Student bemoans meal plan woes

By Noah Sunshine || Senior Staff Writer

I ditched the meal plan two years ago and haven’t looked back. No one denies the magic of rolling out of a dorm bed and grabbing tater tots in under five minutes, and I hope it says something about me that I value that. On days when I made it farther from bed than that, College Center pizza satiated my hunger, two meal swipes at a time. Two, in twenty minutes. I cringe at the thought of such an egregious waste now, because that world is dead.Did you know that this year, chicken tenders in Café 1787 in the College Center are one mealswipe and three dollars, flex or cash? They also give you half as much honey mustard as required by the Geneva Convention or some other equally magnanimous declaration of human rights. Four years ago, a meal swipe was a meal, not three dollars short of one. I’m no math major, but if tenders and a drink cost $10 in cash (already enough for a sub, fries, and soda at Sugar Bowl), a “meal swipe” is valued here at $7.

In spite of larger meal plans being more economical than small ones, the price per swipe (PPS) never dips below $10, which is about $3 more than the $7 a meal swipe is worth when purchasing tenders (though I did this math without a calculator). Smaller meal plans that upperclassmen usually select place the PPS closer to $16. I don’t think I need to explain why that should make you angry.

Meal plans are about security, I get that. A parent that purchases a meal plan for his/her son/daughter can believe that they will be fed, though likely don’t know or care with what. I respect that, and thrived on it. But campus eateries are losing my business and the business of other upperclassmen who realized the better deal and better lifestyle of hitting Pita Pit on Double Meat Wednesday and getting every tenth pita free. There’s colorful fruits and vegetables, friendly people, and variety waiting there, and none in our beloved Café 1787—is it even still called that? The name changes every year.

I’m bothered by the principle of this. I get that I can go to the dining hall and get all the sub-par food I want (save the few hidden gems that pop up day to day) for a single meal swipe, but a “restaurant” like Café 1787 is just a disgusting, abhorrent money pit that rips students off so blatantly that it doesn’t even apologize for it. It honestly makes me ashamed of the school when prospective students and their parents stop in for a slice of Russian roulette (is the crust cooked or raw today?) and shell out $10 in the process, let alone the burritos that cost as much as Chipotle and taste like Turkey Hill’s frozen section.

Seriously, Café 1787, clean up your act. For an establishment that has its own stop on Admissions’ tours, you could at least make decent food in return for my first born.

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