Just when I thought I’d seen it all where Borders is concerned, I discover I’m wrong. Mind you, I’m often wrong, so that’s nothing new. But the audacity of this latest move by the beleaguered bookseller has me wondering just what their top execs are on.
Specifically, I’m referring to this article from the Wall Street Journal. In papers filed with the bankruptcy court, Borders is asking for permission to pay their execs bonuses. Yep, you heard right, they want to reward their execs. Those same execs who helped lead them into bankruptcy.
But it gets worse. We aren’t talking token bonuses. We’re talking a total amount that could add up to something in the neighborhood of more than $8 million, including a bonus for their president, Mike Edwards, in the range of $1.7 million.
So, let’s see, they want to reward these suits — I’ll grant some of them have only been with the company a short time, but they still did not take strong enough steps to save the company from bankruptcy. And, judging by other news in the above-referenced article, they haven’t gotten any better. They have just announced that the distribution center they announced several months ago would be closing isn’t. They’ve called King’s X and have decided to close another distribution center. Sounds to me that they still don’t have a clue about what’s going on.
The justification put forth by Borders is that they need to pay these bonuses to keep the execs in place during the reorganization. It would, according to one of the unsecured creditors, cost more to replace them. If that’s the case, then is there any sense in trying to save the company? If these execs aren’t willing to hang in there — if they don’t believe the company will survive bankruptcy and that they’d have a job on the other side — then why the farce?
Yes, farce. They show no hesitation to mess with people’s lives by closing stores and cutting jobs — including stores that were making profits. Or worse, by telling people they were losing their jobs, so go find another one only to say King’s X later. Yet they don’t bat an eye to ask for additional reward for a job poorly done.
As much as I hate to see any bookstore close, I’m fast losing hope that Borders will survive for long. Even if it manages to come out of bankruptcy, this sort of action will eventually kill it. In the meantime, it is hurting a lot of employees and turning the public even further against it.