I left Waterstones over 6 months ago now and it was basically going downhill when I started about two years ago. Higher levels of management were imposing more HMV-like directives down through the structure and it was all getting very ‘un-bookshoppy’ in my opinion. But hey! I’m glad I don’t work there now because my fellow mate/blogging/geek Joe Gordon has been fired for blogging about working there. OK, he made some small criticisms about the management style but nothing that would warrant a full dismissal. Apparently it was ‘gross misconduct’ and ‘brought the company into disrepute’.
I really do feel for Joe, he certainly brightened the place up when I was there. But he was so frustrated with some aspects of the business that were being imposed. He had to vent somewhere and his blog turned out to be an ideal outlet. His venting was not a frequent thing, after all his blog is based around his satirical magazine, it’s not just a personal blog.
After I stopped working in waterstones I realised how crap it is. I only ever go in there now to talk to people I worked with and get the latest goss. Shops like Blackwells or Ottakars just have more soul. Waterstones is just like a shell that has books and I till in it. OK, this may be a little all-encompassing. There are some renegade branches out there, or ones that have enough clought to get away with stuff (like Manchester Deansgate) but Edinburgh – East End just seems cold. Anyway, I buy most of my books online now from amazon or second stuff from the nice wee shops in Edinburgh.
Joe also seems to have lots of other support on the internet: here, here, here and here.