Dining prices aren’t ideal.With the “unlimited” Declining plan, many students don’t run out, even though it is still very possible to spend all 2,100 dollars worth of Declining throughout the semester. This is kind-of absurd. When all’s said and done, this equates to around 20 dollars a day. To put this in perspective, for a dollar a day, I could sponsor a child in Haiti. If I was feeling like less of a good person, I could buy about a case-and-a-third of Genessee beer a day. Additionally, I could eat two or three high quality meals a day off campus at some of my favorite restaurants. Pellegrino’s typically costs me about 6.50 dollars for a seven inch sub. Pizza Stop will gladly sell me two slices of their specialty pizza and a Snapple for eight dollars.
I understand that there are costs associated with supplying an entire school with food. This makes sense, and I admire that UR gives students a wide variety of options. Having multiple dining halls, food to serve those who need special accommodations, and continuing to entertain more creative options is not cheap. With this in mind, I thought that was why there was such a large overhead cost on top of the meal plan and that the original conversion was not a real dollar to a dollar of declining, but actually a decent amount more.
The thing that is more frustrating to me than the actual cost of the plan is the cost of goods on campus. But, more so than the cost of goods on campus, is the discrepancies between different locations that accept declining throughout campus.
For instance, I have started to go to the Medical Center for lunch. Every day I go, I typically purchase a chicken sandwich, large fries, and Pure Leaf–brand iced tea. The meal is quite enjoyable, especially when I am charged a dollar or two fewer than the cost of just a chicken sandwich and fries without the tea at the Pit. The food at the Pit is no worse—I would say both meals are pretty solid. The only difference is the cost. Now I am sure there are reasons for this. Maybe the Medical Center would rather not price gouge individuals preparing to save lives or those stressing about their loved ones, and I respect that. But, the school should be able to cut costs a decent amount. A major concern shouldn’t be knowing how much to order and supply to patrons.
Having compared the costs of food between establishments that accept Declining (the Medical Center and the Pit), one thing which may be the most frustrating is the price difference between blimpie and the pit. I understand that it can be hard to compare the costs of a sub to a burrito bowl, Panda Bowl, or pizza. With this in mind, it is fairly simple to look at the cost between two identical goods. A Gatorade in the cooler at Blimpie is 14 cents cheaper than one in the Pit. I know it isn’t much, but it is about the principle. If Blimpie can afford to sell items more cheaply, I am certain the Pit can, too.
When everything’s said and done, I respect that the school is doing an awesome job providing a variety of dining options to cater to many individuals, and does a great job hiring awesome workers who care about supplying high-quality food. I just don’t fully understand how dining options with the same food have different costs.