I came to college expecting the food to be relatively mediocre, as I had heard stories from older siblings, cousins, friends, etc. So, I was prepared to take on shitty food–however, I was not prepared to pay ridiculously high prices for that shitty food. There aren’t many dining options at Bucknell–as a freshman, you have unlimited swipes in the caf (so you have no concept of money), but as an upperclassman you pretty much just eat in the bison with “dining dollars.” You could eat somewhere downtown that takes campus dollars, but trust me–it’s not worth the effort of actually trying to obtain this mystical currency. Why log on to myBucknell and enter your bank account’s routing and account number in addition to a bunch of other personal information so you can eat at Subway when you can just sign your name on a sheet at the Bison for dining dollars and eat there?
I took an introductory Economics course during the fall semester of my sophomore year (coincidentally, the same time I started eating at the Bison regularly because I no longer had those precious, beautiful, glorious “unlimited swipes”). In this class, I learned about inelastic products, supply and demand, etc. I soon learned that the reason places on campus like the Bison can charge $5 for a bag of chips is simply because they fucking can so deal with it. Students don’t use “real” money to at these few locations on campus, they swipe their student ID’s and the screen shows a remaining balance of dining dollars (which students rarely look at anyway). When they run out, they sign their name on a sheet at the Bison and more dining dollars are automatically charged to their B-Bill account (which most students’ parents track and take care of). I guarantee you no student in their right mind would be willing to pay over $12 in cash for a burrito at the bison–that’s more than Chipotle, and they use real steak!
So, I guess ignorance is bliss. If only I didn’t take that Econ course only to learn that I was being ripped off by the very institution that is supposed to be “nurturing my well-being.”