Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Good old Landmark

I went on a buying spree of kids books in Chennai. I started out with the Oxford Bookstore on Haddows Road. It opened a while ago but I hadn't found the time to visit as yet, plus I had a gift certificate that I needed to redeem before it expired.

Well the store is supposedly 3 storeys but one storey was a cafe and the second was the cashier. So that left only the 3rd storey which was approximately 600 sq ft. The selection of kids books was extremely poor especially for pre-schoolers. The staff were completely incompetent. The cashier had no idea how to work the register, nor how to use my gift certificate. The remaining 4 guys on the staff - 2 were giggling over some book, one guy was scratching himself and the 4th was browsing magazines!! It was ridiculous. I spent 45 minutes just waiting at the register!

From there I went to the Crosswords bookstore on Venkatnarayana Road in T Nagar. They too had a tiny bit of floor space, a miserable selection of books, and were bizarre-ly incompetent at the checkout line. I was the only one there and yet no one even asked if I needed help or cared the least bit about expediting my bill. I spent another 1/2 hour trying to get my bill. They too had a whole section devoted to a cafe!

Needless to say, I was extremely disappointed. As my friend wisely said "the new bookstores are all style and no substance".

It was back to good old Landmark, where I found everything I was looking for. The only thing I feel Landmark should change is their huge amount of time, energy and money devoted to selling knick-knacks like costume jewelry and random "gift articles". But then, maybe the teenagers these days need a place to go buy sweet-nothings for their significant others. Landmark's selection of books, CDs and DVDs though is top-notch.

The other small but significantly impressive stores are Giggles (in the Taj Connemara hotel) and the book shop at the Taj Coromandel hotel. Tiny stores that ooze substance!


Diane said...

I was just in Chennai for the first time and since my hosts were about four blocks from Landmark spent all my time there - I cam back with a HAUL of cookbooks!

Found your site through Dining Hall. Are you in Chennai or San Francisco? I live in SF, but try to visit India whenever I can (even though I'm not Desi at all). I look forward to reading more about Chennai as I'm sure I will be back there soon.

Best of luck with the blog - cheers!

Arundathi said...

Hi Diane: Thanks for stopping by. I love Landmark too! I hope you had a lovely visit to Chennai. I live here now - we moved back about a year ago from SF. Still miss San Fran though! :) Whereabouts do you live? We lived in Pac Heights and then moved south to Burlingame.

I hope to give you more interesting stuff about Chennai! And visit anytime!

Diane said...

I live in Berkeley now, but lived in Pacific Heights for 14 years.

I liked Chennai a great deal, but found it a bit overwhelming (noise, traffic, etc). Next time I hope to feel more "grounded" by my previous exposure to it, so I will not have to spend all my time figuring out logistics. One hopes...

And the Tamil Nadu coast is beautiful.

I'll be checking your blog periodically for news of the area.