Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Chatter Calamitous At Chapters

Fire cannot exist without air, so to understand the one we must understand the other.
Blaise Pascal, Pensees, No.43

The Oracle of Ottawa remembers well when Chapters first opened in Canada. It was a nice young lad that had a dream of raising the bar of Canadian book retailing. As far as the Oracle of Ottawa could discern he had no intention of destroying Canadian publishing for the sake of obtaining a mere monopoly. Then along come some housewife that had a burning ambition to play CEO, and had the rich husband to pay her bills. It has been all down hill from then on.

Bilderberg Group field office?
 Once upon a time in Canada a bookstore was a lot like a church. All you had to do was keep the racks full and the damn thing would run it self. Book selling is an ancient business in the Western world. And there are or rather were rules. The most important one being that modern marketing methods is best left to the likes of Canadian Tire and Walmart.  Books are not units or widgets. Good books in a proper place and setting will sell themselves. This is of course not the way it is at Chapters.

Walking into any Chapters in Ottawa one is greeted by a larger than life photo of one Heather Reisman, placed at the entrance to instill the cult of personality and to let the mere minions who is really the boss. To the Oracle of Ottawa it is a lot like walking into a Ministry of Information Service Center, right out of George Orwells 1984!  But as George Orwell warned us all just before he passed away that it was all up to us, the Oracle of Ottawa can't help but feel he has let the side down.

But this year it has gotten even worse. It was Sunday last when the Oracle of Ottawa was deep into the Literary Studies section at an undisclosed Chapters location when he heard a pager communication going off! "Beeep! Hey Barry, what part of the store are you in ? Beep! Beep!"  And bloody so on. To the utter shock and amazement of the Oracle of Ottawa Heather now has her minimum wage minions all equipped with two way mini  radio devices! There seemed to be some game plan afoot of marketing browsing customers for the Chapters thingy card. Which in the book business is something that is never, never done.

As the Oracle of Ottawa checked out with his cash purchase he did mention that the pager thing was pretty annoying and it really should stop, like now. Fast forward to today, at yet another undisclosed Chapters location, and even there the poor minimum wage thingies were all wired up, but now with a head phone and a wrist microphone! Christ! That was weird! The Oracle of Ottawa felt like he was in the Hotel lobby that was hosting the big Bilderberg Group meeting! But then upon further thought, it wasn't out of line at all as the Oracle of Ottawa remembered again that the CEO and personality of Chapters is a member of the steering committee of the Bilderberg Group!     

The "tween" section that had been recently enlarged at great expense was all but empty, the elaborate display of  E-readers various were ignored and shunned. Many of the favorite humanity sections have and are continuing to shrink in size, much to the chagrin of the customers with more than half a brain...How long can this go on?

Something all Canadians can be proud of.... (especially at 2:25)...

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