Ode to the Boot Store

Davis Walden

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Yeah, you read that headline right: the Boot Store saved me. I stayed on campus in Buddig over the summer break and owe that wonderful store nestled by the wildest student bar on Broadway my sanity and you would, too. Any student reading this should beware that staying over the summer isn’t just a big commitment: it means that the Orleans Room and any other food locations on campus won’t be there for you when you need them to be. And you’ll be hungry.

That “booze store next to the Boot” will become a beacon of warm light in the darkness: an oasis of ramen, as well as one of the most important grocery store locations in a reasonable walking distance. Why? The Boot Store is the only thing consistently there for you at any hour.

If you happen to miss the 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. C-Store window, you’re treated to nothing but vending machine snacks and drinks that aren’t refilled until the rest of the students get back for the fall semester. If you’re lucky, like I was, you might be able to sneak into the OR during a convention and steal an all-you-can-eat meal. It was like I was filming an offshoot of Home Alone: Dorm Edition.

Living in a city full of gastronomical prestige, you may be shocked at my lack of eating options. However, for a non-car-owning student on a budget with a very limited window of time to eat, campus food availability is crucial. If you’re willing to shell out $20 for a meal, you’re more than able to order off of UberEats, but if you stay up too late the only places open are McDonald’s (which often cancels your order), Tic-Toc Café or IHOP.

Accommodating students over the summer should be a responsibility for any institution willing to do so. However, it falls on the back burner of institutions because the likelihood of making a reasonable profit margin to pay back food costs and worker wages is slim to none. However, that does not mean that a university should abandon students staying over the summer at dorms especially if summer room and board is a resource Residential Life offers.

Speaking of Residential Life, don’t expect to get your toilet paper either. You’ll probably find yourself snatching rolls from the public restrooms around campus, unless you can make that pilgrimage to the Boot Store to pick up some one-ply along with your Riceroni.

If you’re a workaholic like me, you have an 8-to-5 job and are taking three summer courses. The crux of that is, if you don’t have the time in your schedule to drop by the campus stores and stock up before they close at their earliest convenience, you’re on your own.

Anybody who thinks the Boot Store is just a place for drunken freshmen to stumble into at ungodly hours of the night for cigarettes has clearly never been hungry enough to walk 15 minutes at 2 a.m. for one pack of ramen because it was the only place open. I challenge anyone who speaks ill of the Boot Store to try telling me that it’s not an important resource for college students.

And, by the way, here’s a shout out to those Boot Store employees working into the long night. They deserve every tip.

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