Dear Barnes and Noble,

You know. I like your store just fine. You have a nice cafe and you’re my first stop for computer books. Except that they’re usually cheaper when you get them used on-line. But more often than I’d like to admit, I buy them from you because I’ve been wiffle-waffling about them for months and all of a sudden I need a book yesterday. Like when I did the Volcano Mama Php Crash Course. Or whatever. Even Amazon can’t deliver a book yesterday. You have a whole lot of other interesting stuff too and if I ever get done being a student and whatever else I am in my ever-morphing career, I might actually get around to looking at some of that stuff.

Actually, I tried to do that today. But I had to leave your store without buying anything and I’ll tell you why. My daughter and I were going back and forth on email today about various books on a particular topic. I won’t say what it was. It’s a secret. I was hanging out in the WCC library before my Illustrator class when she sent me an email with several Amazon links in it. I didn’t have time to look at them before class but *after* class I thought, “If I don’t take the freeway home, I can stop at Barnes and Noble and maybe I can look at these books right up close and personal. It’s on the way, after all. I can look up the email message on my iPhone and link out to the books on Amazon to find out the titles and authors. That oughtta make it easy.”

Um, not! Why? Well, you guys have wifi there at Barnes and Noble. That’s a good thing. But it gets complicated. See, my iPhone can access the Internet in either of two ways: a wifi connection or the Edge, the iPhone’s own little connection to cyberspace. The problem that I seemed to have was that when I tried to surf the web with my iPhone, your wireless seemed to usurp my Edge connection. I’m not sure about the technical details of how all that stuff works. And it *wouldn’t* have been a problem anyway, except for one thing. YOU CHARGE FOR WIFI!!!

Now, if I were planning to spend an hour or so at your store and sit around perusing books and drinking coffee, I would bring my Macbook over there and, I dunno, I might not mind paying a small fee for wifi. I think it was $2.95 or something. But that wasn’t what I wanted to do today. Actually, I almost *never* have time to sit around in a cafe perusing books. I did do it once, with Sandy. It was fun. I hope to do it again sometime. Today, I was making a QUICK stop and I wanted to look up books QUICKLY from email links on my iPhone, look at the books, decide what to buy, and leave. I certainly didn’t want to pay $2.95 (or whatever it was) to do that. So why the heck were you blocking me from the Edge?

This won’t stop me from shopping at your store. I like your store. Next time I’m in this situation, I will make sure to access the Amazon links from my iPhone *before* I get there and type the book title and author into my iPhone “notes” application. But y’know? Not everybody is in there to try to steal bandwidth. Again, my iPhone doesn’t *need* your wifi to go on line. So why the heck are you blocking me?

You may have lost a sale today. I may be back. There’s also Borders and there’s always Amazon.

Sincerely yours,
Kayak Woman

P.S. Borders is a great bookstore too and there is a branch in Arborland on the way home from WCC. But the Arborland parking lot is worse than the Barnes & Noble (*marginally* worse) and it can be a toss-up about which one I’ll stop at. And I avoid downtown unless I’m the first person down there in the morning. Just had to add that little PS 😉

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