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ASU must teach students to shop better

Published: Thursday, November 15, 2012

Updated: Thursday, November 15, 2012 14:11

 It appears the high cost of convenience may have found a new stomping ground on the ASU campus. The craze for a chance to take home a free iPad from the on-campus IT Store is officially over.  
However, for those of you still seeking a new piece of Apple technology, do not fear, because an overpriced iPad can still be yours.  
An innocuous Apple computer charger will run an ASU student $79 with tax on campus, compared to the same charger purchased for $41.50 with free shipping off Amazon.

 Or that fourth generation 16 GB iPad sold for $499 with student pricing. It too can be purchased cheaper elsewhere.  
The IT Store also combats savings because they lack the options, like purchasing used or refurbished products, which can potentially save students hundreds of dollars for the same quality products.

I doubt too many students take issue with having an Apple store on campus.  The IT store benefits students by providing them an assortment of new technology, fashions and electronic gizmos to accommodate student’s every need and desires.  They offer a loan program that allows students to try out new computers before committing to the purchase.  
Prices for their Apple products follow Apple’s US Education price index giving students reduced rates on campus.

So what is the problem with the ASU IT Store?  The problem comes two fold;  first creating an environment that encourages consumption while simultaneously creating a monopoly for this consumption to take place.  
This simply means the IT store has exclusive control over the products sold on campus.  
The IT store’s prices will go entirely unchecked unless the bookstore is carrying the exact same set of headphones.  Unlike retail stores like Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Target and others that sell similar products, the IT store goes without competition on campus.  
This becomes a sensitive issue for our ever-growing international population that has limited access to transportation off campus.

 I am aware that some may say this is the price students pay for the extra convenience of buying their products so close, but the question then becomes, “can Arkansas State students afford the luxury of the convenience?”

I think the answer is an obvious no.  
According to a report from the Institute for College Access and Success Project, the average American student debt for graduating students is close to $27,000 nationwide.

For students going to school in Arkansas, the debt averages out at $23,000.  This is a significant wad of cash for anyone to pay off, especially with a roller coaster job market.  
With this financial battle looming for Red Wolves, it makes sense that our university should educate its students to become fiscally responsible.  
After all, we will be the generation called upon to clean up the largest debt mess in human history; largely accumulated by unchecked spending habits.  
Instead of forcing spending with a monopoly aimed to increase profits through increased student debt, let’s put education back into focus.

Let’s teach students to take advantage of local resources, to weigh out options, shop multiple venues, spend within their means and encourage them to continue to use these processes in the future.

Micah Christensen is a junior communication studies major of Jonesboro.

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1 comments Log in to Comment

Mark L.
Thu Nov 15 2012 19:50
I have a number of reservations regarding these assertions. To be honest, I find most of them laughable. Where to begin?

The prices cited are the MSRP of the Apple products in-line with what one would typically pay at any brick and mortar establishment. Check the Apple Store (online or otherwise), same price. Check Best Buy(online or otherwise), same price. Amazon can undercut competition a bit because they cut out the middle man of a brick-and-mortar establishment; when one buys something at an actual store, one also pays the overhead costs of logistics, rent, management, local employees, etc. which all have interesting ways of filtering back into the local economy. When you buy at the IT Store, you're also paying the pitiable wage of your fellow students who work there so they don't have to take out ~$23,000 in debt.

The Jonesboro Jet public transit system offers shuttle between campus and every major retail center in Jonesboro, and even if such a thing did not exist, Jonesboro is still a rather small city and each of these shopping centers are still less than 2 miles from campus. If a 2 mile walk seems too arduous for a bunch of late-teen and twenty-somethings at the peak of their youthful vigor, who still don't seem understand how a bus system works, we ought to be having a different conversation. Even then, there is always the internet. No one is preventing the students to do any of those things.

If you're going to complain about a conveniently located store selling what people want to buy at comparable prices to their competitors, then you probably don't understand what a reasonable business model is. The IT store is just in the business of providing a service. I feel as though the author of this article and I agree that it is ultimately up to their perspective clientele to decide whether it is a service they want or need. With that decision comes all of the responsibility.

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