Chartwells’ policy of limiting meal trade usage to three per transaction is unfair to students.
Imagine being forced to order and pay for five pizzas from a specified restaurant. However, upon arrival, the restaurant only provides three, keeps the cash and says the other two can be picked up later.
That is essentially Chartwells’ meal trade policy, and it is not fair.
According to a Sept. 11 University Star article, Leslie Bulkley, resident district manager of Chartwells, said the reason this policy is in place is to keep high traffic vendors from running out of food.
Imagine if any other restaurant in America had a policy like this. Gil’s would limit the number of Manske rolls a person could purchase, and Grin’s would control the number of burgers that could be on a single ticket. People would not eat there anymore, and the restaurants would likely go out of business.
Unfortunately, choice does not exist in the world of meal trades. The university requires that all freshmen living on campus purchase meal trades, which come in bundles that range in price from $250 to $1,200. Meal trades are only good at on-campus dining locations.
If a restaurant kept running out of food at peak hours, the employees would expand their operations and make more food for customers.
Bulkley said Chartwells cannot do that because there are limits as to how long food can sit out before being purchased, but that argument is confusing. If students are buying a lot of food at rapid rates, especially if they want to buy multiple meals at once, then food would not be sitting out long at all.
The university has nothing to gain by making more food. If anything, it would lose money by buying more equipment and food to meet the demands of students. Texas State is making the same profit whether those meal swipes get used or not.
That profit is no small number. According to a Nov. 18, 2010 University Star article, Texas State kept students’ money for 92,236 unused meal trades left at the end of the spring semester that year. And meal trades can be worth as much as $6.88.
The administration might counter that students can always go to the back of the line to pay for more meal swipes after waiting again. However, this is an inconvenience, especially to students who want to treat a group of friends to the food they have already purchased in their meal plans.
The university has nothing to lose by denying students the food for which they have already paid.
The money is already in Texas State and Chartwells’ pockets. The biggest losers are the students.
The only way to make this situation right is for the university to stop limiting the number of meal trades students can use at one time or to let meal trades roll over from spring to fall so students have ample time to use the meal trades they were required to purchase.