Justin Lalputan

Let me start by saying this article has nothing to do with the Sodexo controversy regarding their workers. Sodexo is taking advantage of another group of people — students.

If you live on campus, you know what I’m talking about.

The price of food at George Mason University ranges from somewhat pricey to utterly ridiculous, and all of it is (with the exception of licensed brands) approved by Mason each fall. With the exception of Southside — a great deal if you have meal plans — the price and quality of on-campus food compared to off-campus food is pretty bad.

For example, a 16” pizza sold at Pilot House is roughly $11.49, and that’s just for a plain cheese pizza. Pepperoni will run you roughly $13 with tax and there are more expensive pizzas.

Look at Papa John’s. They deliver to campus and in fact have a deal for Mason students to order a large specialty pizza for $10 without tax or delivery fee.
So with tax and tip, that would cost about $12 to $15 depending on your generosity.

Compare that to the 16” Pilot Supreme pizza at about $16 and you’ll begin to see that students on campus are paying Sodexo’s ridiculous prices for mediocre food.
Now, let’s look at the One Stop Patriot Shop. I’m constantly in there buying sodas, ramen or even ChapStick (hey, it’s cold outside) and I’m constantly aware that I’m being ripped off.

To make matters worse, I can’t even use my meal plan when I’m in the One Stop, so all that money comes directly out of my pocket.

On campus, one regular soda is $1.59 without tax. I can get one for less than a dollar at the pharmacy in Fair Oaks Mall and for $1.25 at most other places. They’re making at least a 29-cent profit — roughly a 20 percent increase.

So why do I buy from them knowing that I’m getting ripped off? Why would I spend the little money I have paying gourmet prices for average food?

The answer is simple. I do it because it’s convenient.

When Sodexo prices items on campus, they are well aware of the fact that when I’m sitting in my dorm room at 1 a.m. and I suddenly get a craving for ginger ale, I’m not running out to Walmart.

No, I collect the pennies off of my floor and run to the One Stop because I don’t have a car and it’s right next to my dorm.

It’s tragic but true. Sodexo-run stores, which would never survive outside of campus, have a stranglehold on campus dining.

What really irks me is the fact that Sodexo isn’t the only entity trying to make money off of Mason students.
Why don’t we have a dollar/value menu at Burger King or Taco Bell?

It’s because national brands such as those dictate what they sell and at what price for each location.

When they look at us, they don’t see broke college students.

They see the money that they’re going to take out of our pockets.

Sodexo and the national brands are lucky that I don’t have a car because if I did, I would never eat here. And honestly, at these prices, you shouldn’t either.


1 Comment

  1. C says:

    While I agree – its like that at every institutional food service on campuses. There is a University Mall across the street with a Giant, McDonalds and other restaurants. Convenience always comes at a price.