The GW meal plan’s fleecing of students

I am taking this time while my microwave dinner cooks to express my strong opinion about how this school seems more interested in money than students’ welfare. Case in point: the meal plan.

I have, through some quick calculations, found very small savings exist for students using the meal plan. The average meal at J Street is $6.00, a price one might pay at a diner for some fairly decent food – and my calculations assumed a student actually would eat all the meals he pays for each week.

This brings me to the meal hours. For a business to receive a customer’s money in advance, then only let the customer receive his purchased goods at certain times, else he forfeit all right to them, is outright ridiculous and should be unlawful! The freshmen and sophomores who live on campus have no choice but to accept this thievery – the University gives them none.

I wonder why? I bet a ton of parents want their kids on the meal plan; all moms want to ensure little Jimmy remembers to eat. If this is the purpose, fine, but give them a choice! If parents want their kids to be on the plan, then they voluntarily can sign them up. Let’s see, who would be at a loss? All of the students would get what they need, that leaves – whoa! Big surprise! The University.

Imagine if Aramark didn’t receive all of its revenue up front. Wouldn’t it have time to purchase all of its high-quality supplies? Heaven forbid it fend for itself and earn its own money, like normal restaurants do. Maybe if it was a little more cost-conscious and time-effective.

But wait! Students can only use their meal plans at certain times of the day, so stations can reduce workers on duty to the bare minimum. Maybe if Aramark didn’t pay such high wages. Yeah, right.

I have worked in several food-service stores, and the one thing everyone stresses is customer service. I have never, ever been as poorly treated by any stranger, let alone someone I have given money.

The customer is not right, the customer is an annoying kid who keeps the workers busy and agitated. Surely better paid and trained employees wouldn’t be like that.

Now let’s address the points program. Why can’t I use my meal points off campus for real food? “Because it is special, magic, tax-free money,” says the University. Tax free for who? If I go somewhere that charges tax, why can’t I just pay that tax as additional points taken off of my account? I don’t ask for tax exemption everywhere, just for some freedom of choice! I am willing to bet the University gets some sort of exemption with all this tax-free income.

Once again, money comes before the students.

I wonder why there aren’t many off-campus partners. Let’s look at the benefits: 1.) You have to pay the University a share of each transaction, yet you cannot charge more to cover the difference. Wow, there’s a big plus! Let’s make less money for the same product, plus we get to deal with 2.) college students!

Let’s face it, we are an unpleasant crew to deal with! We are flighty, irresponsible, rude, mostly drunk, and so on. Where I come from, diners absolutely despise large groups of kids – they know what’s up. Now the University wants local food shops to deal especially with us for less money.

I know that ours is just one of many universities participating in a paradigm, but that does not mean that it is right. A school-wide reformation of this unfair practice would truly be an example of progress in our University. But don’t boycott J Street, it already has our money.

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