ARAMARK has done it again. They have successfully muddled what was already a confusing dining system into a convoluted, tax code-like behemoth. UR students are hard pressed to find someone who can successfully and coherently explain the new system or even the rationale for the changes.

Communication problems between ARAMARK and students have been evident throughout the previous academic year, but most notably when upperclassmen were signing up for meal plans. Students were forced to choose one of the redesigned meal plans before features such as discounts or Club Meals were even finalized. When school opened for fall, Club Meals turned out to be a huge inconvenience riddled with time and location restrictions. To add insult to injury, upperclassmen were charged an extra $20 fee for changing to the more functional declining plans.

Freshmen are no better off. With their forced 238 Club Meal plan, the freshman dining experience is quickly becoming a maddening one. ARAMARK’s restrictions are enough to daze anyone attempting to understand them. Only four Club Meals may be used a day: two must be used at All-You-Care-To-Eat places. The remaining Club Meals can only be used with specific Club packages. However, they cannot be used in the Pit except from 2-4 p.m. and after 8 p.m.

As if this was not confusing enough, ARAMARK has devised declining meal plans with varying discount levels. Cashiers regularly ask students to check their receipts to make sure their discount was applied, which makes one question how reliable this system is. With students confused about their discount levels, registers confused about charging the right price, and cashiers confused by both, it is readily apparent that students lose under this plan.

The best way to improve the current meal plan system is to get rid of all the ridiculous discounts, club meals and other hoopla ARAMARK has invented. Instead, allow everyone to have declining dollars and establish a reasonable weekly spending cap for different buy-in levels. This allows students to exercise their responsibility while still providing something for them to fall back on.

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