I Feel Guilty Over Borders Closing, But Won’t Be Suckered By Their Liquidation Sales

by Alonzo on July 20, 2011

Well Borders is going out of business and I must admit….

I feel a little bit responsible.

You see, I treated Borders as my very own personal library, all be it a library with a built-in cafe. It was a wonderful place to study, meet friends, or read magazines as I sipped on my Seattle’s Best hot chocolate.

But I wasn’t alone. Everyone else was doing the same, and I don’t know how profitable any company can be selling just lattes and hot chocolates while supporting the overhead of 24,000 square foot stores.

Of course, I occasionally perused the aisles, but only to determine which books I’d end up buying on Amazon.

As a self confessed blerd (Black Nerd), I feel like I’m losing a good friend, and I’m partly to blame. But my guilt won’t get me to step one foot inside a Border’s liquidation sale.

To put it bluntly, liquidation sales are one of the most deceptive consumer traps ever invented. It’s easy to get sucked in. The lure of a great deal is simply too much to resist.

But the deals are a siren’s song. As I explained in an earlier rant against liquidation sales, most of us assume a bankrupt retailer is under pressure to get rid of inventory as quickly as possible, hence the “cheap” prices.

In most instances, however, a middle man or liquidator has already purchased the retailer’s inventory. It’s this liquidator who now owns the merchandise and like any business, they will try to maximize the investment on their capital.

So you can kiss your “rock bottom” prices good-bye.

The key to the liquidator’s success revolves around their practice of raising prices to “original” manufacturer suggested retail prices, and then slashing from there. Those great 30% and 40% markdowns are reductions on artificially inflated prices, meaning your actual savings are minimal.

Take Border’s last flirtation with bankruptcy which forced them to close nearly 200 stores.

When I attended one of the liquidation sales, most books were just 20% off the retail price (in many cases this retail price was higher than the normal Border’s price) meaning you barely got any discount at all.

Yet, the check-out line ran from the front of the store, to the back of the store, along the back of the store, and coursed back toward the front, – testament to the powerful psychology of liquidation sales.

If you wait long enough you may get a good deal six to eight weeks into the liquidation event. But by then all the good items will have been scooped up.

So I’ll pour out a little bit for my dear departed homie, Borders Books. But I vow never to be suckered by another liquidation sale.

What about you? How do you feel about Borders closing? Was it your personal library or social meeting place as well?

Photo Credits: (No Bathroom) Shannon McGinnis Twitter: @avecvoix / (Borders Store) doortoriver at Flickr

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