While listening to casual conversations and even participating in formal debates, there has never been an instance where I did not hear someone express their animosity towards the “greedy corporations”. Although I always empathize with their current circumstance, I always rebuttal with this question when they lend the suggestion that government could do a fairer job: “Is government any less greedy than the corporations you speak of? If so, why?” After a quick and fleeting glance, they generally tend to dismiss the question instead of answering it. I wish to quickly share my latest experience with government apathy, pride, and of course, its rampant greed; specifically: UNR Housing and Food Services.
During this summer of 2008, my roommate and I split a single food plan in order to save money. After some quick mental math, one can actually save more by splitting this particular food plan instead of shopping at Walmart. The idea was to have my roommate invite me as a dining guest every time we ate, thus effectively splitting one plan amongst two people. This is no way against policy, as throughout the normal school year many students invite friends, family, and even bums to come dine with them.
To keep this story truncated and punctual, we were basically told to go to hell from the dining commons staff and told to go speak to housing. Naturally, the next morning at 8AM sharp we visited the Housing and Food Services to discuss why the meal plans do not work the same during summer as they do during the normal school year as we were told by other staffers as well as the contract. After a stern yet composed meeting with them that morning, one of them finally actually told us that they purposefully design the meal plans to screw over students.
This is what they told us, verbatim:
Housing: “The meal is set up mostly for what we call a missed meal factor. In other words, if you ate all 19 meals, then Chart Wilson loses money. But they know that not every student is going to eat all 19 meals… it’s set up that way. That’s what mini-meal plans on mini-campuses are set up during summer.”
Roomate: “Don’t you personally think this should be stated before someone commits into an agreement, instead of stating it as a regular meal plan?”
Housing: “You raise some good points. The meal plan has been unchanged for many years and they have not run into this that I am aware of in the past.”
After this 15 minute conversation, we were finally told that the person who could provide a refund was not available, and that we needed to send an email when he gets back into the office the following week. After writing the email, we received this letter, not from Russ Meyer (the guy who was the only one who could apparently give us a refund), but from an accountant?.
Russ Meyer is currently out of town but I did have the opportunity to speak to him regarding your email. The summer meal plan is not set up to accept more than one meal swipe per period. The meal plan period started on Sunday, June 8th and the employees involved have been reminded how the summer meal plan works. While we can’t do a refund of your meal plan we can convert it to Food Bucks. Food Bucks are good anywhere on campus that serves food, including the Downunder Café. Please let me know if you would like to keep your current plan or convert it into Food Bucks. We are sorry for any confusion.
University of Nevada, Reno
Residential Life, Housing and Food Service
Juniper Hall MS/0060
Living on-campus for the summer is both convenient and economical.
Visit http://www.reslife.unr.edu/summerhousing.html for more information.
This was unacceptable, and through many, many more 8AM “wake-up” meetings to their office and never-ending phone calls, we were finally (although not yet confirmed) able to get a full refund. What does this show? I shared this experience because:
1) It relates to UNR and shows the absolute garbage UNR housing loves spewing. More importantly, however,
2) It is more about pride and greed with government entities then about assisting the nuisance/slave.. err CUSTOMER. This is the fundamental difference between the two.
I wish to conclude this post by including one of the shortest and greatest explanations of greed I have ever heard, by Milton Friedman. Next time you feel as though you have gotten screwed over by a corporation, please ask yourself if jumping on the government bandwagon would be any different.