Monday, April 7, 2008

B&N or the Big Nothing

On April 2nd, the latest and greatest Barnes and Noble opened. We have been waiting for this since they demolished one of my favorite restaurants, Macaroni Grill. They had the best Chicken Marsala and gnocchi. I haven't found a suitable replacement yet. I read that this store design was supposed to be new, with an elevated Starbucks, ample seating and who knows what else. I watched patiently as they built the frame, stuccoed the outside, landscaped the corner. It took too long, in my own opinion. If builders can throw up a cookie cutter house in a couple of weeks, why can't these people build a bookstore in a couple of months?

I was thrilled to see a sign announcing the impending opening. What does the store have that the other stores didn't? I would have to wait another day to find out.

I prepped Mia by telling her that we would get a java chip Frappucino from Starbucks and look at books for her. She seemed ok with this, so I figured we were good to go. The store was due to open at 9am. We dropped Max off at school and took a little drive to kill time. I wanted to be in the parking lot by 845, because we were going to be the absolute FIRST people in the new store.

We entered the parking lot and were the only people waiting. I could feel myself becoming excited, not that excited, but still. The prospect of being first can really mess a person up. Anyway, Mia was getting progressively agitated at being stuck in her carseat. There were a couple of other cars now parked near us. Keep in mind, I wanted to be first! It was pretty chilly that morning and I really didn't want to be out in the wind. Then, I saw them! Two well dressed women, approaching the door! Damn it, they were not going to be first! I threw open my door, raced to the other side to grab Mia from her carseat and ran to the front door like my pants were on fire. I know, I am crazy. The two ladies were apparently bigwigs for Barnes and Noble, and were trying to get in to check on things. When they saw us, they invited us is to stand in the vestibule. We were one step closer to breaching the massive door that separated us and the giant bookseller.

At 9am on the dot, the manager opened the door, welcoming us to the new store. I will hand it to them, it was spacious, well lit and chock full of books, tons that I want to read but will probably never get around to. There were a few things suspiciously missing, however. There was not a balloon in sight. No banners or fanfare announcing that this was, in fact, a new store, a grand opening. No one handing out stickers, pens, free Starbucks coffee or coupons for a discounted book. It was a darn sad thing. No one even mentioned anything about it. I must say that I was totally disappointed! What store doesn't do something exciting for their grand opening? I certainly didn't expect clowns, we wouldn't have gone in if they would have had them, but please, do something to celebrate what I consider to be rather exciting.

We went right to the Starbucks to order our Frappucino. I was going to use my giftcard but was told that I couldn't use it because this was Barnes and Noble. Yeah, so what? I paid for our drinks and we sat in the elevated cafe and soaked in the lack of fanfare.

In the end, I wrestled Mia from the Thomas the Tank Engine train table, with the promise of a couple of new Arthur books. She took the bait and we were out of there. Just another boring day in Wichita.

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