Students don’t appreciate a good thing until it’s gone

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Students wait in line to get into the K-State Campus Store to get their books. Many students said they had been waiting hours before getting in on Aug. 23, 2016. (Emily Starkey | The Collegian)

It’s was a sad, sad day to see the Varney’s Bookstore, a Manhattan, Kansas, landmark, leave the Kansas State family.

That day was actually Feb. 28, 2013, when the K-State family turned its back on the beloved store in favor of Follett Higher Education Group Inc. instead of renewing Varney’s contract with the university, according to Austin Nichols’ Collegian article, “Union selects new bookstore provider, ending long partnership with Varney’s.”

More recently, Steve Levin, co-owner of Varney’s, told the Collegian that since then, Varney’s has been losing its revenue until, finally, it had to close down, according to Collin Weaver’s Collegian article, “Varney’s announces plans to close.”

As people waited in line to get their textbooks from the K-State Campus Bookstore, some were speculating about why they had to endure the wait. Earlier this week, some students said in Emily Starkey’s “Street Talk: Waiting for books” that they had been waiting in line for one to two hours — probably hating every minute of it.

Facebook users as well have commented on Varney’s closing, and it appears many people are pretty disappointed.

“This is not right,” Rayna Dawn Kopriva, Facebook user, commented on a post in the K-State Family Facebook group.

While it is true a K-State tradition is now gone, this only goes to prove that people don’t appreciate a good thing while they have it. Waiting in line in the K-State Student Union, the first thought someone could have is, “I wish Varney’s was still here.” If everyone had thought that before, the store wouldn’t have gone out of business.

Since Varney’s moved out of the Union, many students started getting their textbooks from Follett or online.

Maybe it’s our own fault Varney’s closed and the line to get into the bookstore wraps around the ground floor of the Union. Even now, some students are saying they’re going to most likely start ordering their textbooks online to avoid the store.

Daniel Klima, senior in industrial engineering, said he had waited the entire first week of classes to try to get his textbooks and still had a long wait ahead of him Thursday afternoon, standing in a line that stretched well beyond Commerce Bank on the ground floor of the Union. Klima said even though he thought ordering textbooks online could be a hassle, he was seriously considering doing so for future semesters.

It’s like a domino effect. People don’t want to wait in lines at the local bookstore, so they go order online — except that’s the reason why the other local bookstores went out of business.

We can complain about the line at the campus bookstore as it is extremely unpleasant, but we should probably also remember we needed to have appreciated Varney’s while we still had it.

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Kelsey Kendall
Hi everyone! I'm a junior in journalism and cultural anthropology. I'm pretty excited to be the Collegian feature editor this semester. I hope to someday take the skills I learn here to a major newspaper reporting on international issues.
  • J Williams

    I think the focus should be more on K-State and their option to switch providers in the union. Clearly the change hasn’t been a benefit to the student. I also believe that students did appreciate Varney’s when it was there but K-State has continually put the almighty dollar over the student experience and quality of learning in the past few years.

  • Bill Smriga

    And now for the rest of the story. The lines to the Campus Store were long for three reasons. The first reason was caused by a delay to the start of Union renovation. Because the campus chilled water line project was behind, the Union was forced to delay the start of renovation by two months. Had this delay not occurred, the Campus Store renovation would have been complete before the start of the fall semester and would have had more than twice its allocated space. This would have allowed for more cash registers to be set up, as will be the case in the future. The second reason was that the fire code limited the number of people that could be in the store at one time. Operating in less than half of its space, the store could only allow about 75 students in at a time. The third reason is that many students wait until the first couple of days of class to buy their books. There were no lines until the first day of class. If students had purchased books before classes started, they could easily return the ones they don’t want or need to the Campus Store for a full refund. That’s a lot less stressful than buying them in between class times.