Part 4 was getting long, and I took a lot of pictures after we closed, so I’m breaking it up into yet another part. I thought my last day at Borders 405 (State St – Chicago) was going to be Wednesday, September 14, the last day we were open to customers. At the last minute, however, I was asked to come in on Friday, the last day we occupied the building, to help with final cleanup as fixtures were moved out. So these pictures are from my last last day at Borders, and they’re a mix of depressing and hilarious. Enjoy.
I have to start this album with our store mascot - the bottle of whiskey that lived in our GM's office. It is going to show up quite a bit, so keep an eye out. Any apparent change in level of liquid is just a trick of the light. Drinking on the premises was strictly forbidden, of course. Thanks to Arabel for this picture.
On the morning in question, Sept 16th, our last day, Mr. Giraffe was hitting the bottle pretty hard.
Pretty much any of the book quotes throughout the store look ironic with the shelves ripped out. But I took a picture of this one. Closeup of the quote follows.
Apologies for the low quality. It reads: "Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill." - Barbara Tuchman
We had a jousting tournament in the empty cafe, as anyone would. Here, Sir Antwann mounts his steed (aka a rolling display) with his lance (broom) and shield (shelf from a cafe display).
Team Antwann included his loyal squire, Howard. More fun than the jousting itself was the role playing - we heard about all the enemies these knights, and their fathers, and their father's fathers, had vanquished!
Their opponents: Team Voldemort / Potter.
3rd floor stock room. When I started, you could barely walk back here. Now, empty, and even the cage is gone.
Empty 3rd floor pictures coming up. This area used to be our Computers section.
Formerly Biography and the beginning of Computers. Now: wall.
DVD shelves: gone.
No, we don't have a Travel section anymore...really.
Last shelves standing.
The only word that comes to mind: gutted.
I saw some great authors in the 3rd floor event space.
One of the great street views from the 3rd floor windows.
I didn't take as many pictures of the empty 2nd floor, but here are a few. This is half of the Kids' section.
The other half of the Kids' section, missing the pinwheel and all the other activity displays.
The empty cafe seating area. Seattle's Best Coffee sign has been removed.
The cafe serving area. Parts of it had already been taken out.
The Paperchase area has never looked so clean! Wait a second...
Onto the 1st floor. Newstand: gone.
Cases staged to be moved onto a waiting truck. The entire 1st floor was an obstacle course.
It was kind of shocking to walk in the door and see this. It echoed.
The next victims, getting ready to be taken down and carted away.
I couldn't decide if I liked the decal picture better from this side...
...or this side. So I took pictures both ways.
Our GM packed up his office. He figured, since he'd be taking it all home on the train, that he may as well make things interesting.
...and then somehow this happened.
When we were cleaning the office, I found a penny. Some businesses post their first dollar earned; we thought it only fitting to post our last penny. True story: we had no tape left, so I went looking for something I could use to stick it to the wall. This sticker I found at the bottom of a desk drawer was just TOO perfect.
Our break room, after the lockers, fridge, table, chairs, etc were removed.
Our GM gave himself one last manicure on the clock. When I walked back into his office and saw his nail polish laid out just so, I thought it merited just one more picture of the box...
This is the GM in question. In one of his many disguises... Photo by Antwann.
I can't believe we have two pictures of the clock getup, but none of Voldemort. Photo by Allison.
This picture is actually from a few weeks before we closed, but I didn't want to post it until the end. We were told to make announcements throughout the day about specific promotions and given a list of scripts to read. At the end of the list, some clever person added this one. Please don't send hate mail - anyone who has worked retail, and specifically in a bookstore, knows that this is funny because it's true.
For my last last hour as a Borders employee, I spent a little time in the window, people-watching.
Our final sign, with an empty store in the background. Alas, poor Borders! We knew you...