Scots C-store enacts a new backpack policy

Photographed above is the new shelf provided to leave bags in front of the C-Store.
Photographed above is the new shelf provided to leave bags in front of the C-Store. Photo by Ariana Hansen.

“Backpacks and personal bags are not allowed in the Scots C-Store,” states a pink sign on the entrance.

The new backpack policy came into effect on Feb. 16, only a couple of days after James Dulin, general manager of Metz, made the decision for the new policy. The change was a result of higher than average C-store inventory fluctuations in the previous two weekly inventory counts.
In addition to the increasing inventory discrepancies, said Dulin, two students told a C-Store employee that they had seen students slipping items in their backpacks without paying.

“The C-Store has some blind spots, especially while making coffee and when there is just one attendant,” said Dulin.

Dulin has worked on many different campuses in the last 14 years before Metz started catering Maryville College for the fall semester in 2014. Backpack policies are common; Dulin said he has seen them in several coffee shops and bookstores. He explained that the new policy is supposed to “take the burden of employees and the temptation away from students.”
When the policy was first implemented, Metz staff had to work out a few kinks. For example, they needed to decide whether any bags were allowed and whether the policy applies to just students or to faculty and staff as well.

After a conference held for the employees, these issues have been resolved. All bags are banned and the policy applies to everyone, no matter if they are a student or professor. Wallets, including larger wristlets, are allowed. C-store employees are not allowed to bring personal items behind the counter with the exception of their cell phone.

A loss in inventory is normal, Dulin pointed out. In order to even that out, a preplanned loss is already included in the prices for products. There is also a procedure in place to abide by in the case that someone is caught stealing. If someone is caught in the act, the staff calls Campus Security. If Metz has clear proof, they can report the names of those in violation to the Dean, which begins a school disciplinary process.

The outcome depends on the case. If there is repeated theft, the school will call 911 and report the student to the police, which can have arrest as a consequence. Though students have been reported to the Dean, there have not been any cases serious enough to involve the police yet.

“The C-Store is not a money generator; it is more of a service generator,” said Dulin.

Right now, Dulin said they can already tell a difference compared to before the backpack policy was implemented; the loss inventory has decreased.

“We hope that it stays like that,” said Dulin, explaining that store prices would have to increase to compensate for loss if theft were to become a major problem.

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