Editorial: Books should be bookstore’s priority

Remember 1995? That was the year the first feature-length computer animated cartoon, “Toy Story,” came out. Cell phones were largely uncommon and likely bigger than most landline home phones are now. The DVD had just been announced as an alternative media format.

The year was an almost unrecognizably long time ago in terms of technology. It was also the last time University Bookstore updated the system used to keep track of textbook orders. So why did we wait 15 years until the system failed us right before the fall semester to change it?

If the crash of the system and canceling of orders didn’t affect you and yours, consider yourselves lucky. Students who had made an extra effort to be prepared spent hours just getting books because their orders were cancelled, and students who expected to have their books mailed to their homes were instead forced to come by the bookstore to pick them up. A process that wasn't supposed to take any more of their time than an order weeks ago turned into a long winding line through the bookstore checkout labyrinth.

Another issue: the e-mails sent out describing the situation weren’t all created equally. As of now, we know of two different e-mails. One didn’t offer the compensatory gift card, and both confused the lines between whether or not the books were not going to arrive to their homes before classes started, or if they should be in the bookstore fighting for books. Many students who had ordered used books missed out on being able to purchase them, and a $25 gift card definitely does not make up for the difference there.

The bookstore lost money on this debacle, about $10,000, by handing out bookstore gift cards to compensate for the enormous pain in the ass this was for students. Because that’s what these students want: more time in the bookstore.

With the amount of money and staffing they had available, it seems there could have been a better solution. For instance, they could have picked up all the books and boxed them for students like they do for the Early Bird sign ups.

As the primary customers of the bookstore, students should be given highest priority, especially when it comes to their books. Of course, second to books is wide and varied accessibility to Tiger yoga pants.

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