When going to Borders at the Domain

I recommend:

  • looking at the mall’s plan/map online OR
  • taking Braker, NOT the Mopac access road.

We did neither and went in the opposite end of the “mall”, followed the signs that said Borders was on the right, parked in the garage by Neiman Marcus, found a directory that showed us we were at the wrong end, and ended up parking in another parking garage that was a little closer to the only store we would go to at the Domain.

The Borders location is improved over the older location by the arboretum. It now has two floors, feels more open, and seems to have more shelfspace. Also, there is a ginormous parking lot smack in front of it.

For those who might complain that I should shop locally and go to BookPeople, it’s just about as logical for me to go to Borders, as they are about equidistant from me. I love BookPeople, but I hate driving downtown. Honestly, I prefer Half Price Books over both of those stores, but you can’t go there with any specific expectations.

Nowadays I seem to buy more books online off of half.com or Amazon than from actual physical bookstores. When I do want to go to a bookstore, Borders is my favorite. And now I know that I don’t even have to deal with the crazy SUV drivers in the Domain proper; I can just park on what is now the northern end of it (until they add more properties there).

But the ultimate theme of this post should be: I frickin’ can’t stand the overall feel of this new Domain. It’s too Houston or Dallas for me. If Borders wasn’t now there, I would ignore its existence. I prefer my malls full of gawky teenagers, listening to their iPods and walking extremely slowly, with 1/3 of the store spaces empty because of past failed businesses.

Oh, who am I kidding? I just can’t stand malls in general.



Filed under Austin, literature, reading

14 responses to “When going to Borders at the Domain

  1. Trying to make this as non-attacking as I can but probably failing:

    Not liking to drive downtown enough that you’d skip BookPeople is the thing in this whole article which sounds the most Houstony or Dallasish to me. That, and the excitement about a ginormous parking lot – both of those things are very very suburban in mindset, which is where Houston and Dallas really shine – giant metropolii of suburbanness.

  2. E

    It’s as much the traffic downtown as the mileage for me. I also normally wouldn’t be excited about a huge waste of space like a parking lot, but not in this situation.

    I wondered how long it would take you to comment, M1EK! =)

  3. I wanted to run into Borders, didn’t realize they’d moved, went to the Domain, sat in traffic, and realized that they had in fact perfected a manufactured downtown, traffic jams and all. It seems unlikely I’ll ever drop into Borders again as it now needs to be a planned excursion. Oh well, I’m with you that half-price books is the better bet.

  4. Spencer

    I agree with James. The previous location was on a frontage road (I understand your aversion to frontage roads, M1EK, and I’m not trying to pick a debate), and it was easy to zip in and out. There are certainly worse development ideas than the Domain, but if Borders is the only reason I need to go there, you can bet I’ll head somewhere else. Even B&N at the Arboretum seems more reasonable than the Domain, convenience-wise. Now, if BookPeople would only open a north location…

  5. Well *I* appreciate the post. I live up here, and we used to go to the old Borders all the time. We far prefer it over B&N…ugh. Ugh to the entire Arboretum — B&N is the only reason we go in there, and the Borders move is the only reason we go to B&N. Borders is just so much, I don’t know, less plasticky than B&N. To me. Can’t explain why.

    But I’ve been scared off by the layout of this stupid Domain place, not to mention all the stores I’ll never shop at. But…since you make it sound easy enough, I shall endeavor to get to Borders next time.

    As for shopping locally, we spend plenty of time at 1/2 Price as well. Believe me, it’s the *best* place to get parenting books. They invariably have about 5 copies of whatever book I’m looking for.

    Incidentally, I grew up in Houston, and yes, the Domain is totally Houston-y. Yuck.

  6. Again, the aversion to going downtown because of traffic is the most Houstony or Dallasish thing I can think of. This means you effectively have decided to live in (and now, rarely leave) Plano, in other words.

  7. Why is not wanting to waste time in traffic Houstony or Dallasish? And I’m not so sure that north Austin = Plano, either.

  8. E

    To each his own, M1EK. I don’t feel the need to defend my actions any more, given that this is my blog. =)

  9. I think going to Borders over going downtown to Book People is very defensible, even on traffic grounds.

    I just think on the scale of things that are Houstony or Dallasish, being that both are suburban megalopolises (even in their centers), being that concerned about a bit more time in traffic is way higher on the list than fancier-than-typical stores; especially stores with apartments on top which at least make a baby step towards encouraging people to walk a bit more.

    Everybody seems to have their own definition of what’s like Houston and why that’s bad; and in this case obviously two of the common definitions even directly conflict. I just thought only one perspective was being emphasized here and it was quite likely those emphasizing it didn’t even have any idea of the controversy. (Plus, you posted this to austinbloggers, inviting comment!)

  10. Daddy

    The best solution of all for some of us would be for any bookstore to locate at Mueller. Anyone in NE Austin must travel a distance of some sort to get to a decent bookstore. The same can be said for Mangia’s and other homegrown restaurants that tend to stay to the west of IH 35. Being out of Austin most of the time, I have yet to visit the Domain, and from Leah and E’s description may wait a while (though I might go if I can find the Apple store easily).

  11. I went to the new Borders a few days after it opened, and I also noticed that if you didn’t enter via Braker you were Doomed.

    Borders has the best selection of audio books that I’ve found.

    I can’t imagine why anyone would encourage someone to drive downtown if a local store was closer, just for the glory of downtown.

    More driving, more time waiting, more hassel parking. All of it is destroying the earth.

    Far better to locate stores near where people live.

    Of course in a couple of years you can buy a house in Leander, walk to the train station, ride the train to Braker and Mopac, and walk over to Borders. You’ll get valuable exerise and save the earth in the bargin! (Just kidding, M1Ke).

  12. Jim,

    Like many people, you’re mixing up the UP rail line (which goes very near the Domain on its west side) with the CM line (which does not – it’s a mile or so to the east, running between Burnet and Metric).

  13. Keifer

    Wanna preface this with one thing: I am NOT a class warrior, I haven’t a care in the world for what’s ‘hip’ or not, and I’m pro-capitalism. So, here I go.
    I worked at the North Austin Borders for about a year and a half.
    Part of what made it bearable was that mixed in with the rude, wanna-be-high-rollin’, rich(ish), Arboretum lovin’, running away from age, SUV driving, gas price jacking moms (whew), there were a few unique, educated, polite individuals frequenting the store who were often seen shopping in the Science section (GASP) rather than Self-Help, Fad Diet, or Trash Mag sections. Sorry for the worlds longest run-on sentence. My point is that the concentration of genuine, book-loving brain feeders will have gone down substantially with the move.
    Don’t let the ‘earthiness’ fool you, Borders is a mega corporation like any other. Their staff (as well as B&N’s) work much harder than you might expect, for faaar too little compensation. The company refused to shell out any money to that 183/Great Hills location for updated/more efficient equipment, extra employees, or extra hourly pay. So with 4 people working in the whole gargantuan floor (Cafe included), I frequently found myself RUNNING from Music Info, to the Cafe for 15 minutes to make drinks and help the lonely employee cut the line down, to the register to do the same for the single person working there, to customer service, and on and on. As you might guess, at each location there was a line of frustrated, disgruntled customers. Despite the supposed “Open Door” corporate policy (whereby employees from the lowest rung are supposed to be able to contact anyone in the whole chain of command, all the way up to the CEO), there were a lot of loops to jump through even if you might wanna throw some suggestions to the district manager. I guess that’s just retail, though. Sorry for the length of this, I’ve been trying to get all of that out for about a year.
    So, if you have the extra time, take the bus to Half Price, Book People, etc. If you must go to Borders or B&N, let those lowly peon book/music/cafe employees know that you appreciate their help, if they do a good job.

  14. Keifer

    Also, I wanna say sorry. I just realized after my rambling that none of what I just wrote has much to do with what any of you were talking about. Umm…enjoy your weekend!