Wednesday, February 21, 2024
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Satire: Dal’s bookstore

Brand not books! photo by Ian Froese
Brand not books! photo by Ian Froese

 A model of efficiency for 21st century schooling

While certain reactionary bourgeois elements on campus are fighting the good fight to clean up the excessively intellectual nature of university life, all may not be as bleak as it seems. Cradled in the basement of the otherwise socialist Sodom and Gomorrah of the SUB, lies a bastion of hope. I speak of course of the Dalhousie bookstore and its truly 21st century approach to education.

Before even entering the bookstore one cannot help but marvel at its ingenious commercial tactics. Literally standing sentry at the front door are guards whose job consists of having students leave all of their personal belongings at the door. This not only cuts down on shoplifting, which the management might expect given the outlandish prices they charge, but also helps business when students are required to buy an entire new set of school supplies to replace the things that have been stolen. The management has of course covered all bases by posting visible signage stating that they will not be held responsible for the inevitability of stolen belongings.

Once gaining the privilege of actually entering the bookstore, you are made immediately aware of one thing: there is not a book to be seen. Having realized that print media is a dying art the bookstore is cleverly looking to the future. For this reason the majority of the floor space is devoted not to these archaic relics but to Dalhousie brand merchandise.

Should one actually be there for the purpose of buying textbooks, one will be able to find them once through the extended gift shop section of the store. The books themselves are kept exactly where they should be in any establishment of higher learning: a closet like space at the very back. Here one will find all sorts of incredibly overpriced textbooks and required readings for every course offered during the semester. The exorbitant price of books would normally be an issue for any other business but having a near perfect monopoly on Dalhousie textbook sales in town, the bookstore is free to set whatever prices they wish.

Organization is another feature to be commended. Sections are organized by department and class number. One will not find a single extraneous volume. Should anyone wish to find any other books pertaining to their field of study, the Dalhousie Book Store is not the place for them. This is a practice which is actually implemented in other forms all around the university and works by offering exactly what is on the curriculum without actually fostering an atmosphere of learning. It is a truly ingenious philosophy which sends a strong message that all learning to be done is best done through official channels as well as making it clear to agitating book-reading types that this is not a place for them—this is a place to buy sweatpants.

Truly, the bookstore is a shining metaphor for Dalhousie itself. A place which makes students shell out far too much money for things they are mandated to need, entices them to spend more on things they don’t, and in the end leaves them with nothing of substance.


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