There’s nothing like a bean counter when it comes to improving your shopping experience. Take Borders, for example. In their little coffee shop, a captive Seattle’s Best Coffee, they have things to eat. These are not to be confused with food, mind you, especially the bagels.

They used to have bagels that were clearly imported from a real bagel place. They weren’t great but they were really bagels. Now they have round donut-shaped bread things that they bring right from the refrigerator to a counter near you.

Someone at Borders HQ doubtless said, in a very expensive meeting, he said “Now look here. We are paying 40 cents for these bagels we sell, and we’re charging only 75. That’s for plain: in my analysis cream cheese has been factored out. We have to select bagel type and if we get it wrong we don’t sell them at all. We can ship these new Official Borders Plain Bagels from our warehouses in Elbonia, right to the store, for only 35 cents each. Because they are all the same, we’re never out of the kind the idio excuse me customers want. We can up the price to 80 cents, and of course the cream cheese is extra and that’s pure gravy heh heh. Over all our stores, all our customers, and over all time, this will increase our profit on a per-bagel basis to 40 cents. There will be less wastage and we may be able to save even more if our experiments in bread compression work out.”

Some poor bastard in the back of the room may have asked “How do they taste?” If he did, the answer would have been along the lines of “Thanks for your intelligent question, Jensen, it shows real creativity on your part. I guess I wasn’t clear: we will increase our profits here by millions of dollars over the lifetime of the sun.”

Well, Jensen was onto something. These things don’t even look like bagels and I sure as hell don’t intend to taste one.

Another victory for bean counting. And one step closer to the grave for Borders.

I wonder if Amazon can send me bagels …