Top 8 ways to waste time while in the bookstore line

The last time you’ve waited this long in line was for a roller coaster at Six Flags Great America.

Seriously, can this really be the line for textbooks? While I applaud the bookstores for their efforts to make the process efficient, there really is no way to avoid a rush when 40,000-plus students need to go to the same few places.

No one will come sell you cotton candy, but there are some things you can do to make sure you’re using your time in line wisely:

1. Call your mother.

Admit it, you’ve been avoiding the talk with your mother that inevitably leads to, “So what have you been up to?” This way, you can answer in your most innocent, studious voice, “Just buying books so that I can get ahead on my studies!” She doesn’t have to know about your plans to hit up Kam’s later.

2. Make friends.

You already have something in common with the people around you: None of you wants to be standing in a line that looks more like the crowds for a Black Friday big-screen TV sales than for some overpriced textbooks. Even if you don’t feel comfortable striking up a conversation, at least throw someone an “I understand what you’re going through right now” smile.

3. Take a sneak peek at your readings.

If you’re more of an introvert, there’s no better time than the present to hit the books. Who knows — maybe you can finish next class’s reading assignment by the time you reach the checkout. Or maybe you’ll realize that you’re going to hate every minute of this course and it’s time to just drop it. Word to the wise: Make sure you’re still paying attention to the line — nothing is worse than a driver in heavy traffic who forgets to step on the gas at a green light. Don’t be that person.

4. Organize your wallet.

That receipt from last night’s Geo’s chicken strips? You may wish you could return that greasy indulgence, but there’s no going back on that one.

And while you’re in there, make sure you have your credit card or sufficient cash — because if you reach the front of that line and realize you don’t have it, you just won yourself a trip to the back of the crowd, and sadly you know from experience that it’s not a fun place to be.

5. Trim up your phone contacts and text messages.

For those of you smartphone users out there who don’t have to deal with the shackles of limited data and memory space, this may not apply. But that friend you worked on a group project with two years ago probably won’t call, and your contacts folder won’t miss him or her either.

6. Keep your eyes on the prize.

You think all of those pretty notebooks and glossy folders are coincidentally placed where you’re standing in line? Yeah right. They’re trying to make you buy more stuff for their high prices. Focus. You are far too savvy to fall for these tactics, and you’ll be thankful for those extra few dollars later when you have a Cocomero craving.

7. Browse for online bargains.

If you’re lucky enough to have a smartphone, surf the Web for books with lower prices. Maybe the 30-minute wait will be worth it after all.

8. Start a sing-along.

Or maybe a chant? I-L-L … you know how it goes.

Maggie is a junior in LAS. She can be reached at [email protected]