Barnes and Noble's Issues Apology for Display Tampering

obama-b-and-n-booksI get home and my mother tells me that a friend of hers has shredded her Barnes and Noble membership card. Why? Allegedly, the B&N in Coral Gables, Florida has been hit with a bit of a controversy and this is the first I’ve heard about it.

Amidst the various Obama books that were on display, there was a book about ‘monkeys’ prominently sitting in the middle. B&N says it was a prank by a customer. At my neighborhood B&N, customers are not allowed access to the display case but B&N in Florida says this was a prank pulled by a “customer.” There were also rumors going around online indicating that the photo was fake but it has since been authenticated by this B&N statement. If you’re at a loss for words, well, so am I. The incident supposedly took place 2 weeks ago.


About Keishon

Voracious reader of just about everything.
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8 Responses to Barnes and Noble's Issues Apology for Display Tampering

  1. Wendy says:

    Wow – this is the first I’d heard of it as well. Interesting that none of the publishing based newsletters or library literature I read haven’t run with the story.

    I will say this doesn’t look good for B&N if it was an enclosed display area that isn’t easily accessible to the public (and that’s the vibe I’m getting). If it had been a floor/table display that any Joe Schmoe could mess with? I’d be more willing to swallow their story.

  2. Rosie says:

    We have a similar display area in my B&N. While not easily accessible, it isn’t impossible for the public to get to the display. While this this particular display wasn’t tampered with, that I know of, I have seen others that have like putting an adult ‘how to’ sex book in with kids books, that type of thing.

    While I frequently complain about and frequently loathe my local B&N with a fiery passion, I’m also sympathetic if the Florida store’s big and busy like ours is. We have too many adolescents and not enough security. It’s a nightmare. My biggest complaint is the jerks who take books and mis-shelve them all over the store. Again, mostly adolescents. It’s been better since the mall has invoked a curfew, but not completely resolved.

    I’m going to follow your links now. Was there any explanation of how long the display was like that?

  3. JenB says:

    I used to work in a Christian bookstore, and people would put sex therapy books in with the Veggie Tales videos.

    It’s a prank…it’s a hateful one, but still not newsworthy to me.

    And if it had been anyone other than Barack Obama on the cover–even another black celebrity–it wouldn’t have even been a blip on the local news.

  4. Sylvie says:

    The displays at our local B&N (in LA) are quite open to the public. When I was there last month for the LARA meeting I noticed the Obama displays with a glance, but never look that closely at end cap or front of store displays.

    The fact that this one looks like it’s behind glass disturbs me.

  5. Kailana says:

    I guess it stands to reason that some stuff was going to happen. People aren’t all going to change their race views just because of a new president… I think people should be happy it was just a book… There are a lot more worse and scary things that could happen! Not that it was a good thing, of course.

  6. Avid Reader says:

    Having a black president in office reminds us that racism in this country is very much alive and well (well before Obama took office). I think more people (in my circle) are outraged that this may have been an employee who did this and not some “customer.” Pundits and re Washington Post cartoon – people have to tread lightly when mocking or discussing this President because there are a lot of stereotypes that have historical context referencing blacks that is offensive. This country has a long history of racism so just voting an African-American into office just doesn’t wipe the slate clean. Unfortunately, it amplifies it. Newsworthy or not, I hope this wasn’t an employee because that would reflect poorly on B&N.

    Edited to clean up spelling.

  7. Ann-Kat says:

    I’m a little heartbroken to see this because it’s a reminder that some people still can’t see past the color of another person’s skin, which to me is plain silly.

    Frankly, I hope it wasn’t a store employee because it would reflect poorly on B&N and on some level, I’m kind of glad I haven’t shopped there in years.

    On another note, I’m in the S. FL area and hadn’t heard about this either.

  8. mkw465 says:

    “Why so serious?”

    So some jerk (employee or customer) chooses to poison a beautiful display with a prank. Why get so upset? History, that is why. Perceptual distortion. Stranger anxiety.
    First, history. Historically African Americans have been called various animal associated insults–“coons, baboons, monkeys, jungle bunnies, etc.” It is not coincidental that two separate high profile incidents have featured the same. As younger people are seemingly more open minded I would suspect an older person who has been longer poisoned by the bile of racism.

    Perceptual distortion. Even President Obama’s enemies have lauded his intellect.
    Associating him with a monkey takes him a few steps back in terms of evolution and intellect. This may soothe the psyche of those less able to stomach the idea of a Black intelligentsia.

    Stanger anxiety. People fear what they don’t understand. They also fear change.
    This is a time of great fear and unwelcomed change for those unenlightened “few”.

    Ignorance has a way of interfering and derailing positive agendas. While highlighting this effrontery, let us not become divisive and overly circumspect.
    There is work to be done. Positive vibes, all.

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