Kent State Bookstore Grinds My Gears

Mr. Japanese Sea Cow and I are visibly upset over not being permitted to buy a fucking Ampad notebook from the Kent State University Bookstore in the Student Center Complex, because I wouldn’t put my backpack in their “Place Bag Here” wooden cubby hole matrix. First, I disagree with the attitude that the bookstore takes toward students and anyone else who may be carrying a backpack–obviously, women are permitted to carry their bags into the store, large and small. I realize that many bookstores on college campuses have these bag areas with the idea in mind to reduce shrinkage. There are other, more effective ways to reduce shrinkage without overtly labeling all potential customers are thieves. Second, the Kent State Bookstore in no way assumes any responsibility for my bag and its contents, which includes a laptop, iPhone, books, notes, tools, etc. That’s right–tools. I don’t want to appear hypocritical–not wanting to be viewed as a criminal, yet distrusting others with my things out of sight at the front of the store by a heavy traffic, public area, but there is a difference–the store has substantial capital and the potential means to effectively protect their goods without criminalizing all who enter their premises. I, on the other hand, do not have the capital to run the individual risk of someone purposively or mistakenly lifting my nondescript black backpack from a public space unattended. I can, however, hold on to my bag and dutifully give others respect as human beings and fight the urge to steal, which apparently the bookstore is afraid that I cannot control. Third, I’m particularly troubled by the fact that students obey the signs and leave their things at the front of the store. I didn’t stand there after my altercation, so I don’t know how many were rebuked, but a girl in front of me was also reprimanded. However, she went back to the front and left her bag. I, on the other hand, left vowing never to return. Oh yes, I have voted in the market by taking my $3.50 elsewhere, and I will, going forward, tell my students to seek their books from businesses that give them respect as individuals and not treat them as criminals. By putting de Certeau’s theory of individual choice into action, I believe that I am effectively sticking it to the Kent State Bookstore and its attack on respect for persons. In my best Ricky Bobby voice–“Alan Wilde, save me with your magical powers of irony!”

I am a professor of English at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY whose teaching includes composition and technical communication, and research focuses on 20th/21st-century American culture, science fiction, neuroscience, and digital technology.

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Posted in Kent State, Personal
3 comments on “Kent State Bookstore Grinds My Gears
  1. Moosepants says:

    Fuck Kent State Trumbull bookstore they are Jews. They said book had water damage and it does not have water damage, the rude a## Bit#h at the counter said it had water damage. Took to warren library and they said its not water damage at all. Just a little worn in the index. They are assholes looking to profit from innocent students just trying to get through college.

  2. Moosepants says:

    The course was 8 weeks long and the book sat at my computer desk the entire 8 weeks. Did not even need the book during class. Used it only to complete assignments online. The people that work there were rude when I asked them to explain what part was water damaged. I will be attending a different college next semester because of this and will try my best to convince everyone I know thinking of signing up to attend a different university. The book I am referring to has a card in it for online labs. Selling it online would basically be ripping someone off. I would have never even bought the book had I known they would shaft me after only 8 weeks of owning it. Long story short don’t I repeat don’t trust them. They lie like professional con artists and you will be disappointed as a result. Stuck with a hundred dollar book you have absolutely no use for.

  3. Jason Ellis says:

    Dear Moosepants, I thought a long while about approving your comments, because you fill your first comment above with racist and sexist remarks. It sounds like you are very frustrated by not using a book in one class and then having trouble returning it to the Trumbull bookstore. As maddening as these two events may be, I would ask that you reconsider your response. Why would you think it appropriate to use a racial term in a derogatory manner in this situation? Are there other ways to respond to and think about what you experienced without lowering yourself to the level of a racist or a sexist? If the person you dealt with at the bookstore was rude, is there another way that you could rise above that by requesting to speak to a supervisor or sending a registered letter to the management? I think that giving voice to your frustration on my blog or other online discussion forums is also acceptable as long as you employ civil discourse. I believe that you are better than that, and I hope that if you do read this that you will reflect on your thoughts and what you write in the future. All the best, Jason

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Who is Dynamic Subspace?

Dr. Jason W. Ellis shares his interdisciplinary research and pedagogy on DynamicSubspace.net. Its focus includes the exploration of science, technology, and cultural issues through science fiction and neuroscientific approaches. It includes vintage computing, LEGO, and other wonderful things, too.

He is an Assistant Professor of English at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY (City Tech) where he teaches college writing, technical communication, and science fiction.

He holds a Ph.D. in English from Kent State University, M.A. in Science Fiction Studies from the University of Liverpool, and B.S. in Science, Technology, and Culture from Georgia Tech.

He welcomes questions, comments, and inquiries for collaboration via email at jellis at citytech dot cuny dot edu or Twitter @dynamicsubspace.

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