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Volume 68, Issue 25, Monday, September 30, 2002


UH bookstore shouldnit rob us

Richard Whitrock
Opinion Columnist

As a student at the University of Houston, I expect to be mildly taken advantage of and cheated. As sad as that is, a certain amount of injustice comes with being on the bottom rung of the social and business ladders.

For instance, I expect not to find a parking space when I get to UH. There are far too many students with vehicles for the paltry number of spaces that UH makes available to them (especially when compared to the excessive number of faculty spaces); and since the administration doesnit seem to be interested in logic, I donit expect a parking garage anytime soon.

Even further, I expect that despite the exorbitant, ridiculously expensive parking sticker one must buy in order to park at UH, students are still not guaranteed a spot on campus. It would be logical to think that for a price tag of more than $100 it would be possible to find parking within a mile of campus.

I expect construction to take an impossibly long time to complete and to be placed in the most inconvenient areas on campus available. Taking out parking lots, loud construction on buildings during class time and even the use of double-wide trailers instead of actual buildings with foundations are just things I have come to accept and expect.

I even expect books to be a little more expensive. With how much everything is overcharged, books should be a given. It should come as little surprise to many that the Barnes & Noble-owned campus bookstore raises prices just because they can.

The bookstore, however, is the object of my loathing. They claim to buy back books at 50 percent of their original price and sell them at 75; if anyone believes that, I have some great oceanfront property in Kansas to sell. Aside from the disgustingly large number of books that they simply donit buy back at all, there are many large and complicated books that were indecently expensive to buy new that the bookstore only buys back for a few dollars.

As if the bookstore isnit making enough profit exploiting college students with inflated selling prices and deflated buying prices, there is yet one more way the bookstore cheats the students.

For any person who walks into just about any bookstore and picks up a paperback book, there is a price printed on the cover that describes the monetary value of said book. Hardbacks even have them on their covers, too. In fact, most people literate enough to use the book for anything other than stabilizing their dining room table can pick up a book inside a store and see exactly what the book is supposed to cost.

Two books that I purchased at the UC for the same class, however, had price tags obscuring the booksi cover prices. Seven Against Thebes cost $11.95 on the extra price tag, and Antigone cost $9.95. After purchasing these required books, I started fooling with the artificial price tags and eventually removed them. Lo and behold, the cover prices were Antigone for $6.95, Seven Against Thebes was $8.95.

In all fairness to the UC, Barnes & Nobleis Web site posted similar prices to the campus bookstore (surprise, it owns the campus bookstore); but that does not excuse ignoring the booksi cover prices and covering them up to trick students.

The bookstore in the UC seeks to deceive and take advantage of the students, and that is unacceptable. Students run the bookstore; they shouldnit be cheating their peers. One day it will come back to haunt them. 

Whitrock, a sophomore architecture major, 
can be reached at


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