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.
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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.