For the third year in a row, I have dutifully ordered my books from the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s campus bookstore. Ignoring the heinous prices for a used literature anthology, I stuff my online cart full of my required materials and head to the checkout.
I try not to dwell on the subtotal and checkout, and then wait. A few days later, the box arrives on my doorstep. I open the box and immediately groan. I check the packing slip and for the third year in a row, a part of my order has been cancelled due to lack of stock.
This has happened to me every semester since I started school at UNO, and the problem has never been solved. Last semester, four of my books for upper-division courses were out of stock. I walked into the bookstore every week for seven weeks, asking if the shipment had come in yet.
Every time I checked, a helpful clerk informed me that they had been ordered and should be in any day. For seven weeks, I heard that line repeated to me, verbatim, by various clerks. It wasn’t long before I gave up and had them shipped in two days from Amazon. I needed the books for class and I couldn’t wait any longer.
If I had another option available to me where I could order my textbooks from a more reliable and cheaper source, then I would happily choose that option. Unfortunately, my financial situation limits the number of options of I have for buying my books.
I, like many other students on campus, buy my books from the bookstore because they offer the option to charge the total to my student account. Since I rely heavily on student loans to purchase my school materials, and feel completely unprepared if I don’t have my books on the first day of class, waiting until I get my refund to purchase books elsewhere is a problem.
Over the course of the past week, I have overheard more conversations about bookstore orders being cancelled and books being out of stock than any other topic. It’s not a fun experience being unprepared for class due to the negligence of the campus bookstore.
This semester, it seems that the administrative staff has focused more on an efficient check-out system than ensuring that there are enough copies of books sitting on their shelves. While I’m grateful for the short wait times when I need to get to class, I’m more concerned about the lack of effective stock-room protocol. We as students rely on the availability of textbooks to be adequately prepared for our courses before homework is due.
My advice? Skip the bookstore altogether. Students are better off getting their books late from Amazon than not at all on campus. I am done with giving the benefit of the doubt when it comes to the UNO bookstore. Next semester, I’ll be taking my business elsewhere and avoiding the headache.