Wednesday, September 29, 2010 Excuse

I've been an user for a long time and I know that, during most of the year, their shipping is pretty quick and delightful... except in December and the beginning of semesters. During those periods, the ship dates CANNOT be trusted and my Spidey Sense starts to tingle (admittedly, this is a mixed metaphor of a sort, given my avatar).

So... I warn the students. Grad students. No no. Uh uh.

For the Fall Semester, since I was using a new textbook for one of my classes (a fine new book that was half the price of a comparable book AND from one of the larger academic publishers), I publicized it to all of my registered students during the summer. I let them know that the book was available, that it was cheap (EVEN AT THE UNIVERSITY BOOKSTORE PRICES) and to WATCH OUT if they got it from alternative sources.

You can guess what happened.

The Silver Banshee - Decided to go the route. By the Week #2, it still hadn't shown up. AND... she had purchased it from an Amazon third party for about twice the price.

Lex Luthor - Also went to Still hadn't arrived by Week #3.

Of course, I told both to see a classmate, whatever. They undoubtedly did that because they turned in their homework.

So... I thought this was over. However, it was a little irksome, particularly since I had these two before.

THAT WAS UNTIL... a student in my OTHER class (a totally different class) informed me of a problem. This week was Week #5 and Brainiac told me that her book had not arrived yet. And we are almost done with the book. And most of the mid-term will cover material from that text. I was gasping for air, just as if green kryptonite had been placed at my feet.

Certainly, the book problem is theirs, but they laid the problem on my lap after I told them all this summer about the textbook.

My options are:

1. As the defender of Truth and Justice, just let it be. After all, Student = Snowflake. The tests and papers will  undoubtedly reflect this slackness.

2. Get out the Phantom Zone projector and send them away.

3. Conjure Billy Mumy from the old Twilight Zone episode and wish them into the corn field.

4. Turn them over to Rorschach from The Watchmen.

5. Do 2, 3, and 4, and use them as examples next semester.


  1. Your pop-culture references are lost on me, but I have always warned students that buying books online can save money but that it can lead to things like this. In my current position, it hasn't mattered as I have a couple of desk copies to loan out to them if they need them (First come, first served and they cannot leave the room (The books, not the students.).) But, when it does become a problem in the future, I suspect that they will try to whine. I won't stand for it. I do my best to bust my hump to help them succeed in Math. I have empathy and sympathy for them since I have had to tutor family members through Math and I know many of the pitfalls they hit in their studies. But I have no sympathy for students who don't take my warnings seriously. It is better, in my view, to fork over for the more expensive sure-thing (it is a custom edition so hard to find online) than to risk getting screwed by the shipping concerns for a small savings.

    Mathsquatch out.

  2. Option #6: Your students are not snowflakes. They are fucktards. They better learn how to buy books.

  3. I vote for #5! And I actually got all of your pop-culture references, which is a little you teach Communications? I swear, you sound just like a colleague in my department

  4. So, I'm guessing that your school doesn't have a library where they could at least order a copy of the book through Inter-Library loan or something.

    If my grade depended on having a specific book, I was waiting for it to arrive, and time was running out, I'd bite the bullet, buy a copy at the bookstore and return the one I ordered by mail when it arrived.

    I used to sell books on Amazon, yes, they'll accept returns. And even if they didn't, what's a bigger waste of money, buying an extra textbook I could sell next semester to another student, or blowing off part of a class that cost a lot more money than the textbook!

  5. In the sciences, the situation gets even worse. Publishers now have snazzy online homework websites which require an access code located inside the book. Not only can they not read the book until the 3rd week of the semester, they can't do the homework until then also.

  6. I put all the books for the course on 2-hour reserve at the library. End of excuses.

  7. maybe we could round up books for our students and give them to them, with our own highlighting inside. maybe we could wipe their bums, wind their watches (nobody wears watches anymore). no good deed goes unpunished, and no amount of good advice can stop students from fucking it up.

  8. ...I just don't get this. I'm an undergrad who reads this blog (and attempts to not be a snowflake!) and everyone I know with a .edu email address got an Amazon Student account this summer. Free two-day shipping, and it was even reliable at the beginning of the semester- I ordered books on a Tuesday afternoon and received them on Thursday afternoon, the first week of September. If a crowd of undergrads can manage to find out about Amazon Student, why can't your grad students?

  9. Chloe: Nope, I'm not a CommProf, just a bit interested in everything. [Heck, I didn't think these references were very obscure.]

    Rachel: Two of the three were younger grad students (recent undergrads). However, I had never heard of the 'Amazon Student' so I will check this out and let my classes know.

    Diana Prince should have already let me know, of course. (Another pop reference.)

  10. Dr D- it's a new thing this year. I had an Amazon account linked to my gmail, and got an email notifying me of the new Amazon Student program some time over the summer, signed up immediately. It's essentially a free Prime account in exchange for dealing with some extra emails from Amazon once in a while, but those extra emails often have good discount codes for affiliated websites (20% on, for example, which got me cheap shoes last month).


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