Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Thursday, April 6, 2006 6:21 am

An open letter from the CEO of Borders …

Filed under: Weird — Lex @ 6:21 am

to Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs specifically and all the members of the 101st Fighting Keyboarders in general who think the chain is being cowardly by not stocking copies of a magazine containing cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed:

UPDATE: It was an April Fool’s satire piece. D’oh!

Let me lay it out for you.

I run a bookstore. A book store. I run a big bookstore. I’ve got 34,000 people, real people, working for me every day in lots of places around the US and in other countries too. Those people owe Borders, every day, one good day’s work. Borders owes the people who work for it a safe day’s work. I’ve got stockholders too, but let’s leave them aside for now, because as much as you may think so, this is not about money. (And yes I caught that business about the fact that we’re trying to open stores in Arab and Muslim countries, but as you may have noticed every country these days contains an Arab and Muslim country.)

My bookstore is in a lot of places and it has, in employment and other matters, an open door policy. It advertises its address. It’s not hard to find. You can Mapquest it. If you are lucky you can park your fully-loaded van or truck right next to it and set the timer. During business hours, all our employees are “home.” Call me paranoid, but you don’t get to be the CEO of a big corporation and not think about these things.

Like the United States itself, we’re into “Open Borders.” Like the United States, Borders lets anybody in. But we’re not running some sort of NSA airport check-in deal at the door. You open our door and you walk in and somebody says “Welcome to Borders.” You can come as you are and wear whatever you choose under that long and suspiciously large coat. We’ve no dress code when it comes to our customers. You can be locked and loaded in more ways than one because, hey, its a free country with a strong Second Amendment as well as a First.

Yes, we have security, but you may have noticed that they are not wearing body armor, carrying automatic weapons and patrolling the cookbook section in an up-armored Humvee. It’s just not the Borders Way, bloggers. If you ever stopped filling up your cart with clicks at Amazon.com and visited a store, that’s what you’d find.

Don’t get me wrong. At Borders we make a “business” out of Free Speech and Free Expression. It’s a core value. Three other not-so-obvious and possibly competing core values at Borders are 1) Make a profit, 2) No riots in the store, ever, especially not in the Children’s section, and 3) All employees and patrons get to home at the end of the day without a side trip to a hospital.

Now you and the other bloggers who are sitting around safe in your undisclosed locations may feel that I have a duty to carry the 46 copies of Free Inquiry magazine I’m going to sell chain-wide in the next month. You know, the one with those drawings of the Prophet (Peace be upon his raggedy ass.). You might feel I should do this in the name of being the last, best bastion of Free Speech in America. I feel your pain, but after due consideration I must respectfully instruct you all to just pound sand.

I know where I’m ordering my next books online from.

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