08 October 2008

Out of touch capitalism

OK, this is kind of a ranty post, but what's up with Barnes and Noble. I kind of like GK Chesterton's idea of distributionism, but don't see it happening in the US unless our economy totally tanks...possible, yes. But, since we are entrenched in this consumer, materialistic, big box store mentality, you'd think the big box stores would get with the program.

Barnes and Noble is completely, in Obama-speak, out-of-touch with the middle class. BN sells books, it's their bally wick, their business plan, their bread and butter. With capitalism running rampant, why can't a book seller of their size sell books cheaply? Isn't this Econ 101? Quantities of scale buying, enabling them to sell books cheaply...or at least, at least, competitively with Amazon?!!

My dilemma is that my aunt received a gift card to BN. She doesn't buy books very often. She's a big magazine gal. She regularly drops off stacks of magazines she's read that just sit on my porch. At least she no longer bothers to send me Oprah. Yuck. Although I do rifle through Martha Stewart.

Back to the gift card. My aunt gave the gift card to me because she knows I love books and now with homeschooling, I could use whatever help in the purchasing department I can get. I have had this gift card for months and months, unable to use it because I can get EVERYTHING cheaper at Amazon. BN isn't even close, not even with a 10% discount, not with a $5 coupon. It's hard to believe that the same book at Amazon is $10 CHEAPER than at BN!!! I can't justify using my gift card when I feel like I'd just be wasting it. Below are some examples from my Amazon wish list:

A Little History of the World, by EH Gombrich. BN price: $25; Amazon: $16.50
The Quest for Shakespeare, by Joseph Pearce. BN price: $19.95; Amazon: $13.57
Literary Giants, Literary Catholics, by Pearce. BN: $27.95; Amazon: $20.40
Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding: A Science Curriculum for K-2, by Bernard J Nebel. BN: $25.95; Amazon: $22.45
Settlers of Catan. BN: $41.95; Amazon: $33.60

Just a few of the items on my list and BN is so much higher on everything. I almost bought the Quest for Shakespeare book just to use the gift card, but then the book wasn't $25 to qualify for free shipping, so I would have to buy something else with an inflated price just to save on the shipping!!

Maybe I should just go buy a few $4 cups of coffee with the gift card and be done with it...except I hate coffee. Always somethin'!!

[photo source]


angie said...

Don't forget that being an educator you quality for the Educator's Discount of 20%... in the store, not online. But you could call the store to request they order the book for you, then fill out the educator's form when you go in to pick it up. You can still use your gift card to purchase (but no other coupons). I know it is the principle of the thing that is so annoying, but might as well get something with that giftcard, BN has already made their money off of it. BTW, when you get the Gombrich book I'd love to know what you think of it. I've heard good things but never actually seen a copy of the book or known anyone who has used it.

swissmiss said...

Thanks, Angie. I plan to use the card one way or another, but might do as you suggest and have them get the Quest for Shakespeare book, since it's the only book within reason to purchase and then get the 20% discount just to feel like I wasn't totally wasting the card. Still, can't believe that BN is so astronomically expensive compared to Amazon! I knew BN gave educator discounts, but I buy from them so rarely that I didn't know it was in the store only.

Plan to get the Gombrich book for Christmas or sooner, so will let you read it. I was eager to read the Pearce book, but then First Things had such a harsh review of it (Quest for Shakespeare). I did hear Jos. Pearce speak at the Chesterton conference and thought he was really good so don't know what to think.

Borders just had their Educator Appreciation event last weekend, now Half Price Books is having theirs this weekend. I did buy a school year calendar at Borders because with all the field trips and things getting planned in 2009 I needed to keep track of them!

Lisa said...

Hey...Swissy, take me and Cathy out for coffee...or maybe some CHOCOLATE!! Don't they have some sort of sweets there??? :)

Vincenzo said...

Just found a menu ;Þ:

Desserts-From The Cheesecake Factory Bakery

dream factory desserts exclusively from the cheesecake factory bakery, all cheesecakes available by the slice or take home a whole cake!

Original Plain Cheesecake

Godiva Double Chocolate cheesecake

Featured Seasonal Cheesecakes

Granny Smith Apple Purse

Double Fudge Chocolate Cupcake

Decadent Desserts

assortment may vary by store.

Rice Krispy Bar

Classic Coffee Cake

Blueberry & Cinnamon Scones

Walnut Two-Layer Carrot Cake

Ultimate Chocolate Chunk Brownie

Cinnamon Bun

Apricot Granola Bar

Oreo Dream Brownie

Lemon Raspberry Square

Banana Chocolate Crunch

Key Lime Crumb Cake

Fresh-Baked Cookies

Chocolate Chunk Cookie

Oatmeal Cookie

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cookie

Sugar Cookie

swissmiss said...

I went to BN last night because this gift card was burning a hole in my pocket. I signed up for the Educator Discount card and was off to find my treasure...the Settlers of Catan game for hubby as a Christmas present. I did have to walk through Starbucks to get to the book store and did check out all the goodies!

Unfortunately, the BN in Highland only had a few games (NFL Monopoly was one), so I tucked the gift card back in my pocket because I know I saw this game at the BN in Roseville.

Dessert does sound good. If V would come and visit, I'd save the gift card so we could all go out for cheesecake. I kinda like the sound of the Double Fudge Chocolate Cupcake Cheesecake.

I made a pan of Magic Cookie bars earlier this week and they didn't even last 24 hours. Aside from brownies, they are my favorite bar. If Starbucks/BN carried them, I'd have used this gift card already :)

Vincenzo said...

"I made a pan of Magic Cookie bars earlier this week and they didn't even last 24 hours"

Just looked them up - those look good!

"I kinda like the sound of the Double Fudge Chocolate Cupcake Cheesecake."


Lisa said...

Swiss: Please please e-mail me the recipe for those bars-they sound fantastic!

swissmiss said...

They now have these in the stores in the cake mix aisle in a box that you can make...that was the last batch I made and they are super easy...maybe even cheaper than buying all the ingredients individually for a small batch like the 8x8 that I made.

I hope you see this...my e-mail crashed awhile back and I lost all my e-mail, so would have to send it to you on Facebook...will do that if you don't see it here. These are super easy to make, no mixing and no dirty bowls...only melting butter and stirring in graham cracker crumbs in the 13x9 pan.

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs, crushed pretty finely and evenly
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaporated milk)
6 ounce package semisweet chocolate morsels
6 ounce package butterscotch morsels
1 1/3 cups flaked coconut
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (325 degrees for glass dish). In 13x9-inch baking pan, melt butter in oven. Sprinkle crumbs over butter and press firmly into bottom to make crust; pour sweetend condensed milk evenly over crumbs. Layer evenly with remaining ingredients (I do coconut, chips than nuts); press down firmly into crust.
Bake 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool. Cut into bars.
Makes about 36 bars.