Lines lengthen outside bookstores as classes resume

Shannon Scott

If you are one of the 55,000 customers buying books at the East Bank bookstore this week, you might be reminded of the Coliseum scene from the movie “Gladiator.”
“It’s a zoo,” lamented store director Bob Crab, who has had difficulties hiring a full staff because of the low unemployment rate.
It could be worse.
Crab and other bookstore employees have been preparing for the fall rush since early spring, when they selected books from the teaching staff. After entering the class selections into their computer system, they determine how many books to order and how many to buy back after the spring semester.
The store has also been strongly advertising their online book-selling service. For the same shelf price and no shipping charges, 5,000 students have opted to avoid stampeding crowds and instead picked up their books in a tent that was erected on the campus plaza, located behind Northrop Auditorium, over the weekend.
“There’s always someone there to help you,” said freshman Nancy Yang during a lull at the bookstore Friday morning. She also added that the general atmosphere was “pretty cool.”
Unfortunately procrastinators will find long lines and stalled escalators — which have been turned off the prevent bodies from toppling over each other. “Quadruple-strength Excedrin” is Crab’s personal choice for survival during the book buying and selling frenzy.
Julie Cook, a representative for the store’s customer service department, will spend the next week helping bewildered freshmen.
“Last year we gave out lollipops, but there are no plans yet for free candy this year,” she said.
If you are interested in watching a live screen image of the bookstore at the height of its madness, tune in to www.bookstore.umn.edu.

Shannon Scott welcomes comments at [email protected]