I oppose the privatization of the UNC Student Stores (“UNC to turn its bookstore over to Barnes & Noble,” April 22 news article).
It is good to read that UNC got a better than average deal at the outset from B&N, and kudos to all involved in that outcome. My sense, however, is that B&N is playing a long game.
When my daughter worked at the privatized B&N college bookstore in Harvard Square, I was able to experience its business model in action.
The only way for B&N to give the university more scholarship money and make a hefty profit for its shareholders was to cut services, raise prices and degrade labor practices. To the last point, B&N is allergic to paying a living wage or allowing employees to gain seniority. This in turn affects patrons.
My prediction is that in five years the UNC Student Stores will be appreciably inferior to the one we now have, for both employees and patrons. I would also be interested in what actual sums are being given to the university for scholarships at that time. If the outcome is better than I imagine, I would be glad to be proven wrong.