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Fill your fridge, empty your account

Submitted by Geoffrey Bara on September 5, 2012 – 4:25 pmNo Comment

Upon arrival in the dorms this year I was greeted not only by the friendly faces of Chancellors Leadership Corps and other volunteers waiting with shopping carts to help new residents move in, but all over North Hall and the commons area in general were advertisements to “fill your fridge” at the Commons Market.

Until this semester, the Commons Market didn’t even have a proper name.  It didn’t even have a sign.  It was referred to by residents as the C-store and I never once shopped there because I wasn’t a resident and bought my ramen at Dollar General like most people.

Once my suite-mates and I were all moved in, we and a few other residents headed down to check out the Commons Market and pick up a few things for our rooms.  I wandered around checking items out for a bit before noticing that none of them have any prices posted.  I asked the cashier and I was told that each item had to be scanned to tell the price, except for a few items she knew.  Not wanting to bring every item I was interested in up to her to check the price before-hand, I asked myself “how expensive can it be?” and I began filling my arms.

Two DiGiorno pizzas, a value pack of easy mac, a package of Gardetto’s snack mix, a box of saltine crackers and a pack of red Solo cups later (Hey! It’s college!), I’d spent nearly $50 worth of my dining dollars.

I don’t know if you buy your own groceries or not, but that is so outrageous it boggles the mind.  Each frozen pizza was thirteen dollars!  That’s more than a delivery pizza would cost, and as everyone knows, the only allure a frozen pizza has over a delivery pizza is that it’s loads cheaper!  If I had spent fifty dollars at Walmart, or even Kroger, there’s no doubt I would have gotten more than double the amount of food I got at the Commons Market.

The catch here is that I used my dining dollars, which can only be spent here on campus.  So essentially Sodexo can charge whatever price they choose for whatever product they like and there’s not a darn thing we can do about it.  I will say that the other establishments on campus that accept dining dollars such as Quizno’s and Taco Bell seem to be priced comparably to locations found off-campus, and the sandwich shop in the EIT building is nowhere near as extravagantly priced.  I haven’t tried the Trojan Grill yet, but I’m pretty daunted at this point.

After saving $300 by choosing to purchase my books on rather than the campus bookstore, I was extremely frustrated to find this sort of price inflation.  There just doesn’t seem to be any reason for prices to be so high.  I’d rather my meal plan was $150 cheaper and be devoid of dining dollars, so I can take that money to a market that doesn’t over-charge me so fantastically.  The lesson to be learned here is to spend them carefully, because a fool and his  dining dollars are soon parted.


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