Friday, 03 February 2006, 22:52:06 EST

It seems that thirty years ago, Bill Gates wrote a letter to the Homebrew Computer Club. Essentially, he called everyone there thieves and asked them to pay him for the software they were using. He didn't feel he was being adequately compensated for his time in writing Altair BASIC. In the subsequent month's newsletter there was a response to his letter. The very last sentence of this letter is awesome: "And, by the way, calling all of your potential future customers thieves is perhaps "uncool" marketing strategy." It is the same way I feel about the book store on campus.

A couple years ago, the campus book store lost some books to someone with a backpack. Evidently, they couldn't keep an eye on people during the rush at the beginning of the semester. Their solution for their ineptness was to make people leave their backpacks, and laptop bags, in a room outside of the book store during the first couple weeks of the semester. Well, it didn't take too long before someone lost a laptop as a result of this stupid policy. Did that make them remove the policy? Nope, they just stationed someone in the room to check-in/out the bags. When the University Center opened, the book store decided to implement the policy full time. They decided to call every patron of their store a thief year-round — I stopped shopping there except for when I can't get my book any where else. I have only had to purchase one book from them since, and that was because I was unable to register until a couple days before classes started. I buy all my books online; mostly via

I suppose this is one of the problems with a monopoly (even though MS wasn't then; they just always been morons). They feel like they can tell the consumer how high to jump and get away with it. The RIAA will eventually learn they can't get away with it and Microsoft is coming around. I think the campus book store has already gone back to the "only during the rush" policy. I wrote a letter to the school paper a few weeks ago complaining about Auxiliary Services, the department that runs the book store, cafeteria, and vending machines, and I believe the editor forwarded it to them. Auxiliary Services, surprisingly, resolved the issue that caused me to write the letter and I saw someone walk out of the book store with their backpack on a few days ago.

Any way, I was just happy to see that I'm not the only one that believes you shouldn't call your potential customers thieves. It is offensive and something I refuse to support.