Barnes & Noble Anthropology

Even though it’s a chain, each Barnes & Noble seems to have its own unique flavor evident particularly through its Cafe patrons.  But even within the Cafe, there are times of day when the composition of the clientele is distinctive.  Old clusters, young mothers, dating couples, and oddball others.  Our local Barnes & Noble in The District of the Desert Ridge Marketplace is no exception.

B&N Desert Ridge

I’m rarely in the store during afternoon hours, more likely to be at a ballgame or doing some sightseeing of places rather than people (though people never cease to fascinate me).  But yesterday afternoon I had the opportunity to scoot down the 101 to The District and there, in and around B & N, were a community of young teens and their tutors populating the Cafe.

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This, I found out by asking, is a lovely afternoon ritual that theoretically merges the interests of booksellers with supplemental education.  But isn’t a very sustainable business model, because the foot traffic there is mostly light beverage consumption.  Not a single one of the 15 or 20 tables occupied by the tutored pairings had any food traffic and the probability is that none of them will look at books in the store.  The tutors were basically using the premises as zero overhead space to conduct business, in an environment conducive to education and conversation.

Add this to the stacks of games and tchotchkes increasingly displacing books in the store, and it remains miraculous that retail space of this nature can generate enough profit to keep its doors open.  In the interim, the young teens at the tables are getting a free unintended lesson in commerce.

About Leonard J. Press, O.D., FAAO, FCOVD

Developmental Optometry is my passion as well as occupation. Blogging allows me to share thoughts in a unique visual style.
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