Ultimate solution to bookstore scam

By Andy Plonka

Feeling ripped off yet?

I don’t mean to complain about book prices because I’m not a business major (I’ve seen the prices for some of their books), but even my tiny, paperback English books add up to big bucks.

If you think that buying used books might actually save you some money, you got another thing comin‘ …

I went to one of the bookstores last week to purchase my books for the semester. What I found, though, surprised and angered my naive little brain. The bookstore is actually charging us too much for our books (Imagine that!).

Supposedly, if you buy used books, you can save 25 percent. To my dismay, this is not the case.

On one book I wanted to buy (Penguin Classics’ Uncle Tom’s Cabin), the price tag listed the new price at $4.50 and the sale price at $3.40. However, I rubbed off the marker that conceals the real publisher’s price and it was $3.95. So, you’d be saving 55 instead of 90 cents.

I thought it might have been a mistake. Surely the people who work at the bookstore are humans, entitled to make a mistake. So I checked other books. My little investigation proved that it was no mistake. There were several other books with misleading price tags. In one instance, the new and used price for the same book was the same.

So it ends up that we aren’t saving 25 percent; in reality, we save about 0 to 25 percent on used books. Then, at the end of the semester, we sell the books back and get a quarter.

I decided to ask an employee what was going on. I approached one of the red-vested workers. “Um … excuse me,” I said.

“Can I help you find a book?”

“No, actually I wanted to know …”

“Here, let me see your schedule.”

“I don’t have my schedule; I just would like to know …”

“Well, the answer is no. You can’t go out with me.”

“Huh?” She just stormed off in pursuit of a freshman.

So, I couldn’t find out why they charge us so much. It’s just as well, I suppose. They’d give me some silly excuse anyway.

It’s bad enough that they rip us off on paperbacks. What about the huge textbooks some people have to buy? You never know what the price is really supposed to be. You just hand over your credit card, and worry about the $250 bill later.

Some professors are so fed up with the two campus bookstores that they order the books from other bookstores in town and tell their students to go there. At least the books are there, but then there is no chance to buy used books.

But I do have a solution to all this … don’t buy your books. I never do.

You could see how many dumb people in your classes will lend you their books. Or you could just blow everything off, like me, and still get good grades. (Note to my current instructors: just kidding.)