A Barnes & Noble Story

This is kind of a weird, funny, (maybe) heartwarming short story.  Since I’ve been on a bit of a blogging hiatus (I swear I’m working on posts!  Just not time to reveal them yet!) I thought I would share this because it made me smile today.

As all (five) of my readers know, my Dad passed away five years ago this June.

Well, he and I always had a Barnes and Noble membership card.  Dad was big on books, I am obviously big on books, we bought lots of books as gifts – that $25 membership every year really paid off for us.  The card was always under Dad’s name and phone number.

I remember the first time I went into B&N after he passed away.  They asked for the phone number.  Then asked me to confirm the name on the membership.  It felt strange to say his name out loud.  Especially to a cashier who had no idea who he was, or that he wasn’t alive anymore.  I remember feeling in that moment that it was so wrong that everyone in the world didn’t know that he had passed away.  Part of me expected his account to immediately bounce back upon use, saying “Member Deceased.”

It didn’t, though.

The cashier accepted our membership, and along I went.

I never gave a thought to what would happen when the membership ran out.  Dad had always taken care of renewing it.

Just over a year after he had passed away, I was in Barnes and Noble for the final Harry Potter book release.  When it was my turn to go pay for my book at midnight, I gave the cashier my Dad’s phone number.  Surprise Surprise…our account was expired.  The clerk asked me if I wanted to renew it.

For a moment I began to say no.  Then a thought crossed my mind.

As stupid as it sounds (and yes, I realize I sound like a lunatic – what’s new?) my Dad was still alive to the Barnes and Noble people.  I sincerely liked the feeling of knowing that there was this one place I could come, and Dad was still alive.

So I paid the $25 and left the account the way it was – under his name.

It’s been almost five years, and every year I’ve kept that account active.  Last year, I went and had them change the account information to reflect my phone number, and my address – but Dad’s name.   I didn’t give any explanation, just did it.

Over the last few years I know for sure that this membership hasn’t been financially savvy for us.  I realize it’s just $25, but with the way of electronic readers, we really don’t buy books.  No matter, I still paid for the membership, even if we got no monetary benefit from it.

Today, my brother went in to B&N and tried to use the account.

It must be that time of year because it was expired.

He and I have been in on this B&N membership thing together for a few years now.  It’s been such a big comfort to both of us to keep it active.

So he went to renew it.

Later he told me that he had explained the story to the cashier, about why it’s not under our names, yet we pay it anyway.

She thought it was so sweet what we were doing, and gave us a discount on the membership.

I can’t tell you how much it touches my heart that someone thought our story, our little secret way to keep our Dad alive, was sweet.

Well, Kind B&N Employee (and B&N Corporate),

This small little token kindness has not gone un-noticed.  I don’t usually buy books anymore, but this year, I won’t hesitate to buy a few (especially since we have a library for a little girl to work on building.)  I’ll make sure I spend a bit more time in your store, not just because you gave us something, but because your stores hold a little piece of my Dad.  As weird as it sounds, going there is better than going to the mausoleum where he rests.  The mausoleum is about his death, but B&N, well, at least to me, B&N is about his life.

So this weekend, I’m going to go and buy BGF a book or two.  I have held off from buying her non-necessities so far.  But I think a few books, in memory of her GrandDad, are in order.

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4 thoughts on “A Barnes & Noble Story

  1. What an amazing way to keep his spirit with you and to have a wonderful place to be with him. I was in tears because my mom and I LOVE books and no matter how far away she is everytime I start a new book I always think of us sitting by the pool with our books and enjoying time together without talking but knowing the other person was there.

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