Back Of The Envelope: How Much Did Cannon’s Steal From Students?
Written by Ross Chapman
For the first-years who don’t know, Cannon’s was a Columbia bar at 108th and Broadway. While the business hadn’t actually been called Cannon’s since 2004 (it turned into O’Connell’s, and then into Tara Hill), the venerated bar was a well-attended watering hole since the 1930’s. Last June, Cannon’s announced that it would be shutting its doors, much to the dismay of many a social drinker. But one thing we won’t miss about Cannon’s was how much stuff went mysteriously missing there.
The bar had a knack for taking people’s coats and hiding them away in that same abyss where all of your sharp pencils go. Records of coats disappearing at Cannon’s go back to Spring 2011, and reports of jacket theft and loss went on until the bar’s closing. Spring 2015 was a particularly disastrous semester for North Faces and Canada Gooses – the Class of 2018 Facebook group alone reported 22 instances of loss or theft at Cannon’s. And this brings up the question: just how much stuff did Columbia students lose at Cannon’s?
Using this data from the Class of 2018, we decided to make a back of the envelope calculation for how many dollars worth of clothing and accessories vanished at 108th Street. While this article will make no claim as to whether or not Cannon’s was simply a front for reselling Canada Goose jackets, it will make several assumptions.
- Assume that first-years are twice as likely to go to Cannon’s as other students, as evidenced by the the need for a CCSC resolution to make Cannon’s more accessible to non-Freshmen; ignore the graduate school population, as they mostly frequented other bars.
- Assume that theft has occured at least since Spring 2011 at a relatively constant level. However, treat Fall 2015 as a particularly bad semester, with 50% more theft than the average semester.
- Assume that 25% of losses at Columbia go unreported, at least among the underclassmen, due to embarassment.
Now, we examined each report from the first-years of Fall 2015 and estimated the dollar value of items lost.
- The value of coats were determined using the designers’ websites, without applying sales. We assumed that most students wore coats rated for 0 degrees. 16 coat losses were reported, totalling approximately $3,400. Only one of these reports was actually for a Canada Goose – Uniqlo was the most lost brand of jacket. Inside of these coats were approximately $200 of accessories.
- Various other items were lost. Three ID’s were lost at or around the bar, which we will assume based on the age of the class members to be fake. Let’s say the average unknowing first-year spends about $100 on a fake. One student lost a Philips Sonicare toothbrush valued at about $60.
- One student lost a $28,000 Gucci crocodile bag. It was found and returned, so we will not include that in our estimations.
- Several lost items were, sadly, impossible to price. One report was for a friend’s lost dignity, and another report came from that friend for the original reporter’s lingerie. Both of those items will be missed.
The total dollar value of lost goods, by our rough estimations, was $3,890 by the first-years in that one semester, or about 250 pitchers of beer. This comes out to $9,725 lost by the whole undergraduate population in that semester to Cannon’s. An average semester, by our assumptions, would then be a loss of $6,483. We must, however, multiply these numbers by 4/3 to account for some number of unreported losses. When we crunch everything together, we estimate that Columbia undergraduates have lost $108,000 to Cannon’s since Fall 2011. Here’s hoping we leave much fewer jackets behind at the new dry hot pot restaurant taking Cannon’s place.
Save us from Cannon’s via Columbia University Marching Band