Expensive KSU food shoved down our throats

Mike Crissman

Kent State students living on campus with the university-mandated meal plan know all too well the outrageous prices the school charges for food.

Our school requires all freshmen and sophomores to live on campus and to participate in a food plan, according to official KSU policy, “because the residential experience is viewed as a part of the total university education.”

Most KSU students are forced to play by these rules, usually, until they become juniors. Some underclassmen lie to the school about commuting from home and live in a house or apartment off campus.

The university fails to mention that its “total university education” involves teaching students how to get ripped off. Kent State takes advantage of being the only game in town by jacking up the prices of food. After choosing from a choice of four meal plans (lite, basic, premier or premier plus) we are limited to only being able to use the plan on campus.

We can’t use it at Chipotle, Five Guys or Hungry Howie’s, all of which are just off campus. They’re forbidden fruit as far as our Kent State meal plans are concerned. We can put money on our Flashcards, turning it into Flashcash, which can then be used at those and other tasty places. But Flashcash is nothing more than a middle-manned waste of time.

Instead, we get the same old mozzarella sticks offered at Eastway, Prentice, Rosie’s and Pete’s Arena. They were good the first 15 times we ate it, but enough’s enough. If you’re putting things at gourmet prices, then what we’re eating better taste like it. Sure, it’s convenient as heck having an eatery a minute’s walk from my dorm room. However, there’s some serious gouging going on.

We near-broke students seldom have the luxury of going off campus to buy a Whopper while we’re partaking in the cumbersome meal plan. The powers that be may argue that the inflated pricing is due to high overhead costs of shipping and labor. But there’s something else: greed. Kent State has exclusive rights to our appetites and a monopoly on our stomachs. They charge us an arm, a leg and an extra leg for the same food sold at half the price at Wal-Mart or Circle K.

It’s not just the price of food that’s upsetting; it’s how they do it. We’ve been conditioned to go into Prentice or Rosie’s for all our grocery needs without giving any thought as to how much things cost while we’re shopping.

Price tags are few and far between. (If the prices of items are actually advertised, that’s news to me, even with 20/20 vision.) We don’t realize the scam until the cashier says, “$30.75,” after ringing up a box of Bagel Bites, a bag of Cheetos and a bottle of water. True story.

Sorry if I come off as a little cranky. It’s just that I don’t like the taste of the high prices being shoved down my throat.

Mike Crissman is a freshman journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].