Stuff that really creeps us out:

-- Fat-bottomed spiders discovered perched under a piece of furniture we routinely occupy.

-- Okra, cooked, uncooked or any state between.

-- The waning days of liquidation sales at once-proud businesses.

Rest assured, the list goes on, endlessly. But it’s the latter fright we’re recovering from as we speak.

To be sure, we’re just as inherently ghoulish as the next hungry carnivore when it comes to going-out-of-business sales, unafraid to participate in the final feeding frenzy as the vitals are stripped to the bones, and then the bones are stripped to the marrow.

It’s part of consumer DNA.

Somehow, though, we’ve never been witnesses to the final consumption of the latter element — until now.

We were visiting our twin-city friends to the east, Champaign-Urbana, earlier this week and happened to pass by the north-side Borders we’d frequented on untold dozens of prior visits over the past 15-odd years.

“Final two days!” crowed the placards along the roadway.

“EVERYTHING 90 percent off!”

We’d already witnessed the death throes of our own Borders here in B-N, a casualty of the first wave of closings as the book-selling leviathan was brought to its knees.

But the creep-out factor was eventually too much, even as the percentages rose and the potential for that killer bargain ballooned.

We backed off at around 40 percent, opting out of the mounting blood-simple feeding frenzy that attends these affairs.

This grim spectacle has become a fast-recurring one in recent years, particularly for consumers of endangered physical media.

The roll call seems endless: Coconuts … Virgin Megastore … Tower Records … Circuit City.

One of our favorite destinations in Chicago was the Tower Records in Lincoln Park, site of many a languorous Saturday afternoon spent browsing the chain’s unsurpassed music inventory.

The fact that it encouraged more passive browsing than active purchasing probably says it all.

We encountered Tower’s exit at around 40 percent, then bid adieu before things got ugly.

But death be not proud, right?

So just what DOES a store that’s just hours away from the last death rattle look like?

We pulled into the Champaign Borders for a quick look-see.

There were probably around 15 of us standing upright amid the leveled desolation: empty shelves, barren walls, denuded aisles.

Only the oxygen in the air was left for the taking, and even that seemed to be surviving in limited quantities, another casualty, no doubt, of “EVERYTHING 90 percent off!”

The former café was a void along one side.

Our favorite haunt, the DVD section, was but a memory fast-fading.

The once-busy children’s section was a vacuum.

All that remained were a few forlorn shelving units, and, indignity among indignities, the perhaps three dozen books that no reader wanted, even at the fire-sale level.

The 15-odd spectators to this barren landscape furtively glanced around, as if there were a contagion of consumer shame threatening to take us down —liquidate us, too.

So we high-tailed it out of there.

Death may not be proud, but grant the living a modicum of self-respect.

Dan Craft is Pantagraph entertainment editor. He can be reached at 309-829-9000, Ext. 259 or via email at


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