The Homecoming bookstore craze

Photo courtesy of Noelle Cave.
Students Josh Comalli and Jamilla Buzzell shop during Homecoming weekend.

The campus bookstore during Homecoming weekend was filled with people coming in with a smile and leaving with a bag of Castleton gear or souvenirs.

“I love homecoming,” said Colleen Ruiz, manager of the bookstore in the Campus Center.  “Homecoming is all about swag, apparel, gifts, tailgating, and all about the fun stuff.”

Compared to other special events, and the regular rush of students at the beginning of each semester, Ruiz and others who work in the bookstore get most pumped up for Homecoming weekend, and welcoming parents onto campus.

She said she enjoys working with each and every customer to make their experience in the bookstore superb but enjoys working with the parents especially.

Although it can be chaotic, Ruiz spoke about what it takes to keep the bookstore running smoothly.

“First it takes organization, making sure the bookstore is staffed accordingly for what the business needs,” she said. 

Ruiz also explained how it is important for her to make the parents feel like their child is safe here on campus, and that professors and staff are here to help and support them. 

Specially for Homecoming Weekend, students and parents were offered a 20% discount off an item, which many utilized when buying their Castleton “swag,” as Ruiz would call it.

She explained how she notices students coming in days before Homecoming weekend to spot out items they want, and then come back with their parents to purchase those items.

Parents and students were trying on sweatshirts, checking out bumper sticks, and better yet, scoping out the trending Hydro flask water bottles.

Junior business major Li Aunes has been a work study student at the bookstore for two years now and spoke about how hectic Homecoming can be.

“It was much busier than it normally is. Even with extra staff, we still had really long lines,” said Aunes, who usually works behind the cash register.

She noted how Ruiz is always in sight to help out when there are questions.

With the long lines and the bookstore filled with people anxiously waiting to be checked out, have their questions be answered, or helped, Aunes talks about how it can start to get overwhelming.

“You can feel the line looking at you to work faster,” she said, all amped up. “Even when you’re going as fast as you can cashing people out and checking for alarms on the gear, you have to remind yourself to not stress, or mistakes can be made.”

Even when it is very busy and overwhelming, Aunes took the time to help parents and students get their 20% discount code activated on their phone when they were having trouble.

On the other side of the cash register, junior criminal justice major Josh Comalli, stopped  into the store three times to check out the gear. He was excited to use his 20% discount on a water bottle and Castleton ball cap.

He noted how busy it was weaving his way through the store, trying to find items he wanted, but was quick to say, “The staff is super friendly and helpful.”

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