Give me a break (and my change)

Chris Bellotti

After easily winning Good Counsel’s costume contest, I received a prize from one of the RAs – a whopping $15 gift certificate to our wonderful University Shop. I happened to be in the middle of the Quad heading to the library when I ran into the RA, who gave me my prize. Since the bookstore was on my way, it only seemed right that I spend it immediately. Money burns a hole in my pocket – gift certificates don’t even make it there in the first place.

As I headed to the bookstore, I fantasized about all of the wonderful things I could buy. I was so excited that I ran into the store with my backpack on and was immediately berated by Public Safety. They must have read my mind because I thought it was a steal to get anything there without having to shell over a buck or WildCard.

I decided to shop for pens. If I was lucky, I could get two. Since I didn’t find anything worth buying, I walked from the school supplies past the posters towards the registers, figuring that I should just get a bag of candy and mints.

I kept my head down the whole time because I didn’t want to ruin my mood by looking at the things I could buy if only I had a Presidential Scholarship. That would include a few beer mugs, which wouldn’t be smart anyway, because if I got caught with drinking paraphernalia it would get taken away. Then they would probably clean and resell the mug to the next unsuspecting student.

It was then that I stumbled across a brand-spanking-new blue camping chair. I wasn’t sure if it would be overpriced until I saw the “V” and the “Villanova” on it. The two logos were approximately worth my soul, but it was extremely ostentatious, so I checked the price.

Only 30 bucks for something I could reuse?! What a great deal! I even had my WildCard on me, so I could get the unbelievable five percent discount – a great favor and gesture to Villanova’s largest group of benefactors. I was so excited that I decided to buy a bag of Raisinets candy.

After waiting in a line of five people for what felt like six hours and 43 minutes, I greeted the cashier. He rang up my items, which came to a total of $32.44 after taxes. I handed him my gift certificate and WildCard and quickly computed my cost. $1.62 would have been 5 percent on top of the gift certificate, so I would owe $15.82. That seemed reasonable for the bookstore, so I was ready to pay and experience the chocolate-covered California raisin-y goodness. It seemed too good to be true. It was.

Sneakily, the cashier abided by a store policy to deduct the gift certificate before applying the WildCard discount. With that, the actual amount that the five percent would take away went from $1.62 to $0.87 – or three nickels and six dimes. Maybe I am wrong, but a gift certificate is really gift money that must be spent at a specific location. In other words, it is just as good as using the WildCard to charge the whole item – they already made the 15 bucks!

I was at $17.44 prior to the now-87 cents that I would get deducted from my WildCard. Enter surprise number two. “Okay, your total is $17.44.” I thought I was hearing things. I immediately questioned it, figuring that I didn’t hear correctly, which wouldn’t surprise me because as a columnist, having ears that work is not a possibility.

“No, it is store policy that the discount is not applied when using a gift certificate.” What? Let’s recap this: the bookstore eliminates its already measly and worthless discount that doesn’t even cover Pennsylvania sales tax if you have a gift certificate. In other words, they stick it to the students more than they already do when someone gives them money that they have to spend there.

We deserve a discount of at least 10 percent and not to have to deal with ridiculous policies. If they want to nickel-and-dime us and use poor business strategies, then we should stop shopping there. In other words, let’s stick it back to them. Let’s boycott the bookstore.

The 12 nickels and 10 dimes (and two pennies, too) that they had to have will be the least of their worries.

All I wanted was another bag of Raisinets. Speak up, Villanova.