Jessie Cheung

Students have been stealing from Yale’s new one-stop convenience store, The Bow Wow, after recognizing the flaws within the system of checking out and paying for items. 

The Bow Wow, which is located in the basement of the Schwarzman Center, was designed in a manner that many students find conducive to theft due to the inefficiency of the store itself, students told the News. With long lines and few security measures other than security guards — who are not always present — some students have taken to stealing items from the convenience store. All of the students who spoke to the News emphasized that they personally have never stolen goods from The Bow Wow. 

“A lot of times people don’t want to wait in line so you will see lots of people grabbing what they need and hurrying out to eat before class,” Maverick Williams ’25 said.

Williams, a self-purported avid visitor of The Bow Wow, has seen many students “not scan all of their items” on several occasions because of the openness of the set-up of The Bow Wow. 

The Bow Wow has about one to two cashier workers that float around the store and are never stationed in one location supervising for extended periods of time.

“They don’t supervise students scanning their items,” Maverick said. “The way the store is set up right now, students will continue to steal.” 

Noah Bradley ’25 echoed that stealing from The Bow Wow is easy in theory, although he emphasized that he has never done it. 

Bradley said he believes The Bow Wow is “very frustrating” due to the tedious need to price out what items can count for a student’s meal swipe of $9. 

“It’s supposed to be a convenience store and it’s not particularly convenient,” Noah said. “I’m sure that if it’s a pretty inefficient place to buy from then it’s a pretty efficient place to steal from.”

First-time visitor to The Bow Wow, Brian Li ’22, said he has heard it is less organized structurally than Durfee’s Sweet Shoppe was — Yale’s convenience store next to the Women’s Center, which he visited in his early years at Yale before it closed. He said he ”would have to see The Bow Wow more crowded” to have a better sense of students’ practices at the convenience store.

The Bow Wow is advertised on the Schwarzman Center website as a “friendly oasis for people on the move” where students “can use their lunch meal transfer/swipe here to access meal combos.” 

But, both Bradley and Williams expressed frustration with the tediousness of The Bow Wow line that made the store lose its one appeal: convenience. 

“We trust our students to respect the honor system and find it difficult to imagine otherwise,” Senior Manager of Marketing and Communications of the Schwarzman Center Christelle Ramos wrote in an email to the News. “We assume that Yale students would not willfully remove goods from The Bow Wow – or any location – without payment.”

Ramos added that there are patrolling security officers throughout the building and there are multiple security cameras in place to supervise the students. 

She added that every order is tied to a method of payment that identifies the exact time, date and UPI for the transaction — tying it back to the student who purchased the goods.

“Should cases that cause us to believe inappropriate conduct occurred, we will follow our standard protocol of reporting these matters to the Yale College Dean’s Office and Yale Police,” Ramos wrote.

The Bow Wow is located beneath the Beinecke Plaza in the Schwarzman Center.