When you walk into the campus bookstore, you notice that they have a wide variety of items for sale having to do with college life. You can purchase a sweatshirt, a pennant, disc golf accessories, computer accessories and coffee mugs–almost everything you could need! Oh yeah, they also have books as well. The campus bookstore has textbooks for all of the classes available in the UW-Parkside curriculum, either on-site or via their website, Neebo.com. The question is, if they have all of these items, why doesn’t every student use them to get what they need?
A lot of students today get their textbooks from online sources such as Amazon.com or Chegg.com, because the prices they find online are lower than what they find in the campus bookstore. The bookstore has tried to negate that with a price matching policy, but that policy is not listed on the website. According to some of the students that we encountered in the bookstore, a few think that the way the bookstore’s price matching policy works can be difficult, and sometimes it seems to make no sense. One student, “Matt” told us about his frustrations. “I went in to get a book for my online class, and I had found it listed brand new for $0 on Amazon, but the bookstore only had it used, and for $40,” he said. “I asked the clerk if she could match the price and she said no because they were not exactly the same. I asked her why she couldn’t match the price of a new book to a used one, and she simply shrugged.” Matt went on to tell us that he thought the student employee wanted to help him out, but that the policy simply did not allow her to do so.
We interviewed several other students as they exited the bookstore, with the promise of keeping their identities anonymous. Several students seemed to have the same reasons for choosing to shop at the bookstore—they were shopping at the bookstore rather than on an online website due to the fact that they either did not have the money to shop online or that they were counting on their financial aid disbursement. But because of the university’s new policy of holding the student’s aid refund for 11 days into the semester, they could not buy anywhere else but at the bookstore, which has a policy of allowing students to buy books now and then pay when their financial aid gets released by the university.
One especially irate sophomore, who was an English major, told us, “I feel like I am being forced to buy from the bookstore, like the university wants me to spend my money here, even if I don’t want to, and frankly, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.”
We tried to contact the bookstore manager, Diane Sessa, but she declined to comment on these issues, telling us that the bookstore was very busy because they were doing so much business, and that she couldn’t spare five minutes to discuss the students concerns with us.
Some students didn’t seem to mind. They had found books online, even though the bookstore had those same books, and the price matching pledge was honored. Some students were indifferent and just liked the idea of walking into the store and walking out with what they wanted without waiting. We talked to over a dozen students and each one of them had a different view on things. The bookstore is here if you need it, and has policies in place to make it competitive, just as long as everything falls into place perfectly.