Employee: Borders Is Making Us Push Loyalty Cards That May Be Worthless If Company Declares Bankruptcy

Borders has struggled to pay publishers and may be facing bankruptcy. As a result, one employee is alleging the bookseller is getting desperate, ordering employees to encourage customers to buy loyalty cards that could lose all value if the company files Chapter 11.

This tip comes from a reader who is employed at Borders:

I am a Borders Books employee. I have been employed as a bookseller for 3.5 years. I am extremely concerned by the recent behavior of our corporate officers. The past few years haven’t been pleasant for Borders employees. We have lived with constant threats from upper management, pressure to sell various nicknacks, and of course, the infamous “make book” fiasco from 2009. (We were forced to sell specific books to each customer and many, many lost their jobs over this.)

Now, with bankruptcy (possibly) looming, we are being told to focus solely on our new Borders Rewards Plus program. Again, we are living with threats of losing our jobs, having our hours cut,etc.,etc. if we do not sell these memberships. Most of us are not comfortable selling these cards because we are unsure if Borders will be around in 6 months. Management has not said one word to any employee about our financial situation. Whatever the motivation for pushing these cards on customers, it seems unethical.

We (had) a very active forum on livejournal.com/iworkatborders (the site has since been taken down). One bookseller noted that her district manager is forcing each person who has worked on the register to call her each hour to report how many Borders Plus cards they had sold. This is just one example. The push to sell these cards is disturbing. Are they trying sell enough of these cards to make payroll? None of us understand it. We just want it to stop.

The employees that actually work on the front lines, in the store, have been through a lot already. We have had enough. We don’t want to be a part of some scheme to provide a golden parachute for our executives. Please put this Borders Rewards Plus scam out there for the public to see. We can’t do it ourselves.

When reached by Consumerist, a rep for Borders didn’t comment directly on this employee’s allegations — although she acknowledged Borders is still selling the loyalty cards — but did say, “It’s business as usual at our stores and we are selling and redeeming gift cards. Beyond that, as we have said publicly, we are working with lenders on refinancing.”

Previously: Borders Meets With Publishers Instead Of Paying Them