Thursday, March 5, 2009

Barnes and Noble in Coral Gables FL

Barnes and Noble had this as their store front display in Coral Gables FL in the Miracle Mile Mall.

From The Roland Report:

"My email box has been flooded with emails over the last few weeks regarding a display at a Cora Gables, Fla., Barnes and Noble that has a book about monkeys in the display window with a bunch of books about President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.
Instead of reacting, I reached out to Barnes & Noble to get their take on this, and got the following statement from:
“The photograph being circulated on the Internet was taken by a customer in one of our stores, who maliciously placed an inappropriate title in the center of a display honoring President Obama.
The store immediately removed the title from the display. Barnes & Noble finds this malicious act to be despicable.”
Mary Ellen KeatingSpokespersonBarnes & Noble, Inc.
I wanted Keating or someone else with Barnes & Noble to do my segment on the Tom Joyner Morning Show because them commenting is better than a written statement, but got this response: "Thanks but we are not available."
Now, what does seem suspicious about this photo is that the spot below the monkeys book is empty. I just don't see how a store worker would leave a spot empty on a display. Then the book is smack dab in the middle of all the others.
So, there you have it."

From Sandra Rose:
A Barnes & Noble spokesperson claims a customer placed a book about monkeys in a window where Barack Obama books were on display.
Yeah, sure. Blame it on the customers. It makes you wonder how long it took Barnes & Noble employees to figure out why people were outside snapping pictures of their window display.

"Barnes & Noble would like to publicly apologize for what happened in our Coral Gables, Florida store. We believe that a customer played a cruel joke and placed an inappropriate title in the front window of our store, where we were featuring books written by or about President Obama. We want to assure our customers that the book placed by someone other than our booksellers was never intended to be included in our display and was removed as soon as we became aware of the situation. We are looking into it and are taking the steps necessary so that it does not happen again. From time to time customers will move titles from one area of the store to another. In this particular case, we do not condone whatever message may have been intended with the placement of this title in our Presidential display. It certainly was not part of our merchandising and we regret that we didn’t see the placement of this title immediately." "[LINK]

Another ‘Cruel Joke’ About President Obama
By Stacey Patton
“Sometimes things aren’t always what they seem; the first appearance deceives many; the intelligence of a few perceives what has been carefully hidden . . .” so said Phaedrus, a first century Roman slave and writer of Greek tales.

In recent days, a photograph of a Barnes and Noble book display honoring the inauguration of President Barack Obama has gone viral over the Internet because it prominently includes a book about monkeys with the other titles. The circulation of this photo with calls to boycott the book chain comes in the wake of protests and editorials over a racist cartoon published by The New York Post that featured President Obama as an ape being gunned down by police officers.
But hold on to your wigs and britches folks. Before the NAACP, Rev. Al Sharpton and other concerned citizens pick up signs and start making demands to fire managers and employees or telling consumers to stop buying books from Barnes and Noble, there is another side to the story.
Yes the photo is authentic. And yes the incident did happen at the Coral Gables, Florida store. But it turns out that it was a cruel joke by a customer and not a decision made by the store.
“This was not a company driven decision,” Edgar Chang, the store manager, said in an interview with TheDefendersOnline. “We are not sure how the book got in the window, but we believe it was put there by a customer who didn’t like the fact that Obama won the election.”
The store is located in the Miracle Mile Mall on a busy stretch of highway. The display windows face that highway. While customers walking in or by can clearly see titles in the window, somehow the store’s manager and employees did not notice the monkey book for three or four days.
“We didn’t notice that it was there,” said Chang. “Employees park in the lot in the back of the store. We just put up displays but we never go up to the windows until it’s time to change them.”
Barnes and Noble spokesperson Mary Ellen Keating said that employees were interviewed and there was a thorough investigation of the incident.
“Barnes and Noble would certainly not do something like this,” Keating said. “We put up a display to honor President Obama. Once we discovered this, four days later, it was immediately removed.”
Keating said that the store deals with similar types of pranks on any given day. From time to time customers will move titles from one area of the store to another. In a statement issued to the media Keating wrote: “I’ve seen situations where someone put a book about sex in the children’s section,” she said. “In this particular case, we do not condone whatever message may have been intended with the placement of this title in our Presidential display. It certainly was not part of our merchandising and we regret that we didn’t see the placement of this title immediately.”
The story continues to grow and spread like a virus through cyberspace, with e-blasts and accusations that Barnes & Noble is racist. Some are calling for boycotts and firing of employees.
The incident has prompted the bookseller to consider ways to secure its display window so there won’t be a similar episode again. This is a classic example of how rumors spread in cyberspace, sparking strong reactions and often gathering support without thorough fact-finding or asking deeper questions. As a result, people can be misinformed, tensions can be inflamed and our attention can be diverted from the more serious, substantive issues of the day.

Stacey Patton is Senior Editor/Writer for TheDefendersOnline and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

After reading this post I immediately sent the following message to Barnes & Nobles.
By Email
Your mail was sent to Customer Service at 3/5/2009 8:02:03 PM. By Phone
Call our Customer Service Center at 1-800-THE-BOOK (1-800-843-2665).
International customers should call us at 201-272-3651.

Message: Some one at BN needs to issue a statement distancing BN from any references, or insinuations to President Barack H. Obama as a monkey as is suggested in the photo at this link. I did a search on the BN Book site and went through 10 pages of results. This book on Monkeys did not show up in the search. That means it wasn't a Top Seller, Special Edition, Limited Edition, or any other unique category. This leaves me to believe that it was deliberately placed in the display simply to disparage (to depreciate by indirect means (as invidious comparison) : speak slightingly about)the president. Thank your for your time and attention. FDBIII Chesapeake VA