Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Quick Links

Your ever-so handy, cut-out and keep list of links pertinent to the current shenanigans, very kindly compiled and listed by Olly - much thanks, mate.

The story goes national

Had the unusual experience this afternoon of modeling in Princes Street near my former bookshop for two broadsheet newspapers, the Scotsman and the Guardian, both of whom had contacted me independently after coming across the story (which is thanks to the many people who have been discussing it - Great Zarquon I've had emails from Canada, America, South America, Europe, Australia and even from China), so if you are in the UK you know which papers to look in and if you are outside then the links above will take you to the online versions of both.

They requested photographs, hence my modeling in a very windy Princes Street this afternoon, much to the bemusement and amusement of passers-by (well, we always aim to entertain here too) and curious looks from a few former colleagues through the window. I had prepared a cover story just in case - since so many magazines have been criticised for contributing to eating disorders through the use of painfully thin models, this was a reaction. Ladies and gentlemen, the new fashion model for Beer Drinker's Monthly, sponsored by the Caledonian Brewery (I wish). The pull-out centrefold is, alas, just to fit in my tummy and my big mouth. I am a trifle worried about how many chins will be visible, but soldiered on nonetheless

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

this sickens me
i will not be going to waterstones again
i will urge others to boycott until such time as the person responsible for your dismissal is sacked and you are paid compensation.

waterstones is going under

11:28 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

Just an idea, but have you considered signing up for something like Amazon's Associates or something similar? If you did, I know I would be happy to buy stuff through your link that I would have got from Waterstone's thus helping you make some kind of earnings from a boycott. Just a thought, and feel free to ignore it if it doesn't appeal.

11:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just saw your story in the Guardian. I think it's a disgrace and feel that Waterstone have really let themselves down in this matter. I hope everything works out for you.


12:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My deepest sympathies, and it is extraordinary that Waterstone's did not forsee that this bad publicity would spiral out of control.

I can only assume that, by sacking you, their original intention was to set out the permissable limits of online employee dissent. Could they not understand that the internet's porosity which allows such dissent also spreads ensuing adverse publicity like wildfire. Companies cannot expect to silence brouhaha with terms and conditions.

- John
- (jhan att globixNOSPAMhost dott com)

2:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Best of luck in winning your job back. If they've got any sense at all, they'll sack poor Evil Boss in the bargain.

And while I haven't got the cachet of Cory Doctorow or Neal Gaiman yet, I have posted your story on my blog, "Notes from the Metaverse," http://radio.weblogs.com/0124049

To the person who wanted to buy at Amazon instead of Waterstone's: That's probably self-defeating, since Amazon runs Waterstone's website!

in solidarity,

Mike McCallister
(US) National Writers Union

3:54 AM  
Blogger Dr Mummy said...

Joe, they don't deserve to have you back. You win your job back and then tell them to shove it up their arse. Then you get yourself a job with a newspaper or radio station promoting freedom of speech, literature, whatever. What a bunch of wankers.

4:19 AM  
Blogger Seitherin said...

Scotsman.com and Guardian Unlimited both have their atricles up.

I'm also an insignificant blogger who's doing my small part to offer support. If I lived in the UK, I'd definitely boycott Waterstone's. Unfortunately, I'm just an ol' Texas gal and I doubt Waterstone's would give two figs about my opinion.

5:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Absolutely disgusting, but unfortunately a sign of the times. I recently searched through and removed any refernece to my employers when I spotted a robot from the company checking through my blog every 8 hours with surprising regularity.
Not a word has been spoken by anybody at the company but in preempting fate I may have been lucky in avoiding a similar fate.
I too have just read your plight on guardian.co.uk and look forward to meeting others who might be reading this in the 'employment law' or maybe 'media' section of Borders one day soon.
Tony - www.southofsanity.co.uk

8:48 AM  
Blogger MB said...

As an anonymous work blogger, I know how you must feel. I wake up in cold sweats thinking about the day when this will happen to me.

Waterstones look like complete prats. I agree with Dr Mummy - us Doctors stick together ;) - get your job back then tell them to shove it.

Anyway, you have my sympathy and if there is anything I can do to help, please let me know.

9:29 AM  
Blogger Philip said...

Joe -- you don't know me, and you're unlikely to have heard of me unless you keep an eye on some very obscure shallows of the SF authorship pond. I've been following this story with nervous interest, though, and have mentioned it on my own blog, Peculiar Times. It's good to see it now getting the national coverage it deserves. The Guardian's story in particular makes Waterstones look like complete arses.

Good luck with the appeal, or with finding alternative employment elsewhere if that's what you decide to do (and God knows, I would).

Phil Purser-Hallard

9:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your story made me angry on so many levels, but I really think you will come out of this on top. As an independent bookshop owner I would love to offer you a job but unfortunately the likes of bastardstones and other big boys have wrecked our living!

Much love to you and I think your photo is lovely!!!!!


10:33 AM  
Blogger nic said...

I have to comment - this is despicable. I love Waterstone's and to find them acting like this unbelievable.

May I never darken their doors until you are re-instated.

Ottakars here I come!

10:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's bloody awful, how can they get away with it, for what its worth I will be boycotting waterstones here in dublin till your reinstatement(ok its only about 5 to 10 books a year)

10:57 AM  
Blogger Martin B said...

INTERESTING. Being that Waterstones is the closest thing to Right-Wing church chain Blockbuster in the States.

Lemons into Lemonade? - "Borders (insert store name) supports free speech, Hires sacked Waterstones employee" - WHAT a marketing handout.

who's your agent? *smile*

Here's total support from most of us at Univ. of Edinburgh Msc. Creative Writing.


New Yorker In Edinburgh

11:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don`t let them get away with it. Good Luck


11:53 AM  
Blogger twp said...

I've just moved from New York to London. I've considered shopping at Waterstone's as I am an avid reader, but after this, I will certainly boycott them. I've forwarded the Guardian article to all of my friends, fellow bloggers and believers of free speech in the states. Please let us know if you need letters written or calls made. Best of luck.

12:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I totally sympathise with you.

I used to work for Waterstone's, just at weekends while I was in sixth form to earn some extra cash. Once I was in a 'disciplinary' for being not early enough (I was only 1 minute early for work, good god!). Another time I was given a formal written warning for leaving my boss a note asking him for a day off 3 weeks in advance. I think he was pissed that I didn't get down on my knees.

Bastardstone's indeed.

12:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hard luck chief, i too will be boycotting waterstones after this. what a bunch of *******. keep up the good work and i'll be in there to give the sandal wearing toss pot the message next time im in town.


12:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hang on in there, kin like.

1:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love Waterstones, ot ar least I did until I read this. Another example of corporate mentality thinking they can control us OUTSIDE our 'professional' lives. I wish you all the best matey, and hope they grovel like dogs to take you back, with a whopping pay rise.

1:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're daft, fancy posting something against your work and boss, then being all surprised when they don't like it! You had to expect some reaction when you comment online. I'm for employee's rights but you have to take some responsibility in this case.

1:09 PM  
Blogger R. Armytage said...

Just read about your plight, and as Director of a business, who also blogs, I am shocked and disgusted with the actions of Waterstones. I promote blogging to all my staff, and if I could MAKE them blog, I would.

A couple of weeks ago I spent £30 in Waterstones, and it will be the last time I set foot in one of their stores.

Don't take your job back, let the bastards rot. But what about a petition for a full, unequivocal apology? Meanwhile this story needs to go viral. A link will be published from my blog of course.

1:18 PM  
Blogger ~J~ said...

Just seen the story on BBC Joe. Awful. I can't see why they think you would have brought the name into disrepute, your 'blogging' was not mallicious or damaging but purely factual.

Best of luck with your appeal.

1:20 PM  
Blogger MalcolmX said...

Waterstones is sinking!

This is VERY bad publicity for Waterstones - and yes, I do expect them to suffer financially. To the point of takeover.

To lose the support of previously loyal customers, in the present economy of internet sellers and supermarket muscle, is fatal.

Waterstones have handled this VERY badly and have one option only - offer reinstatement / compensation. If they don't do this, they know they are going under anyway and are simply toughing it out, for the best takeover deal. Mark my words.

As a regular customer (until today) of Waterstones, I have been unimpressed by the decline in anbiance and true customer service, with insulting attempts at 'up selling' totally failing to work on me. Offending customer intelligence may be ok in fast food businesses but not in book selling. Waterstones' Management - you have got it wrong! Very wrong.

I only bought books in store, as opposed to on-line, to support the book business. As of today, Amazon here I come, with all my money.

Ex Waterstone customers join me, show the power of the customer, vote with your feet, and walk out the store.

Best of luck Joe - I wish you well!

ps - I was a regular in Edinburgh Waterstones. Book stores need cafes associated, and a good "mood", late night opening and music - See the USA bookstores for a way to compete with internet sales.

1:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How f**k**g stupid can Waterstones get? Sounds like heads we lose, tails you win from W's corner. Here in the land of the free [Oz, not 'Merka] a timber logging company, Gunns, are suing environmentalists for $20 million for defaming them...wait for it...for being critical of them...cutting down trees! Apparently it "hurt their business interests".
Good luck and long live free speech.
Gaunyersel' bigman. Hamish.

1:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blogger sacked (by Waterstone's) for sounding off


1:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding the comment above saying you are daft - I think they should have a long hard think about what they wrote.

I don't see why people can't say whatever the hell they like about their employer outside working hours. To say that you can't express yourself about your employer/bos etc. in public is nonsense.

Are we employees or whores? Is your life not your own outside work? Must we sing the company song when we leap from bed and pray for the company before we go to sleep at night?

Even leaving all this to one side your comments on work and your boss are FAR from objectionable - just seems like light hearted banter to me and the odd bit of groaning. Hardly ground for dismissal.

However, Waterstones behaviour is grounds for dismissal in my book (no pun intended) - I won't be visiting Waterstones again - ever!

1:31 PM  
Blogger Damo said...

I used to write quite personal stuff in my blog and I got a bit worried as it reached a wider audience. I've changed it and just write about my number one hobby now, i.e. music.

Which makes me a chicken, I know, but it makes for better reading anyway to be honest. Best of luck to you, though. When I was doing my A-levels, I worked in retail and the way you can sometimes be treated in that environment is unbelievable.

1:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This doesn't surprise me at all. i quit waterstones ( i prefer wankerstones myself) last year after my boss told me never to go back when i issued her with a sick note covering 2 weeks.
Of course she denied it when i followed the grievance procedure and was backed up by her boss too.
it seems that freedom of any kind is denied to workers in this company. apart from the evil boss.
good luck in finding a job where you are appreciated!

1:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

just wanted to wish you all the best. i have worked for said booksellers myself in the past and know that they are not all that the bag would have us believe.
best wishes,

1:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This sucks, truly. I hope you take them to the cleaners. Reading this from Dubai, i will never EVER step foot in a Waterstones again. I only hope they regret this decision and i hope that the Commercial consequences TRULY hurt them. Corporations need to learn lessons from their arrogance and the only lesson they EVER learn from are when it costs them money. So lets hope this costs them a fortune.

1:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

just to let you know that I've written an email to waterstones and it looks like they've had a lot as i got a standard email back.

Maybe people who wish to boycott could kill two birds with one stone and use an independent bookshop instead!


2:24 PM  
Blogger scUK said...

I am glad you're fighting this dismissal - I will not shop in Waterstones until it's sorted out. I took the step of anonymising my own blog today just in case it happens to me too... What happened to free speech? Good luck Joe.

2:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't believe Wankerstones didn't think about getting this sort of backlash.

I get all my books from amazon anyway :)

2:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

May be Joe Gordon should open his own bookshop, or at least create a website with his selection and links to online bookstores.

2:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


2:50 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

I'm not much surprised that a company which promotes itself as a bastion of free speech and defender of liberal democracy demonstrates, in the event, thin skinned hypersensitivity.

Where it not for hypocrisy, they would have no character at all.

Organizations that are big and entrenched, be they governments, corporations, labour unions, or churchs and without regard to their alleged politics, either liberal or conservative, all act like jackasses.

From the Piney Woods of East Texas, no bastion of free speech either, I recall the words that Edmund Rostand gives Cyrano to say:

"At a word, a Yes, a No,
To fight - or write. To travel any road
Under the sun, under the stars, nor doubt
If fame or fortune lie beyond the bourne -
Never to make a line I have not heard
In my own heart; yet, with all modesty
To say: "My soul, be satisfied with flowers,
With fruit, with weeds even; but gather them
In the one garden you may call your own."

3:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What tossers your ex employers are. They might be able to redeem themselves if they were to fire Evil Boss, give you a big public apology, an even bigger payrise and his job. But in the meantime I'm off to Borders.

3:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They should have fired you for that horrific bandana and beard combo. What are you, a review from Gamesmaster circa 1992?

3:37 PM  
Blogger MalcolmX said...

Quick question: Who owns Waterstones? Certainly buying books from an independent book store would be best - rare places that they are!

Can anyone suggest the most ethical place to purchase books - for Edinburgh residents?

Cheers - MalcolmX

3:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just seen the story on bbcnews.com digusting behaviour from Waterstones.

I for one will be boycotting not only Waterstones but also HMV record stores as they're both run by HMV Group!

3:48 PM  
Blogger Ria said...

Shameful comment by anonymous. I thought it was an excellent pose to avoid showing loose chin skin. You look like a jaunty pirate staring at something vaguely familiar on the horizon. As for L'affaire Gordon, I thought your posts were very funny. As long as we readers in cyberspace don't know who you're talking about, I don't see why Evil Boss/Waterstones can take offence. You have a right to say these things to your friends in the pub, so why not on the Internet?

Wish you all the best, Joe.

3:49 PM  
Blogger Ria said...

The Wikipedia update proves that free speech will out, and bad publicity will make your ex rue their decision.


3:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Joe

I heard about what happened when a mate who likes my blog forwarded me the Guardian article.

I'm horrified and disgusted at what is basically an unjust sacking for using your right of freedom of speech!

I hope that Waterstones get done for unfair dismissal, and I too intend to boycott their stores.

Predictably, I blogged about your plight.

Good luck,

Mark Adams

3:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear you lost your job. I agree with those who suggest that you find a more appreciative company.

Somebody asked about a good independent bookshop in Edinburgh. Now I've never been (I don't live in Scotland any more) but I've heard that Word Power (http://www.word-power.co.uk/) is good. Although, maybe it isn't a Waterstones replacement since it seems to lean strongly towards politics.

There's a great independent bookshop in central London called the London Review Bookshop (http://www.lrb.co.uk/lrbshop/index.php) and there's a good looking online secondhand bookshop called http://www.abebooks.co.uk (also .com)

4:13 PM  
Blogger Jack said...


I only just read about your situation in today's Guardian. It's absolutely disgraceful and I immediately fired off an email to Waterstones lambasting them for their vindictive small-mindedness, and informing them that they will not be receiving any more business from me. I would suggest as many people as possible do this too.

There is a disturbing and increasing tendency for companies to try to interfere in what their employees say or do in their own time. We are not yet at the stage of America - where employee drug tests and credit checks are commonplace - but your situation shows us that this may well be the way the wind is blowing. We need such incidents to be exposed, as you have done, and for consumer action to be swift and widespread.

Good luck, mate.

4:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would be such a smart move if another company where to offer you a job now and ask you to mention them on your blog.... The number of visitors to your site must be higher than ever ;)

4:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Joe, we in Iceland have a saying that nobody becomes a bishop without being beaten up a couple of times. Now, how this reflects on your situation is beyond me. Just wrote in to make sure you got the picture... Yes, the story has even spread to us puffin eaters. We kinda like books as well as we like blogs.
Good luck,
Bragi Skaftason

4:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Myself and family spend approx £150 a month at Waterstone's.

We will now spend £0.00 per month at Waterstone's.

I’ve just phoned the head office an informed them of this loss of turnover.

I’m afraid I wasn’t very polite.

Oh dear, what a shame.


4:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought your picture was so, so, serious! There you stand, ejected from your employer's establishment moments before, all alone in a cold, windswept street with an oh-so-serious expression, facing a cruel and uncertain future, looking off in the distance with a Scott-of-the-Antarctica resolution about you. My goodness! Someone would think you were sentenced to the gulag! You should chuck that do-rag, thought. It does suggest a bit of the pretentious aging hippie.

4:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the poster who asked who owned Waterstone's - they are owned by HMV Group. As to where else in the city to buy books, there is a very big (and very good) Ottakar's just down the road on George Street. Not sure on the sandle wearing or evilness of the boss there, though, but it's always seemed like a nice enough bookshop to me.

5:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Which branch in Edinburgh did you work in? I'd like to send the manager an email expressing my contempt. Althernatively, does anyone know the email address of somewone even higher up?


5:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At first I thought you were just a naive twat for thinking you could bitch and whine about your employer and not expect any fallout. After all, if you hate them so much, why do you give a fuck that you were sacked? However having read the news stories and the actual comments they're really incredibly mild. Your Evil Boss must have a very thin skin if he takes exception to them. It's hard to believe that Waterstone's have got so excited about such a trivial incident. Dismissal without notice for 'Gross Misconduct' says more about Waterstone's crap management than it does about your stroppy comments.

Good Luck,


5:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read the piece in the Register and so I thought I'd have a look at your site. Having read back over several months, it is clear that you know your onions when it comes to sci-fi books - which was your department at work. Your blog shows clearly your passion and knowledge, right down to authors, upcoming books, and the day-to-day goings on at work.

It's clear that Waterstones have lost a dedicated employee, a knowledgeable employee, and most of all, a hell of a lot of customers. I'll be shopping in Ottakars from now on. And to think I spent £35 in their Birmingham branch last week. Tut.

Keep us up to date on how you get on.

tatania att btinternet dottt com

5:46 PM  
Blogger Druss said...

Sorry to hear that you work, or rather worked for a narrow minded company. I read the article in the Guardian and felt my blood boil.

I hope that things work out ok for you and feel that Waterstones have shot themselves in the foot over this big time. If they think it will stop blogs about the company then they are wrong, it will just drive them underground.

I for one will not be shopping at Waterstones again, as if they talk about free speech in their adverts yet can't practise that themselves, they don't deserve my money.

Best of luck,



5:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

there's a discussion on The Guardian's forum http://talk.guardian.co.uk you might like to lurk.

5:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Make the fuckers miss you. Don't go back. Take them to a tribunal. Waterstone's don't give a shit about books, even if some of the underpaid buggers on the shopfloor do. Hopefully, like me and many others, you will look back and say that the day that Waterstone's fucked about with your job was the best thing they ever did for you. They've been bringing themselves into disrepute for years, even without your help. Let them get on with it like the pretentious supermarket they are.
Best, James

6:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your story is also getting known acrose the borders. Link is to the biggest news-site of the Netherlands.

Good luck with finding a new job!!

6:08 PM  
Blogger Psychoderelict said...

Saw your story on Teletext!...sorry about the job buddy, hope you find a new one soon!

6:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not only www.nu.nl has your story, also on this site all dutch people can read about you: http://frontpage.fok.nl/nieuws/50208
I've got a weblog myself and I mustn't think about loosing my job because of it. We're living in a democratic world where freedom of speech excist. Or don't we......
Good luck to you!!

6:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi. You probably won't read this as there are already 56 comments to this post, and that's a lot to get through.

I work for Waterstone's. I also have a blog. I am utterly and completely disgusted with the way you have been treated. I pledge my utmost support for you and your impending inquiry. The bureaucracy and downright pig-headedness of all of this is ridiculous. I have long been of the opinion that the company is a company is a company, to the public it is a wonderful smart and dynamic place to buy your books from well-informed and entheusiastic booksellers. In reality it is a company marketing its product at those who will not go to The Works. It has little time for anything or anyone that may not fit that image. It is at times a claustrophobic place to work for, as this terrible incident shows.

Know I am thinking of you and will be following this story closely. I wish you the absolute best of luck in all you do in the future, and you should definately keep on blogging.

A Waterstone's Well Wisher.

6:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Sign on with Amazon.co.uk /.com etc and prepare a website with the links to your favourite books. You won't get much money but that might help.

6:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck!

For everyone looking for Waterstones alternatives:

You can search for UK bookshops by town/city at

Local bookshops who can take orders online for the full range of books available in the UK - i.e. pretty much all same ordering capacity as Amazon, only local!:

If you like radical bookshops like Wordpower, there is a list of them here (small ones will mainly have political stuff, middling ones may have more general stuff too):

PS can you tell I'm an indie bookseller? :)

6:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Joe! Read this: http://www1.folha.uol.com.br/folha/informatica/ult124u17822.shtml
It´s about you... From a Brazilian News Paper....

6:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, well, let’s see…Joe Gordon’s? Gordon’s???

The new book chain sounds good to me.


6:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


All the best mate, and make sure you fight the Bastardstones all the way. Now they really deserve that name, it is no longer satirical.

I sent them an email telling them what I thought of them. Please speak to a solicitor if you haven't already, I would argue that you human rights have been breached (article 19) and you have a claim for unfair dismissal under contract law.


7:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hahahaha i love the term 'Bastardstones'!

anyway im with you all the way, will never step foot in Bastardstones again (not that i usually do, maybe the odd time) but good luck.

on the bright side you are kinda famous now! in fact more people know about you than evil boss, i bet he/she is jealous inside!

7:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Gordon,

Just wanted to let you know that the news about the behaviour of Evil Boss and Bastardstone and their opinion on free speech has reached The Netherlands today. You have my sympathy. They can't do this.
I hope the rest of the world thinks accordingly. Let the bastards know what they did and that they can't do that.

8:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, glad the story has gone national! I have long disliked Waterstones but spent 16.99 yesterday in their Edinburgh West End store - no more. All my business now goes to Wordpower in Edinburgh http://www.word-power.co.uk/ who do mail order - if people boycott Waterstones, they might as well boycott the rest of the corporates. :)
Glad I am on benefits - no way can they chuck me off for badmouthing DWP! Which I frequently do on my blog.

8:15 PM  
Blogger Zinnia Cyclamen said...

I too will be boycotting Waterstones in future. And I just took great pleasure in emailing them to say so. Don't let the bastardstones grind you down!

8:24 PM  
Blogger MarkFarley said...

Dear Joe,

I hope you get to read this reply as I can see a lot of deserved interest has been created.

I work for Waterstones. Unlike others on this blog, I am not ashamed to remain anonymous. My name is Mark and I work in the Notting Hill Gate store, here in London. One of our many great local authors, Rachel Johnson came in to inform me of the Guardian article and to register her dismay.

("The Mummy Diaries" by Rachel Johnson, out on Penguin books)

We were all outraged at the dismissal and also ashamed of the ignorance within the heirachy of our Scottish counterparts. I believe that this should not be a reflection of the company as a whole and I am sure that our head office is currently bricking it over the negative coverage, your line and area manager have created for themselves.

First of all, I enjoy my work also and there is a great tradition here in London of longstanding booksellers. When I started last year, I couldnt help but feel a little intimidated at the length of service of my new colleagues who bode two senior members of staff over 15 years.

For that alone, I admire you. This passion and LOYALTY of yours is clearly shown by the admiration and support of authors that has come out in your defence, of which i particularily enjoyed the comments of Richard Morgan.

Its when I hear something like this, I realise that I am lucky. Our branch manager, assistant manager and area manager are extremely welcoming and warming, tolerant and appreciative for our radical and edgy bookselling ideas and the branch has tremendous rapport with our customers and account customers.
For this I thank you. I didnt realise how lucky I was.

The Guardian today could not have put it any better I feel. The book trade relies on its very core on the bastion of free speech.
With this attitude, we may aswell strip the shelves of the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Michael Moore, Philip Roth, Noam Chomsky, Allen Ginsberg.... I need not continue.

I came to Waterstones from a company who I had grown sick of their ever increasing bully tactics and self serving methods that put profit margins, budgets and targets before customer service, I hope I havent made a mistake.

I will leave you for now as I am sure that you will be very busy in the coming weeks as this will not be tolerated. We do not live in North Korea after all.

In your honour, I would like to quote the great Zach de la Rocha as I leave.

Fight the war, fuck the norm
Now I got no patience
So sick of complacence
With the D the E the F the I the A the N the C the E
Mind of a revolutionary
So clear the lane
The finger to the land of the chains
What? The land of the free?
Whoever told you that is your enemy?

Peace and Good Luck in your endeavours,

Mark Farley
Bookseller and aspiring author one day
Waterstones Notting Hill Gate

8:25 PM  
Blogger Catarina - the Swede said...

And it has reached Sweden aswell. I'll take great care in warning my fellow bloggers around the country. At least those I like. :)

8:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


8:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well Done.

I will also be passing by Waterstones from now on.

8:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just won a million pounds on the lottery. I was going to spend it all on books on Waterstone's but I think now I'll just invest in the stockmarket and buy cocaine.

8:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Best of luck on appealing your job at Bastardstone's. It's deeply disturbing to see that infringement of civil liberties is taking place on both sides of the Atlantic. I ran across your story and blog in The Guardian today and have been rampantly sending the article to all my friends. You have our support in your struggle!
-Concerned Americans in New York

9:20 PM  
Blogger GraceD said...

Greetings from Santa Cruz, California, a sweet surfer town south of San Francisco. Found this in The Guardian 0nline. You should know that you have been uncermoniously 'dooced', a term coined in homage to the beloved and brilliant Heather of the very popular and irreverent 'Mommy blog', dooce. Here's her story with links to the posts that got her fired:


Lastly, and most importantly, handsome pic. Windswept is the new sexy, you know.

9:24 PM  
Blogger Nogbox said...

Best Wishes Joe!

9:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear this, Waterstones should be ashamed.
Just posted a little diary on this issue on daily Kos.
Here's the link just in case you're interested

9:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about this for some hands-on protest:

Everybody who wants to make a point goes to the Bastardstones store in question (Princes Street East?), takes a book off the shelf and reshelves it in a completely different section, preferably on a different floor. If enough people participate, this might be worthwhile.

I'll be paying a visit myself tomorrow.

9:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, bad luck mate...reading the Guardian online in New Zealand, and horrified by Waterstone's major misjudgement and their apparent failure to grasp the awful ironies in their actions. Edinburgh's my old home town and I remember being served by you, you were a pleasure to talk to and deal with...so anyway I've written to Waterstones to express my unhappiness. Best of luck...I'm sure you'll find better work soon...

10:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry I can't give my name but I also work under the sign of the Devil's Teats (W) and I am frightened. There are hundreds of us behind you. Please, please pursue this as far as you can. This is an outrage. It is time something was done. I suspect that the company that sacked you is not the company you joined. For your information, whilst the company was paying to transport every manager in the company to Paris for a meeting in a very expensive hotel I was in the branch with a black marker pen colouring in a dumpbin - living the dream. All the best.

10:31 PM  
Blogger Annette said...

The story is going international, as I'm sure you knew it would with the bloggerverse. I just posted a link to the Guardian article on my LiveJournal. YOu can see it here:

10:49 PM  
Blogger dark design said...

It will be a cold day in Hell before I cross the threshold of a Waterstone's again.

10:50 PM  
Blogger Deano said...

You may have been a bit innocent to think that everyone who might read your blog would have a sense of humour ( and leaving a 'hostage to fortune' to anyone else who might want to get at you) - but not as stupid as Waterstones for going way over the top when a verbal or written warning would have been the right treatment for a good employee of eleven years. And what does this say about their disciplinary procedures? Good practice would suggest that you shuold have a clear right of appeal up the management chain before any hasty decisions were made - especially as you seem willing to compromise.
Seems to me 'Evil Boss' is simply an inexperienced manager out of their depth without themselves having the right management support. I should imagine they were working themselves up over it for the whole Christmas holiday. Take comfort in the fact that the top bosses at Waterstones are probably wondering how the hell they got into this mess, and are looking for the easiest way out.
Good luck to you mate - shit for you - but in a way you've become a hero.

11:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From one Joe to another, I'd like to add my support. And I'll be boycotting Waterstones - and letting them know why - in the future.

2:03 AM  
Anonymous Atomic Lobster said...

Hope you are doing well - the treatment you received from Waterstones was disgusting. You were an employee, not a slave, and demanding control over out-of-hours activities is completely unjustified at your salary - especially given the amount of unpaid time and effort most Waterstones employees put in. I imagine, having once spent a (mostly pleasant) couple of years working for them, that the disciplinary process was organised by a hopelessly out-of-vis-depth middle manager promoted three grades beyond vis capabilities. I might add that if you think Waterstones is Dilbert-land, ten minutes spent behind the scenes in Borders will have you howling like a macaque on peyote.

10:52 PM  

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