Washington Breezeway Front

The UCF bookstore is located in the John T. Washington Center, otherwise known as the Breezeway. The bookstore's general manager Steven Way estimated that 20,000 to 25,000 people visited the bookstore during the first week of fall semester.

The rushed cashier at register 12 shouted for the next person in line.

Katrina Rodriguez, junior political science major, had been waiting for the past 20 minutes, daydreaming to distract herself from how sluggish the line was moving.

When Rodriguez was finally called upon, she scurried to the register, placing $300 worth of textbooks on the counter.

“This is my third year at UCF so I’ve grown accustomed to waiting in long lines and getting screwed by the prices,” Rodriguez said.

At the beginning of each semester, thousands of students rotate in and out of UCF's bookstore every day, creating long lines and even longer wait times.

“I always have to buy my textbooks at the bookstore because of financial aid,” Rodriguez said. “I don’t really have another choice except to get ripped off and wait in line.”

Each semester, Rodriguez said she spends between $200 to $400 on textbooks. This semester she purchased two textbooks for around $300.

Rodriguez, who has waited in line for up to 30 minutes in the past, said ordering online to save time doesn't help because you still have to wait in long pickup lines.

Steven Way, general manager at the campus bookstore, said the biggest challenge in the first week of every semester is ensuring every student has a positive experience at the bookstore.

“When students come in, it does look like a lot of people are in the bookstore, but the lines go quickly,” Way said. “We staff every single register in the building with an employee to get everyone through as fast as possible.”

Way said the campus bookstore has extensive training for all of their booksellers, and try to streamline all operating systems every semester. According to Way, around 300 to 350 employees are scheduled daily during the first week of classes.

“The first week is dealing with volume and traffic, and around the third week we go into our regular semester mode,” Way said.

During the first week of the semester, Way estimates that a daily average of 20,000 to 25,000 people flow in and out of the campus bookstore.

No matter how crowded the bookstore is on the first week, he said the staff does everything in their power to excel in assisting every customer and making sure they have a good experience.

Rachel Buckley, freshman marketing major, said she had a pleasant first experience buying textbooks at the campus bookstore.

Getting ahead of the rush, Buckley purchased her books when she moved into her dorm the week before school started and had to wait less than 10 minutes to pick up her books.

“It was a little bit of a pain because two of my books were back ordered, but overall it was good,” Buckley said.

When Buckley returned to the bookstore during the first week of classes, she said the line wrapped around the back of the store.

“The bookstore definitely isn’t lacking business during the first week,” Buckley said. “They do really well handling the lines and they definitely know how to handle the first week rush.”

In the future, Buckley said she will order her textbooks on Amazon to save money after she reads the class syllabus to see if the textbook is required.

“It wasn’t a bad first experience, I just like to save money and time,” she said.

The only negative thing Buckley said about her first experience at the campus bookstore was that some employees weren’t informative or helpful.

“I’d increase training so the people would know more what they’re talking about, but other than that the staff was good,” Buckley said.

Students have different experiences when it comes to purchasing books during the first week of classes. While some students buy or rent their textbooks, other students avoid the bookstore entirely and purchase their textbooks from Amazon and other websites.

“It sucks that textbooks cost me almost as much as my rent, but I don’t really have any other choice than to get screwed over by the bookstore,” Rodriguez said. “The bookstore does great on business because they don’t give students any other options except to wait in a 30-minute line and pay $200 for a textbook.”

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