Scoping Out The Sad State Of Affairs At A Borders Liquidation Sale

The liquidators have swooped into Borders with giant black and yellow signs screaming 20-40% off. But are these sales a good deals for consumers? I visited one to find out.

shotofborders.jpgShort answer: nope. Like always, the liquidators start the discounts from list price. You can find much better deals for the books online.

stieglarsonmillenium.jpgRight in front of the door I found the shrink-wrapped hardcover Stieg Larson Millennium Trilogy on sale for $80, down from $99. A quick check online showed the same exact set in mint condition for $38.42 from Amazon.com

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deadoralivetomclancy.jpgOk, maybe that’s a fluke. So then I saw Tom Clancy’s Dead Or Alive in hardcover for $20.76. On Amazon it’s $15.70, and that’s just when it’s direct from Amazon.com. Like all of these books, you can get even cheaper on Amazon Marketplace.

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Could they be hiding the good stuff in the back? I went upstairs and pulled a copy of Eclipse off the shelf. Despite being visibly beat up with white marks, it had still been reset to only list price of $12.99, which was $10.32 after a 20% discount.

eclipsebookprice.jpgThe overall selection isn’t that great either. These are, after all, the books that didn’t sell. A copy of Jpod anyone? How about Shockwave for Dummies? Or Glen Beck’s Arguing With Idiots?

I did see a teenage kid who was sitting down reading in a corner laughing over and over again out loud. Maybe he was reading the discount sign prices.twentypercentoff.jpg

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The poor deals haven’t stopped consumers from coming in droves. While the store I visited was pretty quiet, we’ve heard from clerks on the frontlines of the liquidation sales when they first started a couple of weeks ago and they described a madhouse. Lines longer than Christmas, doing $30,000-$50,000 days. Shoppers were waiting over an hour in line, their arms bursting with books, and then they were surprised at checkout at how much the price rang up. Because they didn’t do the math. But the liquidators are, and they’re laughing all the way to the bank.

theshotoftheregisters.jpgBottom line, the only thing getting liquidated at these liquidation sales is your wallet.