life lessons

5:04 AM

So I work in textbooks.  Some of you may have heard of a little thing called textbook sell-back, or buy-back, or screw-you-over, or whatever.  It's a pretty tricky system that is, well, difficult to please everyone.  I definitely have a few bones to pick with some policies in the Bookstore but now I work there.  So I have to defend it.  Or whatever.

But here's the thing.  We're giving you money.  Hopefully by now the initial sting of paying $400 for your books 6-12 weeks ago has worn off.  So please shut up if you're not getting all the money you want or if we're not buying it back at all.  Go to Amazon.  Sell it to another student.  Be resourceful.  It's not like you need to pay anything else off now.  I think of sell-back as a bonus after thought, not a financial necessity.

I hate working sell-back.  As my friend put it yesterday, "how does it feel to be one of the most hated people on BYU Campus right now?"  (I didn't buy his book back. He was pissed).  But sell-back might be my least favorite time to work.  I mean, rush sucks but the questions are rarely difficult.  And sell-back includes the reject watch-the-backpacks chair.  To prevent get-rich-quick schemes through textbook theft, we don't allow backpacks on the sales floor.  So... there's someone who gets to sit in the reject chair, shamefully separated from other textbook peers who party at the desk, and tells people to leave their backpacks at the front.  And watches them.

This time I had to work at the actual sell-back.  Buying back books.  I now feel like I can fully comprehend the sell-back experience in its entirety.  And I have gained much wisdom in my oh, three times working there.


1. The general population is inherently unobservant
"Where's sell-back?"
"The... giant yellow sign... that says Sell Back"
"Where's sell-back?"
"Where... all those people are?"
"Where's Rental Return?"
"The big red sign."
"I can't see it."
"It's right next to you.  Um, over there?" [points]
[Squints] "Oh!"
[Me] "Excuse me, could you please put your backpack right there?" before you run into the overhanging red sign that says no back packs..."
This actually was fascinating to me, and has been since I started working at the bookstore.  I realized how unobservant everyone really is.  It's, of course, obvious to me where everything is located on the third floor because I'm there everyday.  But I get confused sometimes in unfamiliar places... and I think it's because we are all too caught up with looking at our feet instead of what's in front of us.  But whatever.  It's just interesting. 

2. The customer ALWAYS knows more than the employee.  Always.
"You're not buying my book back?"
"I'm sorry, but we've already filled our quota on how many books we'll take back from that particular title."
"I saw some used books on the shelves."
"Yes, but that doesn't mean we'll take back any more now."
"I promise, there are used books on the shelves over there."
"I know.  I work there."
"Well, if there are used books then you have to buy my book back."
"Actually, that's not how it works."
"But there are used books."
"I don't deny it, I WORK THERE."
"No really, let me just show you over there."
"You don't have to show me #$%!, I KNOW that they are there.  I work there."
"Well then why won't you take my book back?!"
This principle actually applies in various aspects of my job.  Just because you old folks went to BYU back in the day DOESN'T mean that you know the inner workings of the Bookstore.  Even I don't, but I'm pretty sure I know more than you do.

3. People actually get angrier over receiving money than they do when paying themselves.
Seriously.  WE'RE GIVING YOU MONEY RIGHT NOW.  It's so annoying that I'm repeating myself right now.  If you're not getting everything you want then suck it up.  I'm sure you can find another way to sell your book if it matters that much to you.  But guys, it's not my fault.  So please don't yell at me.  Even though you will.  Wow.  Hatred everywhere.  It seriously just astounds me how much people get upset over some books that were never guaranteed to be bought back.  Or they were too lazy to come on the first day.  So it's just whatever.

I hate sell-back.  But at least I could learn such valuable lessons that will help me for rest of my life... 

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