“Whether the Andrea Gail rolls,
pitch-poles, or gets driven down, she winds up, one way or another, in a
position from which she cannot recover. Among marine architects this is known
as the zero-moment point – the point of no return.” –Sebastian Junger, “The
Posts like this aren’t my usual fare, but there’s a lot of
readers on Tumblr. So y’all might be interested – or, if not, you really should
On Monday, this went down:
That’s the bloodless, matter-of-fact, ho-hum business event
way of describing it. Let me paint you a different picture.
On Monday morning, every single Barnes & Noble location –
that’s 781 stores – told their full-time employees to pack up and leave. The
eliminated positions were as follows: the head cashiers (those are the people
responsible for handling the money), the receiving managers (the people
responsible for bringing in product and making sure it goes where it should),
the digital leads (the people responsible for solving Nook problems), the newsstand
leads (the people responsible for distributing the magazines), and the bargain
leads (the people responsible for keeping up the massive discount sections). A
few of the larger stores were able to spare their head cashiers and their
receiving managers, but not many.
Just about everyone lost between 3 and 7 employees. The
unofficial numbers put the total around 1,800 people.
We’re not talking post-holiday culling of seasonal workers.
This was the Red Wedding. Every person laid off was a full-time
employee. These were people for whom Barnes & Noble was a career.
Most of them had given 5, 10, 20 years to the company. In most cases it was
their sole source of income.
There was no warning.
But it gets worse.
This is long, and you need to read it. Don’t let anyone tell you Barnes and Noble was forced into this by market forces etc,etc. This is a series of deliberate choices on their part.
Also, I used to work in a field where we helped a lot of people after lay offs. I’ve seen companies handle them well, and badly. This is as bad as I’ve seen short of chaining the gates overnight. It’s not normal, it’s not just how it’s done, it’s another deliberate choice.