Famous Bookstore Run By JerkThe Strand, the humongous New York bookstore by Union Square that is like one of the biggest used book stores ever of all time, has always attracted lots of young workers who take the low pay in exchange for the cool factor of working at the place, and the chance to be around books all day. One negative: the store is run by a despised woman named Nancy Bass Wyden (trivia: she's married to Oregon Senator Ron Wyden). I've known several people who worked at The Strand, and they universally agree on her tyranny. Now, the New York Press has actually done some investigative work on the claims, and it's found evidence for allegations of racial discrimination, callous disregard for pregnant women, and—most terrifyingly—"fungus from rats."

Example A: Nicole Congleton, who says that she was discriminated against, and eventually fired, for being black. She says she was repeatedly written up for lateness, while other, whiter, employees who did the same thing were not.

Example B: An anonymous young pregnant employee:


She needed to leave her post in the rare books department more often than usual, to visit the doctor more for pre-natal care. But according to employee warning records provided to the Press, Strand management continued to cite her for missing work regardless of the need for medical appointments...Management threatened to terminate her for "not keeping her full time employment obligations," in reference to the days she'd taken off.

And the scariest of all:

Saundra Buchanan started in the third-floor Internet department at the Strand in 2000, before it had been remodeled. "There was mice running around the table," she remembered in a recent interview. "I got some kind of fungus from rats who were on the paper."

Any problems with Nancy the boss, Saundra?


"[Nancy] would actually come into the bathroom and we'd be washing our hands," Buchanan recalled. "And she would say, 'You should be using the bathroom on your break time!'"