PB & Pay

A slim slather of PB&J that gets easily overwhelmed by the “Texas toast” surrounding it is about all you can expect from Sodexo’s cheapest sandwich on campus.

They don’t exactly make for a five-star meal.

But as something I could buy with whatever loose change I happened to have in my pockets, the PB&J was well worth it to give me the energy to confront my morning class – especially when breakfast at home was a glass of tap water and a handful of Cheerios.

My diet isn’t the greatest.

So, I had made it a plan to get a PB&J a while ago.

After summiting State Street and stumbling my way into Sandella’s, I grabbed one off the shelf and headed to the register – pocket change in hand.

But while waiting in line, I noticed something peculiarly sinister about the wrapper.

The $1.79 price tag from last semester has nearly doubled to $3.59!

And I only had $2.75.

Now, I may not be an economist, but that’s only a few cents away from being a 100% markup in cost … over just one semester … for the same amount of PB&J.

Supply and demand curves – prepare to be ignored.

But I digress. I wasn’t about to hike all the way back down to the car to pillage its ashtray for three more quarters and a dime. I just starved through class.

Which is something I’ve found myself doing more often this semester.

Because it seems like just about everything on the menu is more expensive now.

The Caesar salad topped with chicken on the same shelf at Sandella’s is pushing it at $7.99, while the little cup of diced watermelon sitting next to it goes well overboard at $2.79.

For a quarter more, I could buy half of a whole watermelon at the grocery store.

The double cheeseburger combo from the grille, once a classic commuter go-to, has lost its reverence at nearly $8 this semester – compared to around $6 last semester.

And for those without meal plans, entry into the Main Dining Hall now costs 50 cents more. This one isn’t as bad, but even last semester’s $9 base fee was enough to keep me out most of the time.

But undoubtedly, the PB&J got it the worst – especially when the heart of the sandwich already feels more like a condiment.

I understand that Sodexo needs to make a profit, and that there’s a convenience cost to many of the grab-and-go food items they provide. But $3.59 for one is just nuts.

The higher cost of food in general here has made it discouraging to eat on campus, particularly for commuters who don’t want to buy meal plans.

And that’s a problem when a large part of our day is spent on campus. Because unless we paper bag our meals from home like high-schoolers, we have to pay a premium for the privilege of not going hungry.

College students are not the wealthiest of people. We do everything we can to protect our savings – and at these prices, sometimes, that means skipping lunch.

A PB&J shouldn’t be something I stress over when my bank statement comes in.

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