1588 Realiteam.

When Thomas tells everyone the sky is falling he’s kind of doing it to prepare everyone for the worst, but also hoping that everyone else will tell him he’s wrong. Like the tenth Doctor, he doesn’t want to go. Even though he’s not as happy as he wants to be he’s safe in his comfortable world, which is as good as most people will ever get. To lose Nina would be truly heartbreaking for him. They have been through the most together. Before everyone else they were the two new hires in a store that was very adversarial to its employees, but together they survived. They are the heart and soul of the team. The pillars that everything else is built on. Losing either of them would throw the entire system into chaos. I lived through that sort of thing so many times when I was in retail until, eventually, I was one of the pillars. When I left I watched my former section deteriorate into a nearly unrecognizable mess. Even though it wasn’t mine anymore it was sad to watch unfamiliar faces wash in and out of my old position. When I left Hastings the there were still a few people that I considered pillars of the store left behind, but they all eventually fell away too. Some in ways more sad than others. The only one left when the announcement came that the stores were closing was the book manager. She was there before I came along and stayed for the entire rest of the store’s time. We were never friends the way Thomas and Nina are, but I very much valued the fact that she was dependable. She took books seriously. Maybe even too seriously for the store she was in, but her section was almost always the best kept in the entire store. Whenever I came back in she would always tell me everything that happened since I left. I heard about all the stuff that was going on through her up until the last couple of years. Since I got sick I couldn’t get out that way anymore, so I don’t know the final chapters of the saga. I should try and look her up so I can find out how everything finally ended.

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This isn’t foreshadowing the end of the strip, is it? Blaster Nation http://www.blasternation.com/ caused some angst recently by announcing its impending demise with a throwaway comment “Blaster Nation may be wrapping up…” having talked about building up a buffer only a few posts before that.
tl;dr
More of a warning would be appreciated here, thanks.

I went into two different Hastings stores after they announced they were closing. One was in Texas where my parents live and the other is in the town where my GF lives.

It’s like watching ants pick a carcass clean. People have carts loaded with merchandise, because it’s all on sale but complaining because the store is out of something. I even heard one lady ask an employee when they were expecting another shipment, and I watched him bite his tongue and try really hard not to snap at her.

It’s kind of a bummer for my GF, because Hastings is pretty much the ONLY place within 50 miles where you can still buy actual books, besides the meager selection at WalMart that is. I mean she could come to Wichita for books, but Hastings is literally 5 minutes away from her house.

I just wish people were so fired up to fill their carts with stuff, when the stores weren’t going out of business. Vultures.

Well, figure when people are dumb and would pay more for an item that is said to be 50% off, than pay for the same item, that is cheaper but not on sale, that just means, saying you’re going out of business will have them scurrying.

I would bet that many of them have no intention to keep the items, but to resell them, themselves.

I was heartbroken to hear Hastings going out of business, as I went there often. Usually for anime, used to more for manga (until I for some reason stopped…I think it was because of Kurohime actually) and always the little odd thing here or there.

They were overpriced though and I can’t imagine that was good for business, and everyone I went to in my area, always seemed to have people in them shopping, with one seemingly to be way less than the others.

I paid over 60 dollars for a hoodie at Hastings. :p Right there tells you, they were overpriced.

I was mildly surprised when Hastings said they were closing down, but only mildly. I shopped there quite frequently but there were entire sections of the store that I was always disappointed by whenever I went in there. Video games, for instance. Even at 40% off during the clearance, their games are still more expensive than any other place in town, and their selection was no better than Best Buy. Even the local mom and pop game shops are usually cheaper with a better selection. When they went to sell off their rental copies, they priced them way up at nearly $40 for used games, often ones that were selling for $5 elsewhere.

Even worse, was sometimes when I bought games there that were used, they would put shrinkwrap back on them… Only for me to find out when I got the game home that there was no disc in the shrinkwrap. The last one this happened with I didn’t find out until several months later though after I no longer had the receipt.

I still checked every time I went there as I do with every store I shop at, and was disappointed 98% of the time.

Ouch, ouch, Nina…! Reality smacks down hard. Keep your chin up, sweetie… Glad you´re not delusional. But, perhaps it is time to take a page from Jessie and adapt? Try to do something related to culture in the web, or projects related to multimedia libraries, etc? Classical libraries will become more and more interdisciplinar, and varied, than ever before. It´s not exactly a bad sign… Paper is becoming a dying recipient for knowledge, so it´s natural that digital, which is cheaper and more adaptable,is what wins there.

I don’t know that paper is dying. Certainly it is no longer the undisputed master of its domain, but thaat domain is expanding so rapidly that perhaps we had simply reached a point where reliance upon paper was holding us back. Having worked at a software company, I can tell you that you would be astonished at how fast we chew through paper. I have even had to take classes to learn how to write faster, it is that important. Perhaps the problem simply is that there is so little reason to enter brick and mortar superstores anymore–if you can fill your entertainment needs from Amazon or Barnes and Noble, why go to Megatainment…unless it is because of the fun events the store holds. The big change I

When otherwise sensible people, whose opinion matters to you, start agreeing with your pessimistic remarks, it’s time to bail.

My previous employer had already started moving IT work overseas (‘outsourcing’) when I turned i my resignation back in 2007. Today, most of the other IT folks have quit, been laid off or fired. I smelled the coffee back then, and I’m smelling it at my current employer. I hope I can hang in here for 7-1/2 years until I retire, but the ship’s sinkin’.

This is why I Always insist that whoever I work with is allowed to make pessimistic remarks only if properly licensed by the appropriate agencies. One of these days I’m faking a pessimist’s license.

J.T.,

The book manager you mentioned left Hastings about 1.75 yrs ago when she got a job at the (then) new Garden City Hobby Lobby. She loves it: more rational hours, no unholy early Black Friday hours, no Thanksgiving hours, and no Sunday hours. Decent treatment by management. Etc. If/when you get back to GC, look for her there. And tell her I said “Hi”.

The other worker who really cared about books at the GC Hastings was Jeanie and I think that she must have stayed til the end. But it was always a take-it-or-leave-it job for her; just needed to pay off that new car and still she stayed on for the extra spending money, but she didn’t really need it. That gave her much freedom in the store. And I always liked her “tell it like it is” attitude. I could depend on her helping me out and she could depend on me.

Aside from the amusing antics of some of the others, and being friends with some in the other departments, I miss the above two the most. They really were worth working with and were the only real reasons I had to work there.

BTW, several posts back you mentioned that the video department was what gave Hastings it’s life. Well, maybe when you worked there. By the time I worked there (2007 – 2011 or so), Books was what let the store survive, according to that book manager and several store managers I talked to. Music barely broke even, or sometimes lost money, video was shrinking fast and was scurrying to reinvent itself every few months. Games would surge during a new release of a big game and then fall back into mediocity. The incidentals, the “happy crap” scattered throughout the store made an amazing amount of profit (considering it was just crap), but there just wasn’t enough of it. Note how that crap multiplied from about 2007 to 2015 from stuff on endcaps to a whole “department”. Books didn’t sell that many numbers, but the profit margin on each book really made the difference. And figure this (might this be true only for GC?): One store manager said that about half the weeks in the year, the sales of porn magazines were the difference between profit and loss for the whole store!

Even with my move to Nebraska, I’ll miss Hastings. It was easier to get to a Hastings in Norfolk or Grand Island than to the Barnes and Noble in Lincoln. Now that’s the closest thing I’ve got. So I’ll quit fighting the tide and use Amazon more often – I’d still rather read a physical book than an e-book. (For the rest of you, I’m OLD) @:^) I just wish the chain had had better (MUCH better) upper management for the preceding 20 years.

Also for the rest of you readers, listening to Jackie tell the story of discovering the full-blown sh*t-explosion in the ladies bathroom, out loud and in person, is one of my top five most hilarious, most gut-busting laugh out loud experiences EVER in my entire life. All of you are really missing out by not being able to have that experience. Jackie can really tell an oral story! I weep to think that I probably won’t have the chance to hear it live again. Perhaps I should start a donation campaign to get you to do a YouTube version of it?!?!? Ha!

Kudos, J.T., and keep up the good work. I’ve enjoyed the strip immensely, probably because I can see/hear echos of Hastings all through it. And thanks for the memories.

Doug

That’s crazy talk, mang.

But yeah, I was kind of sad when Hastings closed shop in Nebraska too. Omaha went from 6 book shops to 2 in a span of a few weeks (Because BAM also closed). It was harsh to say the least. I like Barnes and Nobles, but I would really like a store with a decent MANGA section in it.

But yeah, sometimes its better not to hear the story of the final days of a place. They usually end in tears, watching them sell everything including the shelves. The customers that barely showed up now show up in droves to clean your store out because of the massive sales. That’s the depressing part – you look at these people and want to say to them “Where the Hell were you a year ago?”

HAH!

As a “Legacy Systems Specialist” I never have to worry about technology leaving me behind — I’ll just stick right here!

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