Working in customer service has its ups and downs. But one bookstore employee has had such an up, it felt like heaven. Some time ago, tumblr user beepboop-its-a-robot witnessed an old lady buying a complete stranger $400 worth of textbooks. Considering that the average student in the USA spends around $1,200 a year on books and supplies, that’s quite a gesture. Heck, she even tossed in some chocolates. And when you learn about her own son’s sad fate, the story becomes even more profound.
And when you thought the story couldn’t get any better…
Image credits: beepboop-its-a-robot
The student who got to experience this lady’s kind heart isn’t the only one who could use her help. Textbook prices have been soaring. And that’s putting it lightly. According to NBC’s review of Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, textbook prices have risen over three times the rate of inflation from January 1977 to June 2015. A 1,041 percent increase.
“They’ve been able to keep raising prices because students are ‘captive consumers.’ They have to buy whatever books they’re assigned,” said Nicole Allen, a spokeswoman for the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition.
Some compare these numbers to a pharmaceutical sales model where the publishers spend their time wooing the decision makers to adopt their product. In this case, however, it’s professors instead of doctors. “Professors are not price-sensitive and they then assign and students have no say,” said Ariel Diaz, CEO of Boundless, a free and low-cost textbook publisher.