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Prices, and More, to Be Cut for Black Friday

By Joshua Boucher

The Campus Bookstore has announced their plan to have a very special Black Friday Sale later this week. The Campus Bookstore, part of Campus Services, has stated that the goal of the sale is to help students adapt to the ever-increasing price of required textbooks.

“We’ve heard from countless students that their textbooks for the semester always cost them an arm and a leg, and that, with tuition prices steadily rising, managing all of these costs is becoming increasingly difficult,” said the General Manager of the Campus Bookstore in a statement earlier this month.

“With that in mind, we’ve adopted a temporary new business plan to help reduce costs for students. For Black Friday only, rather than costing the proverbial arm and a leg, every student’s textbooks for the Winter Semester will only cost them an arm.”

The Bookstore GM went on to explain the unorthodox approach that makes this discount possible. “Now, I can’t fully disclose the specifics of our business model, since that constitutes proprietary information. However, I can say that there’s a certain demand on the black market for certain body parts. I’m not saying that that’s what we’re involved with, since that would be incriminating. But…you know.” The GM then winked knowingly.

She went on to elaborate upon the benefits of this deal. “There are all these horror stories of people stealing kidneys from others just to earn enough money for school, but now that won’t be necessary. With our new set up, you can simply exchange one of your arms for all of your textbooks. You choose which arm, and so everyone’s bodily autonomy is maintained. That’s the ultimate goal of the sale, anyway.”

OHREA Objects

There has, however, been a fair amount of concern regarding the sale strategy. The Office of Human Rights, Equity, and Accessibility has spoken out against this Black Friday sale, on the grounds that it is a threat to equity and accessibility.

“This sale doesn’t take into account that some people don’t have any arms to give,” a spokesperson from OHREA said. “We’ve been advocating for accommodations to be made that allow people to exchange any body part of equal financial value for their textbooks, not just their arm.”

Otherwise, OHREA is largely in favour of the sale. “If more people are losing limbs,” the spokesperson said, “then our services would be in higher demand. With that, we just might get approved for enough funding to actually make some changes around here.”

The Campus Bookstore has acknowledged the concerns of OHREA, and they have stated they intend to implement some form of accommodations before the sale takes place at the end of this week.

A Simple Market Shift

Others have raised concerns regarding the ethics of the sales strategy. Dr. William Oligopolous, a professor of marketing strategy, has commented that this specific sales technique isn’t all that new in principle. “We’ve already commodified things that are essential for life—like food, clean water, and medicine—so doing the same with body parts isn’t that much of a leap.”

He went on to explain why textbook prices have been increasing so much.

“We’ve seen this trend over the last few decades, and it’s mostly because publishers want to increase their profits. Now, some might say it’s not ethical for a business to raise prices for no reason other than profits, but it’s the kind of corporate behaviour that’s rewarded under our current economic system. That’s just capitalism, baby.”

“Of course,” he continued, “there are a lot of free textbook resources online–as long as the big publishers don’t sue them–that course instructors could implement and embrace, but that would require extra work from the faculty. And, c’mon, we don’t have time for that. And a lot of professors barely know how to use Blackboard, let alone entirely new websites.”

Additionally, publishers have also begun to bundle textbooks with educational software, thus increasing the price of required course materials. For students who are barely getting by as is, these added costs are only holding them back.

Dr. Oligopolous commented, “This way is better. For the wealthy, that is. Only the rich can afford advanced degrees, so they get higher paying jobs. The system is designed to make sure the rich get richer and the poor stay poor. If people didn’t want to be stuck in the lower classes, they should have thought of that before they were born into poor families.”

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