We've All Been There: 'Selling' Back Our Books

You finished your last exam early and, after waiting for someone else to turn theirs in (you don’t want to be first!), ran down the steps of that lecture hall, slammed that baby on the desk and skipped your way to freedom. As you walk home you notice how great the air smells, how bright the sun is and how beautiful your campus is. School is out and you are feelin’ groovy.
After regaling your roommates with tales from your 90-minute essay exam (“I totally rocked that shiz!”), you head to your room to start the end-of-the-year cleaning session, beer in hand. You grab a garbage bag, sit down at your desk and start sifting through the piles of papers, books and notebooks that litter your desk.
In the back of your mind, you know that some of those notebooks will come in handy for next year’s classes. In the front of your mind, though, you know you will never look at them ever again. So, in a celebratory fashion, you toss one binder after another into the Hefty.
“Bye bye, Econ! See ya never, Psych 240!” The feeling is euphoric. All those syllibi, gone. All those Power Point slides, gone. Those damn course packs, gone. All those near-empty highlighters, gone.
Before you know it, you are left with nothing but a stack of books.
You gather the books, throw them into your backpack and head to the bookstore to sell them back. On your way, you start planning what you will do with all that extra money. A keg for the big end-of-the-year bash? A new bag?  The possibilities are endless. Even though you know the bookstores totally screw you with the buy-back, you have, like, 12 books this time! Giant, expensive textbooks and lots of novels. You’re sure there is some serious cash flow coming your way.
The bag is heavy and by the time you make it to the bookstore you are sweating. Naturally, the line is super long and filled with other students hoping to make it rain. You stand there, cocked to the side from that overflowing bag of books, and watch student after student happily free themselves of the semester. Only the looks on their faces as they leave isn’t one of big money – it is anger.
When it is finally your turn, you unload your books onto the counter. The cashier scans them one at a time, forming two piles.
“We can’t use these,” he says, pointing to the larger stack. “They’re going with the new edition next year.” He offers to let you take them home (so nice of him), or he can donate them to whatever organization it is that wants your used copy of Tom Jones. You consider taking them – you aren’t going to give those away for free! – but then you realize that you’d have to carry those all back home, not to mention pack them up and move them.
“Ugh. Just keep them,” you say.
You don’t think things can get any worse and then he hands you your money. A whole $26. For 5 books. That wasn’t even a quarter of the cost of one! You rip that money out of his hands and storm out of the store.
——
Yeah, we’ve all been there. Maybe if you combine your money with all of your friends, you’d have enough for that keg.

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