I started to stutter and my palms began to sweat when, on my first day on the job as a Freshman Fellow, I couldn’t answer a question. It wasn’t in my training!
“Where is the P.O.D. [Provisions on Demand] market, and what time does it open?” The training manual went through my head: “In times of an emergency situation, call upon the RA.” My Resident Advisor conveniently walked out of her room and said, “Oh, the new Hillside? It opens in 20 minutes — downstairs!”
I nonchalantly followed the freshmen downstairs, laughing to myself about how they are going to miss out on the paninis (and probably the freshman fifteen that go with it).
As the ribbon was cut and hordes of people rushed in, I realized that the dim lights were replaced with bright fluorescent colors, and the years-old cement colored carpet was replaced with shiny hardwood floors. It was hard to believe this was part of the University.
“It’s like walking through the ‘Twilight Zone,’” sophomore John Power said. The bright purple-skinned potatoes were lined up against the scarlet tomatoes. I turned around to see boxes of hummus and cold cuts. Boxes of macaroni and cheese, crackers, cookies and pita bread lined the store. Hillside Cafe has become a Wegmans, in the palm of our hands. I was awestruck.
A friend of mine, who is a senior, said “Woah, it’s like being a kid in a candy shop” when she saw all the upperclassmen pack their arms with everything they saw, in fright that it would all disappear.
I laughed until one of my freshmen poked me and said, “Except, literally,” as she pointed at the wall space covered with “pay by the ounce” candy option.
It was too good to be true. That’s when I realized, they get you with the money — the P.O.D. charges you obscene amounts to punish you for not having a car on campus.
All of a sudden, I hear, “Match it, match it, match it.” It was like being in a Walmart commercial. The price wasn’t the catch — they match the Wegmans price if you feel overcharged for a product. It was just what the students needed and had asked for.
The clock stuck 6 p.m. and, as the bells tolled on top of Rush Rhees, I closed my eyes wondering if the P.O.D. would turn back into the ugly Hillside pumpkin — but it didn’t. The P.O.D. is here to stay.
Shah is a member of
the class of 2014.