Editorial: The Skidmore Shop just 'gets it'

Posted by the Editorial Board

Campus stores sell overpriced books, car decals and too many T-shirts. Our campus store brings students free food from downtown businesses, organizes raffles and makes convenient every item students might need in their four years at the college, from toothbrushes to party balloons. The Skidmore Shop might also sell overpriced books, but we won't hold that against it.

Follow the Skidmore Shop Twitter or fan the store's Facebook page and see daily discounts, giveaways and promotions all geared toward making items as accessible to students as possible. When paired with the SkidShop's popular new trend of bringing free food from local restaurants to campus every week, it's clear that the college's store seeks to be more than a pricey alternative to Amazon.com.

Where offices all over campus competently serve students' needs, the Skidmore Shop seems genuinely in tune with student life. Realizing students' frustration with unpredictable buy-back prices, the store made some books for a set rental fee. When students mentioned they would drop by after business hours, the SkidShop extended its hours to 7 p.m. three days a week. In countless other ways, and to no small degree aided by their strong online presence, the store's friendly staff does their best to make the best experience for every student who might walk in.

Despite the employees' best efforts, everyone has a story about the time they left the Skidmore Shop frustrated, disappointed and broke. But students should remember that when they sigh over a marked-up price tag or groan at seeing the final bill for a semester's worth of textbooks that the extra money pays for convenience.

The store makes accessible every item that students might need for classes, dorm living and the occasional care package. More than that, employees do their best to make those amenities available to students at discounts - or for free! - whenever they can. Students should consider that the exorbitant price tags they associate with our campus store might lie out of the hands of its friendly staff.

But even when employees can't bring down high textbook prices, they should consider ways to help students make the best spending decisions at the start of every semester. When they know that a course's books will soon be replaced by new editions, staff should let enrolled students know they might consider a textbook rental rather than leave them disappointed come buy-back time. If they see students struggling to navigate new and used book prices when buying textbooks online, the SkidShop could consider updating a poorly organized website that seems outmoded next to the store's ambitious social network and marketing program.

Improvements like these would continue the Skidmore Shop's habit of staying in tune with students' needs at every step of the way. Hopefully, college administrators will soon recognize that the store has taken on a role far surpassing just a campus store and look to expanding its facilities beyond its now-crowded corner of Case Center. A larger space would allow the staff to stock items prohibited by the current cramped conditions, opening up possibilities like a much-needed grocery section offering organic produce right on campus.

But even with its current limited space and inability to lower rising textbook prices, we applaud how the store has tried at every stage to become a real resource to students. Already offering students convenience and easy accessibility, the Skidmore Shop has gone well beyond its role as a campus store to become an extension of student life.

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