August 13, 2013

Dear Missouri S&T University,

Dear Missouri S&T University,

Wow.  I get it.  You're a college of sciences.  You're proud of the fact that your graduates can't spell.  But you totally took it to another level of incompetence when we came to visit.

As seen on campus

 I really think your engineering students/professors/experts/whatever should examine the fact that your sidewalks have big gaps of grass between them.

We went to the bookstore to buy the book Scott needs for his class that starts on today.  I know you're asking why Scott procrastinated because, let's face it, I'd have bought that book in June.  But he didn't get his course schedule until last week.  Since he'll be working full time and taking these classes at night, Saturday was the only opportunity.  The class takes place on base, and the college is 30 minutes away.  

The bookstore was bright and shiny with incoming freshmen and their nervous parents.  

We went through the stacks looking for the author of the textbook Contemporary Management (side note: Anyone have this to sell us? Also: spoiler alert.).  After 15 minutes of no luck, I asked one of the college students who was working there.

He asked another worker and, together, the two of them could not articulate a complete sentence to answer the question, "Do you have this book?".

They didn't ask what it was.  They didn't try to help.  They insisted all books for all programs were there and if they weren't, they were sold out. We couldn't find the author's name on the shelf, so it's doubtful they ever had the book.  But these knowledgeable employees didn't offer actual help, so it's hard to tell.  We're still not sure if a university offering a program doesn't sell the books for that program in their bookstore or not.  

We left, confused.

Next, we tried the Registrar's office.  He needed an ID card and thought they might offer some insight into where he could find books for his course.

The Registrar's office was closed.  The lady at one of the desks in the building offered help by saying, "Oh, don't worry.  Talk to the professor.  Order it from Amazon.  That professor is kinda sketchy anyway."  Okay, sure.

She sent us to the building that housed the ID card-making equipment so, on a scale of comparison, she was actually more helpful than the bookstore staff.

Ten dollars later, he had an ID card.

We went to the library.  I had the idea that maybe he could check that textbook out.  And then he'd at least have it for the beginning of the course (The course is only 3 weeks long, which is why Amazon wasn't really a viable option).

Twenty minutes later, book in hand, his ID card wouldn't work.  The library employee said that they take a day or so to activate and it won't work, "probably until tomorrow or by the end of the week".  His co-worker, from 50 feet away, threw in, "But it WILL work!".  Whew.  That's a relief.  

At that point, I didn't know what to think.  It's like everyone was going out of their way to be dismissive and unhelpful.  This was freshman-move-in weekend!  They should be ready to handle questions and concerns.

We went back to the ID card place and they told us that, yes, it would take about 24 hours for the card to be activated, but the library should be able to check out books based on ID numbers, not just swiping the card.

Back to the library.

This time, they called the "boss" who had "just had a baby, so I don't know if she'll answer", like that was supposed to make us feel bad or something.  (Side note: As a teacher, when a parent didn't like my answer, I'd call in the principal.  It's a "get them to go away" tactic.)

Anyway, no book for Scott.  We returned home empty-handed.

Is this the usual college experience these days?  I don't remember Penn State taking up to a week to activate ID cards.  Also, they had the books people needed to buy.  

All I really got out of it was calculating the years back in my's been 9 years since I started college.  I don't need to remember that.


  1. That sounds pretty disorganized...

  2. It's so frustrating when you need to get something done and nothing goes right. I hope you guys are able to find the book, can you get 2 day shipping from amazon? Or that campus book rental website? Good luck!

  3. That sucks! That doesn't make their college look very good. My small college always gave you the run around the first week or so because all of the offices were not in the same building so you had to walk all over the place, but most of the time the employees were very helpful. I hope you can get the book or it will still be available from the library.

  4. They charged for an id, you'd think that be included in the student fees you probably already had to pay. I would totally send something to MS&T about the customer service...cause yes it sounds like it sucked!

  5. OMG how purely unprofessional! I know when I started college in 2005 we had to bring $$ for our ID card and each time we lost it or it broke, we had to pay $10 to replace it! and our bookstore was pretty good usually..except for when it came to pre-orders of books and they lost my roommates order so she was forced to buy all her books brand new for $500 when she had already paid $200

  6. Boo. Were the people in the bookstore students? They probably didn't really care one way or another. I always hated when the bookstore was out of the book I needed. It usually was the professors fault.

  7. Yea sounds very unorganized! I remember going to the bookstore and them being out of a certain book because it was the publishers fault or they didnt order enough but they always knew when they would arrive and the teachers were always aware!

  8. Wow what an unorganized place!!!

  9. Good Lord. How much more disorganized could they be!?

  10. What an absolute pain!!! I've never had that kind of experience. I went to two universities. As did my husband. He's worked at two other universities which have bent backwards for students and staff. Crazy!!! I hope Scott gets the book he needs soon!

  11. Oh man, when I saw that picture on Instagram I didn't realize it was actually something at the college itself! It's a funny joke - haha engineers can't spell - but a little odd to have it AT an engineering school! Sorry it's been so stressful =/

  12. Well, that sounds incredibly frustrating.

  13. Hi Kristin - I'm sorry to read about the experience you and your husband had trying to obtain the book for your husband's class. I've shared your concerns with our bookstore manager, our director of libraries, and our vice provost for enrollment management (which includes the registrar's office and the office where your husband's ID was made). The library is trying to get the book on order and the bookstore is again contacting the publisher to request copies of the book.

    I know nothing I can say here can undo your bad experience at our campus. But if I can be of any assistance, please don't hesitate to contact me at or by calling 573-341-4183.


    Andrew Careaga
    Director of Communications
    Missouri University of Science and Technology

  14. Wow, that's quite the "welcome" experience! Ewww. Angel's textbook strategy was to find his book in the library, and since they wouldn't let him check out textbooks for long, he would hide it inside the library, between bookshelves or behind some books on the shelf, and just keep going back to it and doing all of his reading inside the library for as long as he had to. Highly unethical, I would never have done it, but I can appreciate the practicality of the idea.


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