Part 5: My Last Last Day

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.

Borders whiskey

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.

Mr. Giraffe

On the morning in question, Sept 16th, our last day, Mr. Giraffe was hitting the bottle pretty hard.

Wall quote

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.

Wall quote closeup

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

Thoreau quote closeup


Antwann mounts

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

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!

Voldemort and Potter

Their opponents: Team Voldemort / Potter.

3rd floor stockroom

3rd floor stock room. When I started, you could barely walk back here. Now, empty, and even the cage is gone.

3rd floor pt 1

Empty 3rd floor pictures coming up. This area used to be our Computers section.

3rd floor pt 2

Formerly Biography and the beginning of Computers. Now: wall.

3rd floor pt 3

DVD shelves: gone.

3rd floor pt 4

No, we don't have a Travel section anymore...really.

3rd floor pt 5

Last shelves standing.

3rd floor pt 6

3rd floor pt 7

The only word that comes to mind: gutted.

Event space

I saw some great authors in the 3rd floor event space.

3rd floor view

One of the great street views from the 3rd floor windows.

2nd floor Kids

I didn't take as many pictures of the empty 2nd floor, but here are a few. This is half of the Kids' section.

2nd floor Kids

The other half of the Kids' section, missing the pinwheel and all the other activity displays.

2nd floor cafe

The empty cafe seating area. Seattle's Best Coffee sign has been removed.

2nd floor cafe

The cafe serving area. Parts of it had already been taken out.

2nd floor Paperchase

The Paperchase area has never looked so clean! Wait a second...

1st floor pt 1

Onto the 1st floor. Newstand: gone.

1st floor pt 2

Cases staged to be moved onto a waiting truck. The entire 1st floor was an obstacle course.

1st floor pt 3

It was kind of shocking to walk in the door and see this. It echoed.

1st floor pt 4

The next victims, getting ready to be taken down and carted away.

1st floor pt 5

Window decal forward

I couldn't decide if I liked the decal picture better from this side...

Window decal backward

...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.

Box plus

...and then somehow this happened.

Gift from Borders

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.

Break room

Our break room, after the lockers, fridge, table, chairs, etc were removed.

GM tools

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...

Thugg'd out

This is the GM in question. In one of his many disguises... Photo by Antwann.

Thugg'd out pt 2

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.

Last last hour

For my last last hour as a Borders employee, I spent a little time in the window, people-watching.

Final goodbye

Our final sign, with an empty store in the background. Alas, poor Borders! We knew you...


One response to “Part 5: My Last Last Day

  1. Kelly

    September 28, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    =) Love these pictures! (~Kelly, Borders #226–Cuyahoga Falls, Oh)


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