Late start to quarter complicates course-packet orders at Quartet


Adnaan Zaffer/The Daily Northwestern

Course packets lie on the counter at Quartet Copies in downtown Evanston. Quartet Copies co-owner Chris Linster said short-staffing and the late start of Northwestern’s Fall Quarter has left the store backlogged.

Jessica Floum, Reporter

Northwestern’s unusually late start this school year seems to have tripped up the biggest printing service in town.

Fall Quarter’s Thursday start caused delays for Quartet Digital Printing in the production of course packets for NU classes, upsetting both students and professors, Quartet co-owner Chris Linster said.

“This has been probably our worst quarter we’ve ever had in terms of course packs,” Linster said. “We get kids that come in two or three times and they obviously get peeved.”

Northwestern quarters typically start on Mondays or Tuesdays, which means professors submit orders the Friday before class, affording the Quartet staff time to work 15-hour shifts through the weekend to complete orders, Linster said. Because classes started on Thursday this quarter, professors submitted their orders on Monday, which took the weekend cushion away from the staff.

Linster added that the staff was also short-handed this quarter, as three of its full-time staffers were out due to serious illness and deaths.

“It was sort of like a perfect storm,” Linster said. “Students have been upset because you have to wait in line and then you get to the front of the line and realize that you can’t get what they want.”

Weinberg freshman Duncan Orlander trekked four times from Elder Hall to downtown Evanston last week in hopes of purchasing course packets from Quartet Copies.

But Orlander left empty handed each time after being told that Quartet Copies had either not received or completed his specific order.

He said his first trip to Quartet proved his most frustrating when he and a friend had to determine which one of them would take home the last of the prepared course packets for their 15 person class.

“It was weird that there were only 15 people in the class and they had a packet for one person and not the other,” Orlander said. “I guess they just didn’t print out enough. They didn’t really explain everything.”

Orlander’s reaction was among the milder complaints of students who had waited in 20-minute lines on several occasions only to find the packets they’d paid for still weren’t ready.

Weinberg sophomore Maraika Robinson spaced out her trips to Quartet between two Saturdays, hoping the print shop would have printed her optional Organic Chemistry lab notebook by her second visit. They had not.

“It was me waiting in line for something that I’d already paid for and that they should’ve had because I already paid for it,” Robinson said.

However, Robinson said the Quartet staffer was apologetic and helpful once he realized the print shop’s mistake.

“We do whatever we can to make that person happy,” Linster said. “That’s all you can do is try to make people happy. We’re here to serve.”