Less may be more, but for The Coop, more has a better chance of seducing shoppers into unnecessary purchases.
Besides over-priced textbooks and standard art prints, Harvard’s official bookstore now carries a smorgasbord of Harvard paraphernalia guaranteed to titillate a broad spectrum of consumers. Flip-flops and Harvard-emblazoned booty shorts excite the teeny-bopper in anyone, while the range of sweatshirt options—increasingly available in red, blue, purple, yellow, pink, grey and orange—ensures that all tastes will be matched.
Some customers are pleased with the additional merchandise. Former Cantabridigan Anna Ruiz calls the Coop’s selection, “pretty good. Much better than when I left, four years ago.” But the mountains of hoodies and scarves left others unimpressed. “My parents have bought themselves T-shirts, sweatshirts, mugs, and crap. But they didn’t have goddamn soccer socks,” says Brandon Geller ’08. Some believe that the expansion signals a cheapening of Harvard. “I don’t approve of them branching out to the rainbow. This school has a heritage, and that is what separates Harvard from the other ‘Universities’,” says Virginia Fisher ’08. Despite some disapproval, The Coop seems to believe that it’s options, not tradition, that customers want.