By Natasha Bhuyan
WILL SEBERGER/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Nursing sophomore Tiffany Holmes buys books at the UofA Bookstore yesterday afternoon. Holmes was one of about 200 people standing in the cashier line.
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, August 24, 2004
Hundreds of students filed through the main UofA Bookstore yesterday, resulting in long lines and unofficially marking the first day of the academic year.
Frank Farias, director of UofA Bookstores, said the first two days of the fall semester are typically the busiest of the year.
"We try to move people out as fast as we can," Farias said.
To combat the lines, the bookstore had four checkout points with 29 registers running. In addition, approximately 12 floor staff were on hand to handle questions from students.
"I'm traffic control - having fun," said bookstore employee Joe Gladstone as he guided students through five lines.
In the morning, the approximate waiting time was seven minutes. However, by mid-afternoon, lines snaked around the staircase and students stood in line for up to 13 minutes.
"We expect it (long lines), but it doesn't mean we like it," said Troy Maikis, an ecology and evolutionary biology junior.
But Brittany Mountain, a pre-nursing freshman who made two trips to the bookstore, said the wait was not as long as she anticipated.
"I've only been in line for like 10 minutes ... I just hope I'm in the right one," said Tristan Dawson, a pre-business freshman.
Students who were charging their books to their CatCard or bursar's account stood in a separate line from those who were paying with cash, check or credit cards.
Leif Robinson, an electrical engineering senior, said he had "no complaints" about the bookstore lines because they were moving quickly.
"It's no different than a mall," said Farias of the heavy student traffic.
Farias added that Order Textbooks Electronically served approximately 7,600 students, a figure up 20 percent from last year. OTE significantly reduces lines and helps first-year students "a great deal," Farias said.
"Ordering online is just a lot easier," said Van Duong, a pre-physiological sciences sophomore.
But Maikis pointed out OTE is only beneficial if all class books are in stock.
Currently, the bookstore carries over 4,000 titles. Farias said textbooks which were not available last week have already been ordered.
Leanna Olivar, an educational psychology graduate student, said she waited to buy her textbooks because she wanted to attend class first to see what books her professors required.
Some students made several trips to the bookstore to check the status of books on order.
Amber Kinzie, a pre-communication freshman, returned to the bookstore because her German textbook did not get in until today.
"It was a little confusing at first because the books are divided into subject," said Kinzie.
Kinzie, who skipped out on the long lines because she had to get to class, said she plans to return to the bookstore in the morning when the lines are expected to be shorter.
The UofA Bookstore will be open this week from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Weekend hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Bookstore officials expect a steady stream of business throughout the week.
Sept. 13 is the deadline for students who wish to return or exchange books.