Bookstore Institutes Temporary Bag-Check Policy

Joe Volpert

The Whitman College Bookstore initiated a temporary bag-check policy for the first week of the semester in order to prevent theft.   Students were asked to leave their bags outside the bookstore prior to entering.

“It was one less thing we had to worry about,” said Douglas Carlsen, director of the bookstore.

The policy lasted less than one week, ending the Wednesday after the start of classes.

While there have been occasional thefts at the bookstore, this was not the main reason why the policy was instituted.

“There have been incidental thefts throughout my time here, but one of the things we also noted too is that students will put books in [their personal] bag, bring them up to the counter, take them out of the bag,” said Carlsen.   “But it wasn’t always clear to us that that was why they were putting their book in their bag.   [The new policy] clarified to everyone that ‘I’m not stealing, I’m taking books up in the basket.'”

Carlsen sent an e-mail to students requesting help for checking the bags and found  five bag-checkers.

“The system seemed effective,” said junior Elana Congress, one of the student bag-checkers.

Meanwhile, other students think it is unfortunate that Whitman would need to institute a policy to prevent shoplifting.

“I think it is sad that the bookstore had to set up a bag checking system on an emergency basis,” said senior Maherin Ahmed, another bag-checker.

It is likely that this policy will continue in the future.

“We’ll probably continue it during that one week of chaos each semester,” said Carlsen.