The Vultures Descend

Currently: burning the midnight oil in my bedroom, with five articles open on the New York Times.

Meltdown Monday

Blame it on the timing, or the economic downturn. Whatever the reason, the sale of Merrill Lynch for $50 billion to Bank of America and the collapse of Lehman Brothers caused Wall Street to experience the worst losses this Monday since 9/11. With all the drama surrounding the sell of the brokerage firm and the bankruptcy of the 4th largest investment bank in the US, I have to wonder, what does this any of this have to do with me?

I have to first admit that much of what I read on the topic are corporate mumbo-jumbo to my ears. “Subprime mortgages”? “Repo market”? Oh my! I have lots to learn, guess I’m right the right faculty, or am I?

New York Stock Exchange

The future isn’t looking bright for commerce students, to put it bluntly. And the party just started (tea and crumpets with AIG anyone?). These hotshot Wall Street firms are where many of us anticipate Sauder grads aspire to work in ten, twenty years’ time.  They are supposed to be the fast tracks to success, and along with it, wealth, power, 80 hour work weeks, and high blood pressure.

Lehman Brothers Bankruptcy, leaving with boxes

Seeing photos of suits leaving the office is ironic, and somewhat amusing. A few days ago they were ruthlessly playing the field with millions of dollars at stake for the clients, now they’re just like the rest of us – carrying belongings home in cardboard boxes. That white picket fenced house in Suburbia. The cottage in the Hamptons. What’s to become of them?

What’s to become of us?

I could be just getting absorbed into the O!M!G! HYPE!! … but look at the effect of the Dot-com bubble on the entire generation before ours. Even if we don’t go into careers in financial services, the lawyers, real estate agents, publishers, and accountants of our generation is nevertheless affected in this chain reaction.

We can’t ignore the present.

Related Readings

Selling: One (1) Kidney for Textbook Money

Currently: blogging in D. Lam (to avoid reading the OB chapters) and craving a honey cruller donut from Tim Hortons.

I stopped by the bookstore in the summer armed with a booklist and a debit card, ready to breeze through the rumored “painful process”. Little did I know that I would soon be considering advertising kidney sales on my blog. I’m a pretty thrifty person so the price tags there were devastating to my soul. Instead of taking the easy way out and reserving my books, I decided to experiment a little and see how much I can save by buying my UBC textbooks elsewere (online mainly), despite not having ANY experience in textbook hunting (all you seasoned pros out there, feel free to send over more tips!)

Class Book UBC $ I paid $ Bought from
ECON 101 Princi. of Microecon 96.00 35.00 Facebook Marketplace
ECON 101 Lyryx card Incl. Bookstore, tbd ($35)
COMM 292 Org. Behavior 116.00 50.00
CPSC 111 Big Java 90.00 30.00 Saveonbook, prev ed.
HIST 237 Thomas Jefferson 20.00 0.00 Borrowing from library
HIST 237 Portia 23.00 0.00 Found free copy online
HIST 237 Sovereignty etc. 15.00 5.00 Facebook Marketplace
HIST 237 Frederick Douglass 7.00 0.00 Found free copy online
HIST 237 March to the Sea 33.00 12.00
TOTALS (w/ tax) 400.00 132.00

That’s a saving of over $250 (Mmm…shoes!) In addition to the above list, I did end up buying two costly textbooks from the Bookstore, so my total spendings were just under $400 (as compared to the $640 I would’ve spent).

List of resources I used and/or recommend

  1. Facebook Marketplace – great for local searches as it first displays results from your networks. Private message ensures privacy. Lots of haggling room available. Be sure to ask for notes for free.
  2. – UBC student’s “secret” tool. Pretty convenient since most people have their cellphone numbers on there. Another local resource and notes are usually thrown in. Lots of texts available!
  3. Craigslist – The somewhat “sketchy” corner of the internet… the search is a bit more difficult as a lot of SFU and BCIT books are mixed in.
  4. Bookfinder – This gives you a rough idea of how much the books are being sold online. Just enter the ISBN numbers and it’ll search the corners of the internet for you
  5. Amazon – A bit pricy than the local alternatives ($2 book, $15 shipping, grr!), but they usually have the right editions here. Used books option also available.
  6. Bookmeat UBC – Very minimalistic and organized website, no search option but browsing through courses is easy. Not TOO comprehensive. People who want to sell it go there and list their asking price, save % (GREAT feature), book condition, and contact info.
  7. UBC AMS Sub – “In the basement there is a massive wall filled with for sale textbooks!” (Thanks Andre!)
  8. – “Bigwords compares all the best textbook stores at once finding the sweetest, cheapest textbook deals on the planet” (Thanks Brian!)
  9. Friends/Family/Coworkers – seriously, ask EVERYONE if they have taken/know someone who have taken the courses you have. Turns out one of my coworkers had a few Econ books to give away from his BCIT days!

Hope this helps you on your book hunt, for next year least!