Predatory sales on campus

I was walking through the courtyard during the first week of classes and noticed a few Xfinity tents from Comcast set up. Curious, I walked by and was immediately approached by a representative asking if I currently had a cable package.

I looked around and saw a handful of students filling out these information sheets with the help of an Xfinity employee. It was at that moment I realized that predatory marketing had gone too far on the Georgia State campus. It needs to stop.

Last time I looked, I pay approximately $4,300 per semester for in-state tuition and fees. Given that around 32,000 students go here, I can make a rough estimate for the sake of this article, that Georgia State rakes in well over $100 million per semester from undergraduate students.

I would hope at a very base level that this income would allow the school the luxury to not need any more money from third parties (Comcast in this case) who want to sell in the courtyard. I run into this issue frequently during the semester. If it’s not Xfinity, it’s someone selling sunglasses, jewelry, posters, etc. etc.

The argument that these vendors are providing a ‘service’ to students—allowing for simple, convenient shopping—is ridiculous. I’m at a loss for why the school feels the need to fill our already crowded courtyard with these vendors selling this borderline useless junk (in the case of Xfinity, I would consider it worse than junk).

I’m more than happy with student organizations and clubs having bake sales and fundraisers. In fact, that’s a great way to boost visibility for these organizations. But Xfinity? Really, Georgia State? What image is that sending to students? That the school wants you to be harassed by these salespeople selling a service that hardly any student wants or can afford?

I can’t be the only one who sees this as an obtuse conflict of interest. Students mean well and just want to get around campus, or hang out with friends, without being marketed to. Is that too much to ask with my education at Georgia State?

If this continues, the sky’s the limit on what the school might allow in the semesters to come. Maybe a Comcast representative sitting in on your classes, letting everyone know about their “fastest internet ever” every 5 minutes? Or perhaps your newest class, ‘Biology 1101: Sponsored by Kellog’s Frosted Flakes.’

All jokes aside, the easiest way to get rid of these vendors is to vote with your wallet. If they’re not making any sales, they won’t come back and we can all go along with our days without the unnecessary marketing bombardment.