." Of course, he never was; but, once a weasel, always a weasel.

I was a thirty year loyal, seventy dollar per month customer, when I was told that my seven-year-old boy was no longer welcome because he had been running through the store the prior weekend without me, requiring his mother to be repeatedly warned.

When I quietly replied that his mother was no longer with us; so, he would never be there without me; and we were not there the prior weekend; I was told that I had to leave because he could not have my kind of attitude in his store.

He later apologized through a local business owner he knew I was friends with; but, I never went back in spite of his assurance that we were welcome. I guess I could not have his kind of attitude in a store of my patronage.

Now that weasel's gone, the new manager is the former manager of a neighboring coffee house, and a decent fellow as I recall.

I may venture over and test the waters.

12:55 AM  
Blogger DiDj said...

Thanks for your well written comment, Lenny. I love your description of the weasel. I may just have to go in there again and see if it has changed.

1:03 AM  

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