Dear Elliott Bay Books: Please Be Open the Hours You're Open


Don't show up 3 minutes before closing anywhere and expect anything. Also sometimes your clock can be wrong.
Dear Christopher, The employees have lives. You should get one yourself. Showing up 3 minutes before closing is rude. Period.
omg don't be the asshole trying to enter a store 3 minutes before they close. Those people want to get home too!
and now EBB thinks your are a total dick for arriving 3 minutes before closing and complaining about it.



You've obviously never worked retail. Or been any good at it, if you had.

1. Perhaps they closed at 10PM according to their click, which is, of course, the important clock that matters. Paying workers overtime so entitled, last minute customers can browse for gifts isn't good business.
2. You had all fuckng day to buy the book. Don't blame hem for wanting to home after a long day's work.
3. The "razzle dazzle we can do anything for ya!!!" Attitude might be great when it works, but it falls pretty fucking flat when it turns out not [i]everything[/i] can happen the way you or the employees want it. Over promising and under delivering is not good customer service.
Back when I worked at Nordstrom, there were people who specifically came in at closing time in order to keep the store open so they could wander around and shop/browse by themselves. Because Nordstrom policy doesn't force customers to leave (believe me, they knew this), I can't tell you how many hours of my life were spent on closing shifts watching these narcissistic assholes go about their business (or, non-business, as often was the case).

Also, it costs the company money to stay open past business hours. And you can bet your precious independent book store (one of few remaining in this city) doesn't like paying a few extra bucks just so you can come in and say hello to your friends when they're about to close.

Don't be an asshole.
This cannot be overstated or said too often. *You* are the asshole for showing up 3 minutes before closing and expecting anything.
Correction, misread the part about were buying a book for your friend. My point still stands. You had all day to buy a book, and you waited until the last possible moment.
Christopher, darling, stop affirming Seattle stereotypes about our affinity for complaining about dull, first-world problems.
Dear Christopher Frizzelle,

Sometimes retailers close a little early when nobody is in the shop. Sure, that sucks for customers who are spontaneous, or forgetful, or only realize at the last minute that they need something. And you have a history of being all three, if your past rants about state liquor store closures are a guide.

EBBC used to carry used books. When did that stop? If it did, it was probably losing money.
If they can order a book for you, they should, even if it means getting it from Amazon into your hands. Service like that is how you keep loyal customers, and keep them happy.

As for the 9:57 gripe, I agree with most of the commenters here... bush league all the way. In my experience, almost everyone who enters a retail establishment just before close says they'll be quick, but they rarely are. Maybe you're an exception, but I think it's understandable that most folks want to shut down 3 minutes early vs. stay 30 minutes late. I'd expect the Stranger staff to understand that.
This makes me like Elliott Bay even more. I didn't think it was possible, but Christopher, you've done it! Thank you.
I'm sure you have never left work 3 minutes early.
It’s as if you and Oprah lead parallel lives.
When this many people here agree on anything you must really be acting like an asshole.
Omg, STFU, ya baby.
I agree -- I've worked a lot of retail, and there is definitely a special place in hell for people who show up with 5 minutes left until closing.

It's just plain rude.
This is why I never show up at a store with less than 10 minutes on the clock. I mean really.
Well, I guess that makes me the first to agree with Christopher. When you have a retail business you should be open during the hours you say you are.

Where I disagree is on the loyalty to old-school. Amazon is better. Time to make the switch.
YES. They need to start selling used books. I am looking for a large, beautiful bookstore to fill the void left by Half-Price on Cap Hill.

Everyone, can you at least agree with this? I love supporting independent bookstores, and do, but as someone with not a ton of disposable income it's nice to have the opportunity to by a book locally without the little money demon on my shoulder tempting me with cheap-o prices online.

For the record, money demon rarely wins, but still...
I'm going to go to Elliott Bay right now to buy the book I meant to buy last night. I have a lot of affection for the store that shouldn't get lost here. I spend huge chunks of my paycheck there and will keep doing so.

This was a very minor gripe that I just tossed up because… well, we toss up all kinds of kinds of minor gripes on Slog all day long. And really I just wanted another excuse to encourage Elliott Bay to sell used books, to augment their stock of new and in-print books, because it would make a store I already love that much more awesome.
Wasn't this also your problem with the state-run liquor stores? PRIVATIZE ELLIOTT BAY!!!
I used to this coffee shop near my house that just seemed to have random hours. It got so one of us would run ahead to see if the shop was open since if it was closed we'd have to jump in a car to go to the next nearest. After a while, we just stopped checking altogether. And a while later the coffee shop was gone.

If anybody wants to open a coffee shop in Manchester you will have at least one seriously addicted customer.
You're complaining because a bookstore was closed three minutes early? GTFO.

The rest of your post is actually right on point, but it's all negated by the fact that you're acting like a dick over three minutes.
There probably was no one in the store, and they probably did it to let their employees go home a little bit early. Isn't that nice of them? And what's the reward, a self-entitled shit using his position as a bully pulpit. You're not saying it because you like them. You would have slipped a note under the door or talked to the manager if that were half-way true. You're being an asshole.
The only time I show up within 10 minutes of closing is when I know exactly what I want and where it is, and will be out of there by closing time. 3 minutes before closing is not worth complaining about -- the store clock could be a couple of minutes fast, it's unlikely you could be out in 3 min., etc. But, anything over 5 minutes and I'm annoyed.
They opened three minutes early today.
Where's the love?
I'm with Christopher. Besides, if the doors were already locked and the lights were off at 9:57, that means they closed before that.

You're either open when you say you are, or you aren't. (And yes, I have worked retail.)
Only assh*les show up 3 minutes before closing time.
I worked retail for a decade. There are two kinds of stores: the first is stores that view themselves as doing you a favor with their time, and closing time as when they hope to lock the doors and shut off the lights, and the second views you as doing them a favor with your money, and closing time as when they stop letting new customers in. On Christmas Eve we used to keep the record store open for up to a half hour after closing (when the mall would come down on our heads) to let last minute stragglers finish getting their stocking stuffers.

Shopping for books is like eating a meal. It takes a while. Restaurant "closing times" are when they stop seating. The only advantage EBB has on Amazon is catering to that book shopping experience and maybe (for now, until Amazon rolls out same day delivery) expediency. Lose those advantages with a passive-aggressive cookie-cutter Starbucks-style business model, and your shop provides no value.
The Stranger as a snitch to management for ducking out 5 minutes before closing. Oh, be so very proud, you entitled assholes.
Three minutes before closing is just enough time before closing for you to be remembered as a giant douche by all the staff. Get your shopping done earlier in the day.
I'd need proof that you were actually there at 9:57pm.
This from the blog that likes to roll out the "morning" news as late as noon.
@ 28, in this case they were not, and aren't out of conformity with millions of businesses down through the ages.

Do you have any reason for expecting EBBC to strictly adhere to the letter of their posted hours, in light of the overwhelming expectation demonstrated here, that businesses will not?
If you open till ten, your doors should say open till 10, what happened to the customer is always right. Don't like it get a new non retail job.
@ 30, restaurant closing times are an hour or so after they stop seating. And I would be surprised if EBBC had even one browser in the store when they decided to close.
@36: awful, self-entitled people are what happened to "the customer is always right."
Okay, I agree, they shouldn't lock the door until the stroke of 10 p.m., but really, if you went in at 9:57 p.m., were you going to go right to the book and then right to the register and get out of there on or about 10 p.m.? Cause otherwise, that is rude and definitely a special place in hell for customers who do this.

I work in a bookstore and often man the door, starting at five minutes before close. I tell anyone walking in during that time that we are closing shortly. Most turn back, but a few will go in, claiming to know exactly what they want and 99% of the time they are telling the truth. Otherwise, see above, SPECIAL PLACE IN HELL.

Insurance liability is why we are not suppose to have customers in the store after closing, is what we are told. I have a vivid imagination and am always worried about the stragglers pulling a gun and robbing the store!

[On a side note: I hope if there is a heaven, that all rude, obnoxious and inconsiderate customers get an ugly surprise when they get to the Pearly Gates. I imagine St Peter stopping them, for example: "Excuse me, you must wait in Special Hell for the 14 hours, 11 minutes and 6 seconds which is the amount of time you cost retail workers and service employees with your evil, thoughtless ways, making them wait, clean up after you and tolerate your vileness."

Those of us who have to tolerate such crap are ushered into Heaven immediately. Of course.]
Obviously, you should have brought a pit bull as a service animal.

Then they would have to stay open for you.

That said, if any management was there, they should have opened the door and processed your purchase themselves.

"I'd like a book about Promptness."

"This one?"

"No, that's got a picture of a cute dinosaur on it. Do you have anything with a poodle?"
"… well, we toss up all kinds of kinds of minor gripes on Slog all day long."

Perhaps that is a strategy that should be revisited...
At my old retail job, we were told we weren't supposed to tell customers still browsing after closing to leave, per se, but that we could follow them around and gradually turn up the music until they left. But this came up very rarely, and I was in the store for hours after closing anyway doing stock/shipment.
@39 -- yes, I really was! I knew exactly where in the store the book was and found it in about 10 seconds when I went in just now. They had multiple copies. I was so happy I bought two.

Seems to me that's a natural progression from the "customer is always right", not necessarily what "happened" to it.
I worked a long time in customer service. I hated people like you. You're being a dick. You're making life for low wage employees harder.

Fuck. You.
Besides my high-end Professorial Life, I also tend bar. Sometimes, the bar is dead-empty, not a soul in the place but me and Mayor Daley at 1:00 am. We are open till 2:00 am. A random customer comes in, asks me if we're still open, and I reply "Hell yes." If we started closing the doors before our legal closing time just because no one was there, or because I wanted to get some rest after my 20 hour day (the day job starts early), then the next time someone wanted a drink at 1:00 am (or a book at 9:57) he or she would go somewhere else or not come out at all. You're open the hours you're open. All but two employees can go home (someone to work the register, whoever's managing the joint), but if you're open till 10, lock the door at 10. Then be as passive-aggressive Seattley as you need to be to get the last-minute shopper out the door. And don't tell me that one or two employees of any retail establishment don't stay for an hour or more after closing to count out, run the register tapes, etc. Gotta back up Christopher on this.
Okay, correct me if I'm wrong, Christopher: You work at The Stranger, which is ONE BLOCK AWAY from Elliott Bay Book Company, and yet you couldn't get over to the store until three minutes before they closed? Sorry, but yes, that makes you sound rather assholey.

And all this whining about EBBC not selling used books: Last I checked, a couple of used book stores in the neighborhood went out of business recently, so maybe it's not a great business model, and maybe you should BUY YOUR USED BOOKS FROM TWICE SOLD TALES, to support our last surviving used book store on the Hill! It's a very simple equation: New books = Elliott Bay. Used books = Twice Sold Tales. Heaven forbid you should support TWO independent bookstores!
all the people backing up Chirs on this. What your not taking into account is 3 minutes is easily different on other peoples clocks hell 5 minutes is. That's why reasonable people understand if they rush up at the last minute and the place they are going is already closed. TLDR the world doesn't revolve around your time on your phone or watch.

@46 an hour isn't 3 minutes and if some one came up at 1:57 to a bar asking for a drink they would not get one either last call having been 20 minutes ago.
Sorry, but if you'd rather go home than stay 5 more minutes and sell another book, you have no reason to be surprised if that customer just goes to Amazon next time.
@49, ah, the siren song of the cheap Seattlite - it's your fault I'm taking the cheap route. Tell us all the reasons you have for depriving someone of a tip at a restaurant.
@50--I've bought plenty of books from EBBC, and tip 20% or more in all but the most abysmal of situations. But fuck you anyway.

Oh come on. We are talking a couple minutes before 10 on a weeknight. Bookstores are closing up for 15 minutes before closing, from finalizing the sales and cash for the day, to getting ready for back room work in the morning, besides the deliveries for the day.

I think it is really, really rude to expect stores to be all
attentive and waiting for last minute drop ins at closing time.

If Mr. Frizelle wants some attentive service or at least an open store at 21:57pm on a weeknight. Call beforehand, and they probably would keep the store and one register open...
i empathize with you, Christopher.

That said, Elliott Bay just donated a bunch of books to a tiny kick-ass after school organization with which I'm affiliated. I'll never shop at another bookstore. They've got me for life.

PS Shop local.
The commenters here lambasting Christopher for having the NERVE to expect to do his shopping a mere THREE MINUTES before closing are so very Seattle. I wish you could all see how you look from out here.
Sorry Christopher but I have to agree with the others here that your complaint is dickish. It is very rude to arrive anywhere at the last 3 minutes. It has not been mentioned yet, but there are usually closing routines that have to be dealt with before the workers can go home and they are usually not paid for any time past the clock hour of closing so if it was busy before and they have to stay to finish the closing it is all on their own personal unpaid time.
Any store that doesn't pay their employees to do all the closing stuff they need to do after the posted closing time is doing it wrong. Sure, you can do stuff ahead of time and be ready to close, but you should certainly be open posted hours.

It's an unspoken contract with your customers. You'll spend your money here, we'll be here when we say we will, emergencies excepted.

In this modern age of cell phones and computers that all have the same time via the web, no clock should be more than a minute or so off unless it's for decoration only.

I worked retail in a mall as a teen, and if we closed early we'd get busted by the manager, as well as the mall. Same for opening late. We could be ready to close however, having mopped and cleaned and counted the till and everything else except printing the register report and locking the doors. But we were "open." And true, the last minute shopper was a PITA, but sometimes that PITA made your sales for the day and helped you earn your pay.
Maybe your watch was wrong, dickshine.
Jesus wept there were some gold star comments on this thread. Even #57 above gave me a right good chuckle. Thanks all!
@56 How did you mop and clean and count the till if you were serving customers? I agree that a store that does not pay it's employees to do closing after hours is doing it wrong but in this economy they don't seem to care. Therefore it is up to the customer to honor each other as human beings and not come to shop at the last possible minute if they have other easy options, which Christopher clearly did.