Barnes & Noble no more
Hey all, I realize that for the past couple weeks it’s been confusing as to what is going on with our knit nights. Basically Barnes & Noble has been slowly working against us while not communicating honestly and clearly. We had an agreement with them to have a standing reservation on Monday nights for a group that fits at one large table. But slowly they’ve been no reserving the table, acting inconvenienced when we ask for more chairs, and finally to the point of completely cutting us off.
At first it was communicated to us in person that all we had to do is modify our habits of bringing in external food items and purchasing from the cafe. But then only a week later we received an official communication:
I am the community relations manager for Barnes & Noble in State College. Recently, I sent some communication regarding Book Groups. While we have appreciated your patronage in the past, we will not be able to accommodate the Knitters group moving forward. Our primary mission at Barnes & Noble is to support literacy and arts in the community, while at the same time generating sales for our business. We cannot provide meeting space for groups that do not meet our mission statement. We also have limitations on the availability of tables and chairs, and cannot allow meetings to occur in the cafe area. I hope you can understand our position; if we continue to allow the knitters group to meet here, then we must also make similar accommodations for other groups.
Basically, they don’t seem to care that they are effectively turning away 10-20 regular customers. They have never formally addressed the actual criteria that our group would need to meet to be accommodated — and obviously this is due to singling us out personally. Prior to this, there has never been a complaint or any other notices given to us. And we only ever met in the cafe once, during the week prior to the email, because they failed to reserve us the table in our regular area. So it is quite clear at this point that our group is no longer welcome and we’re pretty angry about the whole thing (We’ve been meeting there for nearly 2 years!). What is even more surprising is that we were just featured in the store’s newsletter announcing to other customers of our regular meeting time IN THE STORE!
So at this point, we are trying to look into alternative locations — one that understands what are group is and agrees to accommodate us, one that is open hopefully until 10pm, with access to hot/cold beverages. In the meantime, Hannah suggested that since we’re such a large group, we split into smaller groups and rotate hosting or meeting locations if that works for everyone.
I apologize to all of the new people who have been showing up recently and to anyone else interested in joining us to knit.
Creative Commons Photo Credit: Ritchie Rozzelle / reefflop on Flickr