Dunk pricey cookies in rotten milk

I love the complimentary newspapers in Eickhoff. The College actually listened to one of my suggestions last year on those little comment cards. It seems that Sodexho actually opens the comment boxes.

Unfortunately, just about everything else our dining service does seems wrong. The food quality is often below average. For example, the pizza that runs through a conveyor belt tastes nothing like pizza.

Additionally, a few individuals taint the customer service – I’ve seen students, on more than one occassion, waiting in line for tacos getting yelled at for their perseverance.

Finally, any intelligent business student could run this virtual monopoly (there is no outside competition for on-campus students and catering services), and easily make large profits, while also lowering prices. But the current management squanders this completely advantageous situation.

To the untrained ear, I sound like just another college student complaining about the food. But there are problems at our dining halls that cannot be ignored. Many of my complaints pertain to unethical and, more importantly, illegal issues.

Two years ago, when Sodexho first began serving the College, I came across a severe problem. Upon opening milk from Travers and Wolfe, I noticed a strange taste. It was the middle of November but the milk had expired in October.

When I brought this to the attention of one of the managers, the manager directed me to simply get a different milk.

It took about 10 minutes and some arguing to force him to pull the rotten and expired drink from the freezers. I noticed expired products for sale two more times that semester.

Sodexho was tricking students into buying milk they couldn’t drink, much the same way that they sometimes sell rotten fruit that isn’t edible.

Another problem I’ve encountered is that of erroneous changes added to the prices of my meal.

If I had chosen to argue over those 50 cents, I would have had to endure a 10-minute wait to recover my loss, while the employee searched for a manager. But with over 100 days in a semester, 50 cents a day adds up to $50.

This year, my anger has reached a new high because Sodexho charges prices that differ from the marked price on the bags of these products. For example, I noticed that the Grandma’s Home Style Cookies, marked 2/$1.00, once cost me $1.30 for one package.

Thankfully, I am vigilant about looking at the scanned prices and my receipts. Many students, though, are too busy to notice the price scam.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, “it is against the law to charge more than the advertised shelf price. Stores that do may be subject to civil and criminal fines.”

Laws like this are intact to protect the consumer.

Wanting to see the problem fixed, I researched the prices of the same Grandma’s Cookies. In Travers and Wolfe they sold for 50 cents a package, as advertised. In the student center, however they sold for $1. And in Eickhoff the exact same package of cookies sold for $1.30.

When at Eickhoff, I brought this to the attention of a manager, showing him my receipt and the package with the listed price.

He did nothing to defend the discrepancy. He offered no reconciliation, mumbled and walked away. Witnesses report he was rude and belligerent.

I encountered the same problem in the student center. The manager on duty there claimed that the package meant that the two cookies in the one package were sold for $1.

However, that’s not what the package means, since all Grandma’s products are marked “2/$1.00,” including the packages that include six small cookies.

Again the manager mumbled and walked away, rather rudely leaving me with an overcharged bill.

I’m tired of this treatment. I’m filing a complaint with both the FTC and the Better Business Bureau.

As often seen in the corporate world, Sodexho’s mission is just meaningless words. It’s Web site claims, “Our mission is to improve the quality of daily life for all the people we serve. Being socially responsible is central to this commitment.”

Sodexho does little to embody their own mission. At least they have Larry. He’s the only other thing in Eickhoff besides the newspapers that improve the quality of my daily life.