Merchants: help students

by Nina Mcadoo | 11/11/93 6:00am

I have heard enough from the Hanover merchants about how Topside violates zoning laws, and that the College is trying to put them out of business. If Hanover merchants are so worried about business, they should start by trying to earn it.

Half the stores and restaurants in Hanover would not exist were it not for the captive audience, or captive market, that the College provides in the form of students. The Hanover business community should recognize this and work to capture our business accordingly.

In my three-plus years at Dartmouth, my experience has been that, for the most part, Hanover businesses do not try to get our business. My dealings with Hanover merchants and restaurant employees have been characterized by rudeness, condescension, slow service and high prices.

I am far from the only student who feels this way. Based on an informal survey of my friends and acquaintances, I have come up with the following list of culprits.

Everthing But Anchovies: Everybody orders EBAs. It offers good food at good prices, with free delivery in a reasonable amount of time. However, the surliness one often encounters either on the phone or at the restaurant is inexcusable.

I don't care if EBAs does almost exclusively student business: I find it insulting that I cannot even call up with an inquiry without being interrupted, "Phone number please!" It is not written in stone that I must have my order perfected when I call the restaurant.

Also, many of those I polled observed that it takes longer to eat at EBAs than to order it out. This does not seem right. I also don't appreciate EBAs employees practically throwing menus at me as I walk in the door. But alas, EBAs probably doesn't care, for they will continue to do business anyway, as they really have no competition.

THE DARTMOUTH BOOKSTORE: The Bookstore is characterized by outrageous prices on textbooks, (this isn't entirely their fault), and high prices on supplies, compact discs and cassettes.

One feels like a criminal in there if one forgets or doesn't feel like leaving one's backpack at the front of the store. What's the difference between a backpack and a large pocketbook? Oh, I forgot. We're students: we must all be shoplifters. Forget that we spend more money in that store than just about any random customer off the street.

The Bookstore Bucks program is a poor attempt at improving student-bookstore relations.You can't use them half the time and they are not valid on goods you want.

VIDEOSMITH: Obnoxious, arrogant, annoying.This is the only video store I know of that you cannot put anyone else on your membership card.

One time I tried to pick up a movie under my boyfriend's name, explaining that when he had signed up, my name had been entered in the computer as well. They tried to deny this until I showed them about six forms of identification and swore on the Bible that I'd bring the movie back. Well, almost. MURPHY'S TAVERN: Will someone please tell the bouncer there to get a grip? I'm really sick of being stared at like a criminal every time I walk into the place. And maybe this has to do with some New Hampshire state law with which I'm not familiar, but I fail to see why many times they won't allow students under 21 into the place. If these students don't drink, what's the big deal?

Perhaps they could start stamping hands or issuing bracelets or something. Given the lack of social options in Hanover, it doesn't seem fair that under-21 seniors cannot even hang out with their classmates for Dollar Draughts.

KLEEN: My roommate recently had a silk garment cleaned here so that she could wear it to her medical school interviews. Kleen ruined it in the process.

Sometimes these things can't be helped. But, most dry cleaners that ruin a garment would offer some compensation, a free cleaning perhaps. But not Kleen.

Admittedly, every dry cleaning tag says "We are not responsible for lost buttons, etc." However, Kleen was uncooperative when my roommate complained, and she ended up paying the full cost of the cleaning, with no compensation offered, and nary an apology.

The point here is that Hanover merchants could do better than pointing fingers at the College and Topside. Instead, they should try to earn students' business.

Topside will never be able to offer the variety and quantity of goods and services that Hanover merchants can. Topside has an advantage in that students can charge purchases to their student IDs. But this is becoming increasingly irrelevant with the advent of the Green Card. I doubt students are so enamored with Topside that they would not go anywhere else even if they could find a better deal.

Students go to Topside because it is convenient, not because it is inexpensive or has great service. The same probably holds true for the dining halls. Therefore, the Hanover business community has only itself to blame if it is experiencing a decline in revenue. Students at Dartmouth are always happy to get off campus and do something different. There just isn't much incentive to stray onto Main Street as things stand now.

Advertise your student group in The Dartmouth for free!