Bureaucracy in Action

As many steady readers know, I’m back in school for another degree. I ended up with an A in both Anatomy and Psychology last quarter, and this quarter I was going to take Statistics, but changed my mind at the last moment and switched to Developmental Psychology instead.

I never realized how insanely stupid a bookstore can be until today. As I walked into the store, I was greeted by a police officer. Not exactly what I expected to see.

He told me in a rather gruff voice that since I had a book to sell back (from last term), as well as books to exchange, I wouldn’t be allowed in the store until I sold the book from last quarter back first. Textbooks from last term were prohibited in the store.

Of course, buybacks aren’t being held there, but instead in a little dungeon on the other side of the large building. So I walk to the other side of the building, on another floor, to sell my book back. After accepting my pithy $30 for my $100 book (that’s an entire topic for another day!), I returned to the bookstore to try for entry again.

This time the keeper of the gate lets me pass, after examining my receipt as if it contained the location of WMDs or Bin Laden. But I was told I had to stand in the returns line, and could not move from that line. Could I get the book I needed to purchase? Nope, had to do the return, then get the book I need, then get in another line and wait more. Simply insane.

So while in line, I decided I wasn’t going to stand for this kind of poor planning, and grabbed the next sales associate who walked by. I asked him, as politely as possible, if he could fetch the book I needed for my class. He willingly obliged, and after a few minutes I was still standing in the returns line, but I also had the book I needed to purchase. Take that, line nazi!

Once I got to the counter, I had to face one more hurdle: convincing the returns girl to let me also purchase the book. Luckily, I sailed through this challenge as well, with a little politeness and gratitude. You’d think these poor folks had never had anyone be nice to them before!

Soon I was on my way out the door, with a sly smirk to the gatekeeper cop as I walked past.

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  1. Man, what a NIGHTMARE. Was Cordy with you too??

  2. Rhonda – Oh, no, she wasn’t with me, thank goodness! If she had been, I probably would have handed her to the gatekeeper cop and told him, “Fine, hold her, I’ll be back.”

  3. hehehe the bookstore hell! I remember it all too well!

  4. Dang, you showed them! What a dumb rule … good to you for stickin it to the man. :)

    VA beach??? Will it be warm? Enjoy yourself.

  5. Ugh…I hated getting/selling books each quarter. Longs, SBX…etc. It sucked. They have such a racket going too. Buy a book for $100, sell it back for $30 and it gets resold as used for $60-70. It sucks.

    When we were in college though, that was like free beer money. How stupid we were!

  6. Oh man you have more patience than me! You probably were the only person to be nice to that sales chick all day, I mean by the time someone gets to her they’ve probably been standing in lines most of the day….

  7. There is no better place to live the experience of Soviet-style bureaucracy than in university libraries and bookstores. I feel your pain.

    (And? Last post on the cuteness of Cordy? To die.)

  8. Mommy off the Record says:

    if you can survive used book selling, finals will be a piece of cake :)

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