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Letter to the editor: Chartwells, it's too late to 'apologuise'
Charly Shrive
Antelope Staff

Last week the normal entrance to the University Residence North cafeteria was closed, forcing students to enter through the exit. On the shut gate was a message to students from Chartwells which read (unedited), “PLEASE SWIPE YOUR CARD BEFORE CHOOSING YOUR MEAL. WE APOLOGUISE FOR THE INCONVIENENCE. WE ARE HAVING A PROBLEM WITH STUDENTS BEING HONEST WHICH RESULTS IN RAISED MEAL PRICES.”

Now, before I get going I’d like to acknowledge that stealing is wrong, and students should not steal, even if it is from Chartwells. However, this claim that lack of students being “honest,” or stealing, leading to higher meal prices is laughable (much like their ill-fated attempt to spell apologize).   

First of all, each meal plan costs roughly $1,700, and there are at least 1,700 people on campus who are required to buy a meal plan. In order for the paying customer’s price to be raised $1, the ‘thief’ would have to steal $1,700 worth of food, which equals 21 meals a week under the Chartwells meal plan. Stealing $1,700 worth of food is a daunting task for anyone, especially if you think you can find $1,700 worth of food in a Chartwells cafeteria, but multiple ‘thieves’ could probably reach this goal.

The multiple thieves theory leads to the next problem in this logic. If someone is stealing from the cafeteria, it is unlikely that they have just started this semester or even this year. On that note, Chartwells should factor for some level of theft in its planning. So now, in order to raise your meal price $1, people need to be stealing 21 meals more each week than ever before.

Finally, if you think that food is the primary expense for Chartwells, you have obviously never eaten there. It is much more likely that the majority of the company’s expenses go to things like staff and facilities. So, if we agree that food only accounts for half of these expenses then our thieves now need to steal twice as much as before.

I would also be willing to bet that the cafeteria throws away more food at the end of each day than anyone steals. Instead of getting mad at a few broke college kids that bum a meal without paying, and insulting all of the paying customers in the process, maybe Chartwells should spend a little bit of time looking at how honest it is.

If, by some stroke of misfortune, you ended up purchasing either of the two meal plans Chartwells offers, you might have a different feeling about theft. Whenever you fail to use a transfer in the allotted time slot—you lose your meal. No refund, they just take your money (truthfully there’s no taking, they already have it).  

Owners of 21-meal plans know all too well, as well as 15-meal planners, before Chartwells so graciously allowed them to transfer on the weekends, that breakfast ends at 10 a.m. So, if anyone with a 21-meal plan sleeps past 10 a.m. they lose one of their meals.   Now if you know a college kid who wakes up every day before 10 a.m. this plan must work well, but if you know a college kid who sleeps past 10 a.m. ever, wake him, because he’s being robbed.

Chartwells has taken its cues from the sleepy college kid and hit the snooze button through too many student concerns. With the contract up in the coming year, I’m taking the same stance as OneRepublic.
It’s too late to apologize.

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