Barnes et Nobles is one of the greatest inventions of the twentieth century. A large book repository with green carpet and dark wooden shelves, it’s the only ‘big box’ company I know that doesn’t have that sterile big box feel… and the only one with a noble product line which suggests that human passions extend beyond expensive crap, loudness, idiocy and ostenacity.
Imagine my joy, then, when I heard that the Duluth Barnes and Noble was moving to a much larger, ornate space over at Miller Hill Mall (perhaps the only mall named after a sleazy American brewing company). Oh, it was nice before… plenty of books, cozy low ceilings, coffee bar… but how could that compete with a towering, outdoor Castle de Barnes facade, menacing high ceilings, an overpriced but well-stocked cd area, shelving in the computer reference section that rises to an unreachable 20 feet, a BIGGER coffee bar with tea and maybe sandwiches and midget slaves scrubbing the floors, and a stage with happy colors and smiling trees, perfect for reading to children and putting on juxtaposed artistic performances with lots of screaming and nudity.
Nevertheless, I have vowed to boycott Barnes and Noble until they move back into their old space. The store used to be by ShopKo, and since no one shops at ShopKo there was always plenty of parking. Parking at Miller Hill is atrocious, and now with the bookstore it is damned impossible to stick my car anywhere. I circled the lot like a dizzy shark for five minutes and didn’t find a single empty space. It’s not that I couldn’t find a space close to the mall, as I’m always willing to park half a mile away just to avoid the crazy sphere of parking lot lawlessness that occurs near any store or mall. Nay, at Miller Hill there was literally nowhere to park. Not even at a great distance away. This pissed me off to no end, so I just left, which in itself was a complicated navigational endeavor.
So, I stand by my belief that Duluth absolutely rocks, so long as you do not ever need to buy anything. It’s the ultimate town to practice simple living because you honestly won’t want to go through the headaches of shopping.
The groove is now online. Welcome back.