Wow, a little more than a day and my Facebook group I Will Not Shop At The West Gray Barnes & Noble has 89 members, many of whom were invited by other people. Boy, this whole social networking software thing is gonna be big, isn't it? Okay, so maybe we don't have Weingarten or B&N quaking in their fashionable shoes just yet, but I'm pleased with the results nonetheless. Many thanks to Miya Shay, Houstonist, and Racy Mind for helping the cause.
Two things to add here. One comes from Houstonist's discussion of the nature of my little boycott:
What's the difference between boycotting all Weingarten properties and just the new West Gray Barnes & Noble? Well, it's kind of a fine distinction, but Barnes & Noble is a key player in this deal because the company is agreeing to vacate the Alabama Theater and become an anchor tenant in the replacement River Oaks center -- which means the company is, to some extent, involved in the destruction of both structures. What's more, Houstonist has heard that B&N has been keeping close tabs on public sentiment regarding the move, so we're sure they would be interested in knowing that they're not making any friends in Houston.
Having said all that, my second point is that I don't consider B&N to be bad guys here (well, up to the point where the Alabama Theater gets condemned, I don't). It's fine by me if people continue to patronize other B&N locations. I'm picking on them partly because as Houstonist notes, it's ridiculous to boycott everything Weingarten (for one thing, how would you know what's a Weingarten property; never mind the fact that you'd be hurting innocent parties even more), and partly because for better or for worse, that shiny new B&N-to-be has come to symbolize the demise of the River Oaks Shopping Center. In my fantasy world, the ultimate outcome of all this is that the West Gray B&N is a failure, and the lesson that Weingarten and those like them glean from it is that they should think thrice before messing with perfectly functional historic properties. That may be an impossible dream, but hey, at least I have one.
So that's what this is all about. If you've joined the group, or told others about it, I thank you. Whatever happens from here, I feel like I've done something worthwhile. I'm happy about that.Posted by Charles Kuffner on August 10, 2007 to Elsewhere in Houston