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Turning Snowflakes into Rings During Returns Season

Posted by Rob Heller on 2/10/14 10:00 PM
Topics: college store customer service

The following article was written by MBS Representative, Rob Heller. Read more of Rob’s industry insights and experiences on his personal blog.

For 50 billion dollars you would think someone could turn snowflakes into rings. It seems criticizing the Winter Olympic Games has become a sport all its own this year. Between pictures of poor accommodations and ongoing construction, Twitter has been abuzz. Even the account, @sochiproblems has more followers than the official: @sochi2014. Let’s face the fact; the Winter Olympics are an easy target.

Besides the Winter Olympics, the next easiest target of criticism may be college bookstores. Much like the Sochi Games, I don’t think we are understood; we are too unique to be mainstream. It takes a tremendous amount of work behind the scenes to choreograph the events we do. Rush is our Opening Ceremony. It’s challenging and, sometimes, not all our snowflakes turn into rings. But, that's bound to happen anytime something is put in the spotlight and there are steps we can take to improve our performance.

Now, we are entering a new phase called return season. Have you notified your instructors or students using late term texts? History and English classes often have multiple books that are purchased as they are needed. Students need to know those books have return limits set by publishers and wholesalers. College bookstore are already an easy target where credibility is challenged, so being proactive with issues like these can make all the difference in student and faculty perception.

I am sure over the next two weeks the Olympics will provide us with stories of accomplishment many times over the criticisms and stereotypes. However, the Sochi and IOC officials can help their cause by avoiding poor execution. We need to do the same in our bookstore, by notifying our campus that return season deadlines may affect text availability.

Good luck with returns and enjoy the Winter Olympic Games!

About Rob Heller

Rob Heller began work with MBS in the Wholesale Division in 2012, but his bookstore experiences stretch several decades. He began his career in the early 1990s with College Bookstores of America at their off-campus location serving Clemson University. Rob is also an accomplished sports broadcaster having announced nearly 2,500 games including the ACC and NCAA Tournaments. He has served as the home stadium announcer for Clemson University, Coastal Carolina University, and several professional baseball and soccer teams. He and his wife currently reside in Elgin, South Carolina, (near Columbia) along with their three boys.

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