Polter-Cow (spectralbovine) wrote,

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The Borderlands Business Bureau

Tonight I feel compelled to write about how awesome Borderlands Books and the adjoining Borderlands Cafe are because I wish all businesses operated with such focus on the customer.

Borderlands is a bookstore specializing in science fiction, fantasy, and horror, and although I may have been there once or twice with Seanan, I think I really became taken with it when she had her release party for Rosemary and Rue there. And the very next day, it became the final stop on the Mission Tour.

Today I went down to Borderlands after rehearsal to get a copy of Rosemary and Rue for the manager of my comic book store. Yesterday I discovered she was a big urban fantasy fan and preferred to read books written by female authors with female protagonists, supernatural elements, sex, and violence—all of which applied to Rosemary and Rue. Sure, I could have just gone to Borders or ordered from Amazon, but this is how much I love Borderlands. My desire to support them actually outweighs my cheapness! Mostly.

I also checked the used stacks and came across Fragile Things, which I also decided to pick up. Then I grabbed the only copy of Rosemary and Rue on the shelf...which turned out to be pre-signed! Score! Jude commented that Seanan would often just sign books when she stopped by, but she was terrible about remembering to ask other local authors if they would sign some copies for the hell of it. This was convenient because Seanan was going to try to come to my play, but in case she didn't, I was considering leaving the book there for her to sign at her release party for A Local Habitation on Tuesday and then come pick it up later—and I knew this would be totally cool with Jude. I asked Jude if she would be able to come to my play, and she said she would try. Jude knows my name now, which pleases me.

Here is an anecdote: one time when we were in Borderlands and the power went out, rather than kick us out, Jude simply pulled out a flashlight and told us to holler if we needed help finding anything.

She rang me up. "$13.13!" A nice number. "Which is where the Munsters lived."

"Seanan would be pleased," I said.

"I'm a nerd," she said sheepishly, but she had nothing to be sheepish about!

I went next door to the Borderlands Cafe and found a seat in the back nook to read A Local Habitation. My original plan was to be cheap and just sit till I finished a chapter and leave, but since I did feel a bit hungry, I decided it was the perfect time to try out the meat and cheese plate I had been curious about. The cute barista was there, and since I had discovered her name last month, I greeted her with, "It's Cole, right?" She sank down in a cute manner, unsure how I knew her name. I told her she'd made me a great mocha before, and she warned me they only had one more left. I said it was okay since it wasn't mocha weather; I was more interested in the Ades. I asked what her favorite was, and she said she liked the straight-up lemonade. I said I did like strawberry lemonade. She said the strawberry lemonade was from a jug, but they made the lemonade and limeade themselves, so I went with the lemonade. And the turkey and Jack snack plate. She gave me my lemonade and said she'd bring me my plate. I told her I was in the back.

She brought me my plate. "Hello, recluses!" she said. After she left, another girl in the back nook said, "She always says that." Heh.

My plate came with six wedges of turkey, six wedges of Jack cheese, and four slices of baguette. Hm, curious. But also several bonus cherry tomatoes and some dijon mustard! The dijon mustard really made the dish, but every individual element of the plate was tasty, so they were all good together. To deal with my bread deficiency, I double-topped one and ate one wedge pair breadless.

I returned my plate and glass when I was done and went back to reading. After I found a good stopping point, I prepared to exit. I saw that Jude had moved over here, so I told her that I had liked the meat and cheese plate a lot, especially the dijon mustard, but I could have used a couple more slices of bread. Cole apologized, saying it was her fault that she had put six meat/cheese combos and only four pieces of bread. Ah! I didn't know it wasn't intentional. The tall guy with the ponytail—I think his name is Alan?—said that even if it were intentional, I could have just asked for a couple more pieces of bread. Two slices of bread, what was that to him? He just wanted to serve the customer as best he could.

That philosophy is apparent through all they do, and they extend that responsibility to the customer as well. Signs in the cafe remind you that your cell phone will get better signal outside, it's neighborly to offer an empty seat to someone if there are no free tables, and it's common decency to wash your hands after using the restroom.

I pointed out to Jude that Cole was the one who had made me that mocha I had told her about before, and she said, "Oh yeah! He blogged about your amazing mocha." It's true! Then I asked her if they had any Rosemary and Rue bookmarks left since I really liked using them, and it would be nice to give one as part of the gift. She didn't think so, but she told me to check the back of the store by the window.

I went back to the store. The cats were IN now, but I didn't see them. Borderlands is well known for their two hairless cats, Ash and Ripley (who has now grown hair after chemo). I did see, however, a whole stack of Rosemary and Rue bookmarks! I grabbed some, and I went back to the cafe to show them off to Jude. "There are tons!"

"Thanks, Sunil!" she called. "I'll put them out in the front!"

Visiting Borderlands makes me feel good, and supporting them makes me feel good, and I LIKE THINGS THAT MAKE ME FEEL GOOD. If you like things that make you feel good, check out Borderlands. You don't even have to live here! Seanan just posted about their gift certificate sale, which is available for all. If you do live here, check out all the crazy sales they're having this month. Hurrah for awesome local bookstores!
Tags: food, girls, personal, pimpings, real life friends, such is life

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