Boring Portfolio

Bore calls Na-ayyy-ushh-v'll
Monday, May 11, 1998
By Greg Markus (TMF Boring)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (May 11, 1998) -- The Boring Portfolio fell 1.25% in value Monday. The broad market averages fell as well, heading steadily downward after a brief positive opening. Late-session selling transformed decent intra-day gains in several Boring issues into losses as traders appear to have been rattled by the yield on the long bond ticking up past the 6.0% level. Oh, well.

The folks at Borders (NYSE: BGP) officially announced the opening of their e-commerce website today. The site offers books, music, and videos, along with special sections for children's stuff, computer books, and Borders NetCafe, which will feature chat, bulletin board discussions, and transcripts of interviews with authors and musicians.

The company's press release points out that "true to the Borders tradition, is committed to giving customers a voice in its direction via 'Tell us what you think' buttons located throughout the site."

I suspect that those buttons got a fair amount of use today, as the site continued to exhibit a few of the glitches that showed up late last week following the site's "stealth" launch. For example, I discovered that I couldn't access the online account I had opened on Friday.

I e-mailed about the problem and then phoned the customer service department. On the first ring, I reached a pleasant young woman at the fulfillment center in Nashville -- which contained four syllables when she pronounced it, sorta like "Na-ayyy-ushh-v'll."

The customer service rep apologized for my inconvenience, confessed that I was not the only person experiencing the problem, and offered to take my book order over the phone.

I declined, mentioning that, as a shareholder, I was more concerned about the website functioning properly than I was about ordering another book. She concurred, in a voice so full of magnolias and pralines that I almost forgot why I'd called in the first place. She also informed me that the problem was being corrected and that if I tried logging in later in the day, it should work.

I did, and it did.

I also spied in my e-mail this morning a note from informing me that the order I'd placed on Friday had been processed. Very good. I'll let you know when I receive the books.

By the way, Borders reports its first-quarter results on Wednesday morning. As you may recall, the company disclosed about a week ago that it would exceed the Street's forecast by earning a nickel a share. As usual, we'll be covering the follow-up conference call and providing you with a timely summary.

I'll be particularly interested to hear the company's impression of the e-commerce launch.

FoolWatch -- It's what's going on at the Fool today.

Stock  Change    Bid 
 ANDW  -  7/16  21.69 
 CGO   -2       36.94 
 BGP   -  9/16  31.94 
 CSL   -  3/16  51.38 
 CSCO  -1       74.75 
 FCH   -  1/8   35.31 
 PNR     ---    44.81 
                   Day   Month    Year  History 
         BORING   -1.25%   0.34%   3.52%  30.26% 
         S&P:     -0.14%  -0.46%  14.04%  78.03% 
         NASDAQ:  -0.87%  -1.09%  17.68%  77.53% 
     Rec'd   #  Security     In At       Now    Change 
   2/28/96  400 Borders Gr    11.26     31.94   183.73% 
   6/26/96  150 Cisco Syst    35.93     74.75   108.02% 
   8/13/96  200 Carlisle C    26.32     51.38    95.16% 
    3/5/97  150 Atlas Air     23.06     36.94    60.19% 
   4/14/98  100 Pentair       43.74     44.81     2.45% 
   11/6/97  200 FelCor Sui    37.59     35.31    -6.06% 
   1/21/98  200 Andrew Cor    26.09     21.69   -16.87% 
     Rec'd   #  Security     In At     Value    Change 
   2/28/96  400 Borders Gr  4502.49  12775.00  $8272.51 
   6/26/96  150 Cisco Syst  5389.99  11212.50  $5822.51 
   8/13/96  200 Carlisle C  5264.99  10275.00  $5010.01 
    3/5/97  150 Atlas Air   3458.74   5540.63  $2081.89 
   4/14/98  100 Pentair     4374.25   4481.25   $107.00 
   11/6/97  200 FelCor Sui  7518.00   7062.50  -$455.50 
   1/21/98  200 Andrew Cor  5218.00   4337.50  -$880.50 
                              CASH   $9447.76 
                             TOTAL  $65132.14