Borders turns off lifts for last week

The bookshop chain Borders UK is set to close next Tuesday, with all 45 remaining Borders and Books Etc stores closing (a few, and most of Books Etc, already have), and the place looks eerily like Woolworths did this time last year, with bright red and yellow “Store Closing” and “Last X Days” signs in big letters appearing outside and inside the store. I won’t go over how sad I think it all is again; I guess you’re all bored reading that.

I was in the Charing Cross branch of the chain today. I went in only briefly, because the main reason I used to go there — the extensive selection of magazines — has gone, and most of the books have been sold off cheap, albeit not cheap enough to buy when you’re on the dole. I noticed a sign, in much smaller print than the “50% off” signs, that said that books from two major publishers, namely Hodder Headline and Little Brown, which both include a number of major imprints, were excluded from the sale for some obscure reason.

However, I also noticed that the lift was conveniently “out of order”. It was inaccessible in Kingston yesterday, with makeshift barriers in front of the door, although the stairs were still in use. (In the case of Borders Kingston, the wooden stairs are literally ancient, worn and in some cases wobbly; I wonder how they have remained in use as they are not all that safe.) I took out my Android and tweeted this fact to the world. My quadriplegic friend Kimberley tweeted back, “I think that’s ‘normal’ for a lot of companies anyway”. However, it seems a cruel irony, given that a lot of disabled people don’t have much money as they find it much less easy than the rest of us to get work, that when there are bargains to be had, they are excluded when they don’t need to be.

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