By Brendan Descamps, Contributor
For many, the Augsburg University bookstore is the place to go when you can’t find your textbooks online or when you need the occasional gift for a family member. However, the bookstore also has some commonly used products available to students like shampoo, mouthwash and cold medicine. This store is quite convenient because it is on campus and accessible for many students without bikes, cars or funds for public transportation. Despite the things that the bookstore is already doing well, I believe that it has potential to be a better resource for students.
Imagine this scenario: an Augsburg student lives in Mortensen, Anderson, Luther or OGC and has no means of transportation. This student has a kitchen, but they need to go grocery shopping to cook their meals. Without transportation, it is very difficult for the resident to shop off campus. A large part of this problem is that the nearest stores (with adequate selections in stock) are Target, Cub Foods and the Seward Community Co-op. Target and Cub are a bit of a hike being close to Lake Street. The Co-op is a different issue. While it is closer to campus than Target or Cub, it can be very expensive and has a smaller selection.
Now what the hell does the bookstore have to do with grocery shopping off campus? Here is where I’m going with this: the bookstore should have some commonly used grocery items such as half-gallons of milk, eggs and loaves of bread. For the student living on campus who has a kitchen but also has a really hard time shopping offcampus for groceries, reanimating the bookstore would be a game changer. In this case, there would be no need for transportation to a grocery store. Students could simply walk to the bookstore, purchase some commonly needed grocery items and walk back to their apartments.
In addition to grocery items, things like toilet paper, pregnancy tests and trash bags would be convenient for students. These types of household items are important for students as well. This would be a much easier addition to the bookstore than certain grocery items would. For eggs, milk and other cold products, there would need to be a refrigeration system whereas a wider range of convenient items could be added without equipment cost.
A final improvement (except for maybe limiting the number of marketing emails the bookstore can send out each week) would be a price check. The bookstore currently has an okay selection of convenient items, but they tend to be overpriced. The shampoos and conditioners are a few dollars more expensive than the same brand at Target. Also, the bookstore currently offers a very small pack of tampons for $1.99. When compared to Target’s 34-pack of the same brand for just under six dollars, this especially seems to be a bit of a rip-off.
Right now, the bookstore is like the inside of a small gas station. It contains snacks, drinks, cold medicine, etc. What it has the potential to be is a full-sized CVS. This would ideally contain some grocery items, snacks, varieties of shampoos/conditioners, feminine products, contraceptives and household items. Wouldn’t that make shopping easier?
This article first appeared in the Friday, December 15, 2017, Edition of The Echo.