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Barnes And Noble Member Cardmember card

As of april 2009, barnes & noble has begun threatening its employees with job termination if they fail to meet a strict quota of "member card" sales. The quota is a percentage based on the number of cash register transactions the employee handles in course of a month (Managers, of course, are immune from this requirement). This nonetheless creates an imbalance and unfairness, as not all employees receive the same number of hours per month, nor the same number of hours at the cash registers, which means that a full-time employee who rarely ever touches the cash registers is relatively safe, whereas a part-time employee who is frequently assigned to cash registers will be in certain danger of losing their job should they fail to convince enough customers to pay $25 for a 12-month membership that only offers 10% off purchases (20% off adult hardcovers). This will count against the employee, even if the customer is only buying a gift card (Which does not receive a discount from the membership) , or even if the customer is just passing through town and happened to stop in for a newspaper. Essentially, the livelihood of the employees is now directly based on the whims of the customers, rather than on personal performance. Employees are also encouraged to convince customers to renew the membership (Repay the $25) even before the full 12-months have expired; during the last month that the member card is active, the cash register prompts the employee to push for a renewal, which if accepted effectively reduces the membership period from 12 to 11 months, on average.

At b&n, one of the stated priorities of customer service is fast cashiering. This is contradicted, however, by the present practice of requiring cashiers to sale as many member cards to as many customers as possible, to ask each and every customer if they would like to purchase gift cards, and to ask each and every customer for their email address.

So remember, b&n customers, if you say "no" to purchasing a member card, you are jeopardizing that cashier's employment. And remember, if you don't like this policy, please complain to the corporate headquarters of b&n - not to the cashier.


  • Ka
    Karen Korwal Aug 02, 2017
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I'm disgusted with Barnes & Noble now, especially after reading some of the comments here, but I'm writing this in response to my visit to one of the stores yesterday. I went in just to browse and find a book or two on certain subjects. I was accosted by no less than EIGHT -- 8 -- staff persons, asking me if they could help me find anything, how was my day going, what was interesting that I'd found to read (I was leafing through a book I'd only just picked up), etc. etc. I got tired of it and put in my earbuds, which didn't stop them! One staffperson interrupted me with, "Hey, how are you today?" and when I didn't answer, she LEANED DOWN INTO MY FACE AND REPEATED THE QUESTION. Um, stupid sh**, I'm wearing headphones and looking at a book. I don't need you inquiring about my day! I'm in a freaking bookstore -- where, last I checked, people come to browse books! Not be hounded by every staff person in sight, every few feet, every few minutes. It was worse than being on a used car lot!!

    After 45 minutes of this, I finally just grabbed up the book I'd picked up (without even knowing if I really wanted to buy it, since I hadn't been given a chance to look through it and see if it fit my needs) and headed for the cashier. There I encountered yet more salesy tactics, trying to sell me the ubiquitous Membership, which I used to have but dropped because it's not worth the cost. I politely told the cashier no, thank you, and she came back with the "You'd be saving X dollars on today's purchase!" then when I didn't take the bait, proceeded to ask for my email. I said I was already on the list. She said, "Well, it pops up every time anyway, so why don't you give it to me?" WTF??!! I again declined, and she said, "Well, let's get you signed up right now!" I was seriously so over it. I wanted to literally just punch her in the face -- what part of "NO" do you not understand???

    My experience yesterday completely ruined my afternoon. I'd already left work that morning because I was not feeling well, and I'd hoped a nice relaxing visit to B&N would result in me finding a book or two to go home and lie down and read. Instead, I left there more agitated and with an even worse headache than when I went in.

    Now I remember why I shop Amazon for books.

    -1 Votes
  • Jh
    jhskjfb May 27, 2014


    0 Votes
  • Bo
    Booklover Nov 07, 2010

    In terms of working retail, Barnes and Noble is not the worst. It's up there with its [censor] pay and the customers can sometimes drive you crazy, but working in a bookstore is a great experience. Well, it was. The company was okay to work for up until last year when a certain e-book reader came out. We're now an electronics retailer and people bugger instead of booksellers. We annoyed customers before with the constant mention of the membership (depending on the customers needs, I will admit, it can be a great way of saving $, BUT it is not for everyone) Every time I come in contact with a customer I'm required to mention this awful e-book reader and when I do, I have to hear everyone's opinion on it. Working at BN has become life draining. EVERYTHING revolves around the e-book reader. At one point this year we were told that if we didn't sell a certain amount of these awful contraptions by a certain date, we would be terminated. I long for the old days when all I had to ado was ask customers about the memberships. We now have list taped to our registers of things we HAVE TO mention. This list has no less than 5 items on it and yet we're still required to do fast cashiering. I can see and many times hear the customers frustrations day after day as they have to listen to me ask them a dozen questions. It's not easy being stuck in the middle and it doesn't make for a positive work or shopping environment. Not too mention that you will be forced to quit your job or fired, if for any reason you want to see your family for the holidays. Unfortunately it's close to impossible to find other jobs in this ridiculous economy that are any different, so I'm trapped in my own personal retail hell. If by chance you are considering a job at Barnes and Noble, turn and run. If you're a customer, please take it easy on the employees, they're just doing their job.

    0 Votes
  • Va
    valogirl Oct 20, 2010
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I have worked for Barnes & Noble for justover a year now, and must say that this is by far the BEST job I have ever had in my 34 years on this earth. People who are upset at the membership goals are angry simply because they have no idea how to approach the customers. I have managed to become trained in every aspect of the store because I value my job and the experience the customers receive. I guess some people think because it is a bookstore, it isn't going to be challenging work. Well you guys are wrong. There is much more to selling books, than just selling books. Bottom line is if you want an easy ride, go work somewhere else. Barnes & Noble is wonderful to it's employees, and I for one am thankful to have found a job that cares as much as they do.

    -1 Votes
  • Wh
    Whatev!!! Aug 20, 2010

    all of you guys who are complaining sound like really slow cashiers and the kind of employees where your coworkers roll their eyes when they see you on the schedule (DAS) on their shift. Its always the same lame-o's that need "back up" all the time, and never get any better b/c they stay lazy and they know that some other smart, fast, coworker is going to pick up the slack for them.

    0 Votes
  • Bn
    BNbitch Dec 17, 2009

    I am a BN bookseller and have been employed with them for 2 yrs now.The policy on selling memberships is that you should be able to sell 1 within 30 transactions. Every 30 transactions are viewed as an opportunity to sell and should result in a sale.
    The discount is 10% on paperbacks, childrens books, bargain, newspapers and magazines.It is 20% for hardcover adult books and 40% for hardcover adult bestsellers.
    If you normally spend 200.00 a year on books, mags, cafe items and music and dvd you could have paid for a membership and gotten substantial discounts.However that is not the point of my post.It is undue pressure on the employee.We must stay within a ratio of 1.85% of memberships to sales for the whole year or we will not receive the bountiful .25 per hour raise in October when we are evaluated.
    During the holidays now the push is on to sell gift card ( little or no cost to BN to produce but look at the potential revenue) and of course to sell the Nook e reader at $259.00 no member discount.
    BN is a retail store- forget ambience, forget knowledgeable employees as long as the clientele can come in and say" I saw this book 2 weeks ago here on a table- don't remember the title exactly and don't know the author's name... where did you guys put it now?" Or better yet " where are the fiction books?" ( signs all over showing where and what direction to go in)

    -1 Votes
  • Ji
    Jim500 Nov 21, 2009

    I will visit their stores to browse physical books, but I will no longer purchase anything from Barnes & Noble unless the item is not available anywhere else on the planet. Why? Here are my reasons:

    1) I got sick to death of being asked about whether I have the 10% discount card and, when I say "no", being asked if I would like to save 10% today... When I say "no" to that question, the cashier sometimes goes further and says "You would save $7.34 if you use the card today". When I say no again, they sometimes ask why I wouldn't like to save 10%? (They NEVER mention that the card will cost me $25, is good only for one year, and that I must spend $250 on books during the year just to break-even on my 10% membership purchase.)

    2) I find that the cashiers are simply not friendly. They seem to have an arrogant attitude that they are somehow doing you a favor by allowing you to purchase items from the store. I once purchased $184.65 at one time (around Christmas) and did not get a "thank you" or any other words of appreciation from the cashier. All she said after handing me my receipt is "Next!". That was my last purchase at B&N.

    3) I think it is ridiculous that the store lets people camp-out on chairs to do homework or surf the internet using some sort of cell signal. When I go to the store, I would like to sit and browse books I am considering purchasing. Now I have to do that in the aisle while standing. This is another reason I don't buy from B&N--I rarely stay in the store very long once I have found what I think I need. Then I buy it more cheaply online from Amazon or other such online retailer.

    4) I got sick of hearing people being taken advantage of by the cashier. I once saw a 15-year old buying a greeting card (she was in front of me in line). The cashier did the whole "would you like a membership card routine" with this girl and I think the girl was too shy/uninitiated to say "no". Can you believe she paid $25 plus the cost of a greeting card to get 10% off? I really doubt this girl had any clue about the math and that she likely would not break-even on the discount card in one year's time (in other words, it was a poor purchase idea). In my opinion, B&N is knowingly duping its customers. They certainly KNOW that most people will never realize the benefit of the card by exceeding the card's purchase price, so unwary, gullible customers are simply handing money over to the B&N Fat Cats.

    5) I found that prices are always cheaper online even though B&N has an excellent collection of value-priced hardcover and coffee-table books.

    6) I think the staff are not so knowledgeable. When the music department "manager" has never heard of Andrew Lloyd Webber, one has to wonder…

    -- Jim

    -1 Votes
  • Ma
    MAR3 Oct 16, 2009

    And I want to add that the vast majority of B&N 'booksellers' have been some of the nicest cashiers I've met in my life! Consisently top in smiles, friendliness, helpfulness and -- calmness with not-so-calm customers. It's saddening that this kind of pressure is being added to their job.

    0 Votes
  • Ma
    MAR3 Oct 16, 2009

    Everytime I go to Barnes & Noble, this is pushed on me. By the 15th time you've shopped there, you've either decided to have a card or not. I decided not -- because, as the OP pointed out -- a 10% discount is nothing these days. You'd have to spend $250 for sure in a year to get any value. Not only do I just shop the bargain areas (with rare exception, ) sometimes I leave with nothing.

    My most recent visit to my formerly favorite B&N was so creepy I put down the books I wanted to buy and left. What had happened? Half their shelves were empty! There were large 50% off clearance bins, which, as far as I know, B&N doesn't do. The kid's section (decorated nicely) and the music section (with the earphones etc, fancy) and the cafe were all business as usual. But the book store was so barren, it was scary.

    What is going on with B&N? I guess this forces us to go to the nauseous mall. *Sigh* The economy is ruining everything.

    This same kind of pressure to get 'recruits' is happening with pyramid schemes. "Recruit or die."

    I was actually thinking of breaking down and getting the discount card this year because of an increase in income. But once I saw my favorate store -- evaporating -- I chickened. Who knows if B&N will even be around in 2010?

    0 Votes
  • Br
    bravenewworld Sep 20, 2009

    The most recent Barnes and Noble policy towards memberships is that they expect that a bookseller (part-time)or lead position bookseller (ie. full time employee 35 to 371/2 hrs wk.)
    is expected to sell 5% of their purchasing customers a membership card. There is high pressure by management to fulfill that goal and it is intimated that non-fulfillment of that goal will reflect poorly on a booksellers performance rating. Furthermore, the renewal percentage is 2% of register sales and is even more difficult to achieve than the new membership rating for the simple fact sales percentages for new memberships are only based on non-membership customers whereas renewals are NOT contingent on just those renewals that expire for the current month but rather all membership-holding customers. If you bought a membership card today and went to the store next week to make another purchase this would be considered a renewal possibility and subsequently count against the booksellers cashwrap performance. Obviously renewal possibilities well before the 12th month expiration date are nil unless the customer is stupid, coerced, or lied to. What would be fair would be that only those renewal statistics that occur in the expiration month should count against the bookseller, which is already tracked by the store's software since a warning box pops up to let the cashwrap person know that the membership card will expire that month.

    However, as draconian as the new policy is. it is still better than the previous policy which was that every bookseller, whether they had access to the register or not, sell one membership card every hour of their shift. That would be 7 memberships for every seven hours worked and 35 memberships per week, a figure that even head cashiers (who work a full time shift only behind the register) would find near impossible to meet. Furthermore the bookseller is supposed to sell $200 in gift cards per full time shift and upsell the customer with additional books or cafe items (if they work the cafe), put up monthly promotions, shelve new books, scan for book returns, and do customer service in a work environment that is purposely structured to get by with a minimum of employees per shift one can see that being a B&N employee is a a task worthy of Sisiphus.
    And if sales fall such that the ratio of hourly sales to employee hours is less than targeted by the home office the number of employee hours is cut only puts the bookseller between a rock and a hard place.

    FInally, the new Bookmaster software is able to tell the bookseller/manager the titles of the books a membership customer has bought for the last 60 days. Ostensibly this is to
    allow the manager to make decisions regarding book returns by customers who have lost their receipt. However this information collaterally identifies membership customers with certain personal trends in buying that skirts that customer's right to privacy and leads to possible personalized e-mail advertising utilizing such information.
    With the current 9/11 Homeland Security issues concerning the (mis)use of library card data Barnes and Noble is currently treading Orwellian waters with this new compilation of customer data.

    0 Votes
  • Gr
    Gryph0n Aug 19, 2009

    Perhaps your experience is different, but in my store employee's names and conversion percentage for both new memberships and renewals are posted in the breakroom. Target conversion rates are posted, and those employees who meet the goals have their names highlighted. We've even have had ugly notes from the SM (store manager) stating that "We can do better than this!" or "This is part of your review!"

    No serious attempt has been made on the part of management to explain how we are supposed to do fast cashiering when there are twelve people in line, one cashier, one bookseller on the floor, and the sole manager is helping out in the cafe'.

    Customers who have been standing in line for five minutes don't want to be redirected to the Music dept to stand in another line, and they definitely don't want to hear the cashier explain the benefits of the membership card to every person in line.

    What's more, cashiers are penalized when this situation occurs: A customer comes up to the cash wrap and asks the cashier to look up a membership card by phone number. When the cashier looks up the card and informs the customer that the card has expired, the cashier is supposed to encourage the customer to renew the card. Often, the card does not belong to the customer, but to a friend or relative. Still, the cashier is penalized for failing to renew the card.

    0 Votes
  • Ladydiana Jul 11, 2009

    I have never heard of that either. I have been working for Barnes & Noble for two years. I worked for and we do not make our customers buy a Membership. When customer calls to cancel, we do not even ask why, we just cancel it. Now I am at retail cusotmer service. I have heard they have games on who sells the most Membership but never fire someone for not selling enough. Maybe that Store Manager had a such rule. However, employees at that store should speak up.

    0 Votes
  • An
    AnonymousFellow Jul 04, 2009

    I am not going to be cowed into buying BN membership when at my most I buy maybe 3 or 4 magazines, a DVD and a book in any given year, if they want to hang the threat of termination over its lowly paid and poorly treated cashiers, that is their fault not mine. I for one see much folly in paying money for the premise of saving in a store I so rarely shop at.

    0 Votes
  • Bi
    billiejoeisevil Jun 24, 2009

    I have worked for Barnes and Noble for years, and I have never heard of such a policy. At my store, there is no pressure to sell memberships. There has never once been mention of a potential termination if an employee does not sell enough cards, and there certainly has never been a stated quota of any kind. Perhaps this is standard practice in select stores, but it is absolutely not a company-wide practice. Not sure where you got your info, but be assured that not every B&N does this.

    0 Votes

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