Orange juice, a breakfast sandwich and a banana at The Main – $4.63. A modest-sized BLT at Sub Connection – $4.64.
Beef ravioli, baked apples from the Chef’s Table and a bottle of Ozarka at The Main – $7.42.
The total for the day – $16.69.
Somewhere off in the distance, I can almost hear sociologist Karl Marx laughing about the benefits of communism. Sure, Soviet-issued meals taste like a mix of concrete and broken dreams, but, gosh darn it, they’re free.
OK, so I just sounded like a total commie, but I can assure you that I’m not like that.
I love capitalism.
It keeps those fat paychecks from the Skiff rolling in so I have money to take girls out for fancy dinners in my limousine. Oh wait, it’s more like buy a candy bar and swoon over Keira Knightley while I watch “Pirates of the Caribbean.” She’s so dreamy.
It’s no secret that campus food is overpriced.
A 20-ounce bottle of Gatorade costs $1.89 in Frog Bytes compared to 89 cents at a convenience store.
A relatively small sandwich at Deco Deli and a drink can run anywhere from $6 to $8. We could eat at Subway for cheaper than that.
Don’t even get me started on Pond St. Grill. All I know is that when the nice man tells me how much I’m paying, all I hear is “first-born child.”
Judging from my meals from The Main and Sub Connection, food costs most students from $16 to $17 for three square meals a day.
Not counting fall, Thanksgiving, Winter Break and a couple of travel days, students spend a total of 109 days on campus each semester. Multiplying the amount spent on food per day with the number of days on campus, students are spending anywhere from $1,744 to $1,853 a semester. At that pace, even the heartiest of meal plans – $1600 – would run out with nine to 14 days left until the end of the semester.
Either way, you are taking exams on an empty stomach, and who wants to do that?
Who is to blame for these high prices? Is it Chancellor Boschini? No. SuperFrog? Nope. That one guy who played Goose in “Top Gun?” Negative.
The blame lies with Maryland-based Sodexho, a food and facilities management company.
A visit to its Web site tells you Sodexho was one of the top 50 companies for diversity in the United States in 2006. That’s nice. It’s comforting to know Sodexho doesn’t discriminate on the basis of race or religion when it comes to who will be ripping me off.
However, an expensive price tag wouldn’t be so painful if the food was great, but food on campus is slightly above average at best. For example, I could’ve sworn the chili on my baked potato was made with alpaca.
Look, the people at TCU Dining Services bust their humps day in and day out, but they can’t make great food with the average ingredients that they are given. That’s like asking Leonardo Da Vinci to make a masterpiece with a box of crayons.
In the end, we are powerless to do anything to change Sodexho’s pricing.
The company gets to keep our meal plan money whether we use it or not. However, conserving your prepaid fund is the key to not letting it rip any extra money from your pocket.
Get the free water from the spout instead of bottled. Skip having cheese on your sandwich every now and then. Also, most importantly, avoid the Frog Bytes convenience store at all costs.
Be wary: Keep those wallets fat and those bellies full.
David Hall is a freshman news-editorial journalism major from Kingwood. His column appears every Tuesday and Friday.