Borders Reviews in Chicago, IL | Glassdoor

Borders Chicago Reviews

Updated September 26, 2016
25 reviews

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Chicago, IL Area

2.8
Star Star Star Star Star
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Borders President and CEO Michael J. Edwards
Michael J. Edwards
7 Ratings

25 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • Terrible upper management which helped drive the company into the ground (in 35 reviews)

  • The company went bankrupt otherwise I would still be there (in 15 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Bookseller"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Clerk/Barista/Bookseller in Highland Park, IL
    Former Employee - Clerk/Barista/Bookseller in Highland Park, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Borders full-time

    Pros

    The book discounts were fabulous. The free coffee in the cafe a nice perk but it was pretty lousy quality. It was Seattle's Best which had been purchased by Starbucks. Starbucks was the competing brand.

    Cons

    They were VERY slow on the online rollout with almost NO training on its use. The coffee was awful. Since the only people who bought the coffee were those who did not like Starbucks or just incidentally happened to be in Borders, it was often empty. Management made many poor decisions. In areas like the one where I worked specialty books needed to be available for the demographic and were not.

    Advice to Management

    I left in 2008. Your in-store employees truly knew much more than you did. Even before you went out of business, several years before we began the countdown. Value feedback from your employees more. They have value. Sometimes it's unpleasant but necessary.


  2. "A great environments... until near the end"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL

    I worked at Borders full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    1. Products!
    2. Good discount
    3. Attracted interesting employees and customers alike
    4. Slower to adopt the hard-core retail mentality that has become the standard in big-box chains.

    Cons

    1. High turnover at the highest ranks
    2. Changing environment that led to almost inevitable demise
    3. Tendency to try to emulate B&N in later years, undermining it's own positioning as an alternative

    Advice to Management

    As the #2 chain retailer, Borders had a big challenge in a changing environmnet. In hindsight, the actions that could have prevented this needed to happen long before 2008, when things started to go badly. There were some major strategic mistakes (like fulfilling online orders through Amazon), but more than anything, Borders needed to recognize what made it appealing to customers and double down on those qualities rather than try to beat B&N at its own game.


  3. "OK Retail Experience"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Bookseller in Deerfield, IL
    Former Employee - Bookseller in Deerfield, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Relaxed environment and flexibility with schedule. It was fun having the opportunity to stay current with trends in literature.

    Cons

    Corporate management didn't seem to know how to best run the company and keep it in business. They were clearly not listening to their associates on the selling floor who had day-to-day interactions with the customer base. Several marketing and product campaigns fell flat because they were tone-deaf.


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  5. "Later, much..."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Assistant Manager in Wilmette, IL
    Former Employee - Assistant Manager in Wilmette, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Borders full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Working at Borders was perfect and frustrating.

    Cons

    Gone. Broke. Extinct. Not to worry.


  6. "Great Staff, Great Supervisor, Troubled Company"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Comp & Benefits
    Current Employee - Operations Manager in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Operations Manager in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Borders full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    The company wasn't doing well, but the people that worked alongside me turned what could have been an entirely negative experience into a mostly positive one.

    My Supervisor, who was the District Manager of the Chicago Market, was a strong leader. He was honest and fair. I learned a lot from him and my time spent w/ him has helped in my post-Borders career.

    My staff and colleagues, meanwhile, were equally strong. I learned as much from my subordinates as I did from my supervisors. We were in a sinking ship, and we knew it, and we worked together to keep it afloat as long as we could.

    I worked in three separate stores while I was with Borders, and each experience was similar to the one before it; great staff, great supervisor, troubled company.

    Cons

    From the onset of my employment, the company was in financial crisis. E-books were killing brick and mortar book retailers, and making our store monetary goals became more and more challenging as time went on. Everyone on staff knew that the book industry was in trouble. This made for some stressful situations. Company-wide conference calls were disheartening. Corporate management was panicked, and focuses were changing weekly in a desperate attempt to find something -anything- that would reverse the trends of the business. It was hard. And, ultimately, nothing worked. The company eventually closed its doors and we all lost our jobs.


  7. "not too bad, not too great either"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Bookseller/Barista in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Bookseller/Barista in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Borders part-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Being surrounded by books is always nice!

    Cons

    Hours and pay are not great!


  8. "A soulless piece of meat"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Bookseller in Bolingbrook, IL
    Former Employee - Bookseller in Bolingbrook, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Borders full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Fun to work around books.

    Cons

    Management by humiliation
    Smokers allowed more breaks than non-smokers
    After 1 year of great service I was given a 00.17 raise
    Employees expected to prepare special events off the clock

    Advice to Management

    Going on the "warpath" is not inspiring --


  9. "A Place To Be Missed"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - General Manager in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - General Manager in Chicago, IL
    Recommends

    Pros

    The People. The product. The customers.

    Cons

    Could be stressful at times due to the uncertainty of the compaies fate.

    Advice to Management

    Wish they could have saved her.


  10. "A good one"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Bookseller in Griffith, IN
    Current Employee - Bookseller in Griffith, IN
    Recommends
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    The flexible schedule, the people, love of books and being appreciated.

    Cons

    No pay raises. Pushing us to books for donations to locale charities. This went on for way too long.

    Advice to Management

    You needed to come down and do undercover boss and see exactly how things really were in the book selling trenches. But I guess your lack of concern in this area (our area), shows since you let the company go under.


  11. "Run. Run very far away and don't look back!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Bookseller in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Bookseller in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    merchandise discount
    some great co-workers
    getting to see all the new book titles first
    flexible hours for the most part

    Cons

    incompetent management
    hostile work environment
    no chance for advancement
    no recognition for a job well done
    constantly changing displays, themes, sections
    no communication from management

    Advice to Management

    Give it up. Borders died years ago, even before Greg J. (former CEO) finished destroying it. Leave the rotting carcass like the vultures you are, and take your golden parachutes with you!



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