What I Found in the Bookstore

Author: Jonathan Cousins, SEAS’14

On my way to class, I often take a shortcut through the Penn Bookstore.  As I glance down the aisles, I see some of the things you expect: books, hats, shirts, computer materials, and the like.  But recently,  I walked over to the Penn gear section, and some of the things I found surprised me.  Interestingly, the bookstore had a sign on the information desk that described the type of items that I found, as many of them were odd, curious and cool.

And so, I would now like to  present a list of the strangest things I found for sale in the Penn bookstore.

1. Penn Belt

The idea of wearing a Penn Belt is an interesting one.  It would not make sense for the business world, since it is red or blue instead of the classier black or brown normally worn with business clothing.  It also has the repeating Penn logo, which makes it stick out.  I don’t think I could match the belt itself to many things in my wardrobe, and I don’t think I have ever seen anyone wearing one around campus.

2. Penn Chocolate Bars

I’m having a little trouble imagining when one might need this item. While I might be inclined to imagine a high-class Penn party, even then,the dessert would probably be fancier than a chocolate bar.  The only fun scenario I could see with these is using them as application responses.  Imagine receiving a Penn chocolate bar in the mail, and having to open it to discover either nothing or a red and blue foil ticket, granting you admission to the University.  But I digress…

3. Penn Boxers

Another item that is not usually seen, and so the Penn logo part of it is pretty irrelevant.  Maybe those items give the wearer some sort of school pride, but it takes a certain type of person to buy school brand clothing that doesn’t get seen by the general public.

4. Penn Birdhouse

This item really struck me.  Sitting on the bottom of a shelf up against the wall of the store, it is pretty hard to find.  But there it was, a custom painted wooden birdhouse  with “Penn” painted on it.  However, I imagine that having birds use the bathroom on your beautiful red and blue birdhouse roof would put a damper on your school spirit.  But someone must love birds and Penn enough to make this purchase.

5. Penn Stuffed Animals

The Quaker doll I can understand, as I can the generic teddy bear with a Penn shirt.  But a Penn zebra or elephant or giraffe?  Why?  Who could they be trying to market towards that would not appreciate a simple teddy bear?  If people want nice stuffed animals, they go to a toy store.  If they want a souvenir animal, they can get a mascot or a bear. I, for one, don’t see the need for such a large selection.

6. And finally, one of my favorites, the Penn Invitation

This ties into the golden ticket idea from above.  Imagine getting an invitation in the mail, “You’re invited to Penn!”  Sadly, upon further reading, you would discover that this would be a birthday party at a football game, instead of admission to the University.  Now, I love Penn Athletics, and, as a Red and Blue Crew Leader, I am committed to making Penn sports more popular.  But one thing I don’t see very often is Penn birthday parties.  I know this is a common occurrence at other pro sports, and even popular college sports, but at Penn?

It may seem like I am down on the Penn Bookstore, but I’m really not.  I have made many purchase from there, and will continue to do so.  I just have fun wandering through the endless piles of Penn gear and wondering what kind of person would pick up and purchase a Penn birdhouse.  If you have not made a trek to explore the Penn section of the bookstore, I highly recommend it.  You never know what you might find.


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Filed under Campus Life, Jonathan C., Student Perspective

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