A phrase as simple as “Wrong book: them, right book: us” seems to be an almost primitive tactic in the world of marketing. But it is apparently enough to sway even the most business-minded student into purchasing a provocatively overpriced book.
Walking into the bookstore, students can see Efollett.com’s crudely drawn images plastered on every wall and in every aisle. Obviously, they are trying to tell us something and they assumed that it would be most effective by placing painfully obvious advertisements in any direction that our eyes may happen to roam.
If the great quantity of clever posters is not spellbinding enough to loosen the lobster-claw grip you have on your wallet, then maybe you can try letting the image of a restless student waiting by his mailbox with a caption reading, “Your campus bookstore won’t make you wait, promise” persuade you. That should do it.
What the campus bookstore will conveniently forget to mention, however, is that once you grab the book you need off the shelf, with no wait and no hassle, you will have to waste about 20 minutes of your time in a seemingly endless line — a line so long that, last semester, jugglers and clowns were hired to keep agitated students from head-butting the person in front of them like angry goats.
Another advertisement features a genie stating, “Pick up your order in store or have it shipped to your door. Your wish is our command,” causes me to question, “What if my wish is to get my hands on a fairly-priced book? Can you make that happen, efollett.com? Or what if I dare to ask for a full refund on a book within three days after purchase?”
And then, the phrase “cheap shot” lingers in my mind after seeing the image of a pathetic young man holding a book, which has been cleverly dubbed “wrong edition” from a box labeled “Halftruths.com” — an unscrupulous attack on one of the few competitors to the bookstore, online store Half.com.
It seems as though demanding reasonable prices and questioning why lines at the bookstore are so long should no longer be our top priority. The better question is why such ads and promotions have been adopted. Does efollett.com really think we’re that stupid? And does our bookstore agree with that assumption? Or maybe they are just abusing their position of power and are adding insult to injury. Not only will they dent our wallets, but they must also ridicule us. Perhaps we can make it so that next semester they will rethink making use of such slogans as “Everything you need for school, except a bigger brain.”