Fall bookstore losses down to $589.95: A drastic change from last year

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In 2012-13, the bookstore lost $150,000 of textbooks to theft. This year, the loss has dropped unbelievably, according to Lori Willis, director of the Central Oregon Community College bookstore.

The new costumer service counter has helped cut down on bookstore thievery.  Photos by Noah Hughes | The Broadside
The new costumer service counter has helped cut down on bookstore thievery. Photos by Noah Hughes | The Broadside

 

“It’s huge,” Willis said. “We isolated a very vulnerable piece of our business.”

Willis attributes the major drop in shrinkage completely to the customer service counter that was installed at the beginning of last term for the express purpose of minimizing thievery. With this system, students come in and give their schedules to the cashiers, who then retrieve the books and deliver them to the students.

This minimizes time spent looking for books, according to Frank Payne, assistant bookstore director.

“It’s going faster than it did when everyone was back in the aisles, a mob fighting each other,” Payne said. “[Students] get their books in a quicker manner.”

During the first week of quarter–peak time for the bookstore–the wait is 10-15 minutes, but during non-peak times bookstore employees can get students in and out of the bookstore in three minutes, according to Payne.

“Here’s the challenge–you have a small bookstore that is fine 95 percent of the time and then too small during the rush times,” Payne said.

The bookstore was not designed to have a customer service counter, according to Willis, and the lines during the first week are often long and disorganized because of that.

“We just need a little more room for the lines,” Willis said.

There are other improvements to be made as well, according to Payne, including labeling of some math packets. There are some math textbook bundles that are only “subtly” different from others but contain important software or books that others do not.

“Two or three times we’ve gotten them wrong and students have had to bring them back,” Payne said. “We need to do a better job of labeling.”

Come summer term, Payne wants to rearrange the bookstore again to make more space for books and possibly another register.
“Summer term is really slow,” Payne said. “You can take the lessons you learned over the past school year and apply them.”

 

Scott Greenstone
The Broadside

sgreenstone@cocc.edu

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