Senior criminal justice major Irene Tsampos has an exam Thursday, but instead of cramming Wednesday afternoon, she spent almost eight hours at CVS waiting in line for, of all things, a newspaper.
"I definitely should be studying right now," she said. "I'm here because I love [President-elect Barack] Obama."
Tsampos and a few dozen others put their lives on hold for several hours to crowd the front section of the CVS on Route 1 to have the chance to buy the special election edition of The Washington Post and take home a testament to history. Copies of the morning edition of the newspaper sold out earlier in the day at many stores in the area.
"It's history in the making - I can cherish this moment with something tangible to hold onto," said junior economics major Kevin Corbin, who was buying copies for himself and his mother. "I want to be able to pass this onto my kids to show I was a part of history."
Students and other College Park residents lined up along the front of the aisles, often sitting down to rest their backs against the racks. Junior environmental engineering major Jake Bauer and senior education and history major Heather Brady played rummy to pass the time.
"I've been here since 4 [p.m.], and I've read some magazines, did some of my homework, too," Bauer said. "It's an important thing. Obama's the first black president. I think it's worth it to get the paper."
The special issue was scheduled to be delivered between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., and customers who showed up in those hours decided to wait a little longer. As time went on, 5 became 6, 6 became 7:30 and the night continued. Aside from occasional updates from CVS regional management, customers were in the dark as to whether the newspapers were coming at all.
"I just didn't think The Washington Post would jerk people around like this. Honestly, I'm beyond upset," senior physiology and neurobiology major Cassie Erdeky said. "I wasted my whole day doing this."
However, they found CVS to be more than accommodating. Shift manager Toya Joefield set up a sign to direct people where to wait and also gave customers free water, candy and Domino's pizza.
"It's common courtesy. Everybody's already in the store, so they might as well be comfortable," she said. "Everybody just wants to take part in history."
As of 11 p.m., a core group of dedicated customers were still waiting in CVS for the newspaper. Corbin kept himself going by reminding himself what he learned in the election.
"It represented progress and change," he said. "Just thinking about the whole process, from our ancestors who were slaves to now having a black president, reminds us patience is a virtue."
The Washington Post's distribution services could not be reached for comment.