HUNTER SAVERY ’20
The day Trinity students have long feared has finally come. The Bistro, the last hold out of palatable meal plan dining, has raised its prices. Once beloved for its combos and exhibition flare, the Bistro is the latest site of a Chartwells injustice. While last semester the campus was busy worrying about a rumored Mather price hike, Trinity’s robber baron meal provider surreptitiously attacked the last set of reasonable meals on campus. Students arrived this semester to find their favorite menu items now costing more, or in some cases, no longer present. While the Chartwells employees at Trinity’s dining halls are lovely, the company as a whole is quite the opposite.
Until this semester, it was possible to order a sandwich, fries, and drink for the cost of one meal swipe. That makes sense; a meal should cost a meal swipe, right? Not according to our food service overlords who have introduced a new tiered system for ordering at the Bistro and Cave. Is it not enough that we live in a stratified society? Do our meals need to have an elitist bend as well? Chartwells must think so, since they have declared that the philly cheesesteak is worth $2.24 more than a hamburger, placing it in tier three. A meal is worth $5.75. This limits the purchasing power of a meal to the lowly tier one level. If a student wants a meal from tier two or tier three, it is going to come out of their flex dollars or another meal swipe entirely. If Chartwells were a more clever company, it would know better than to call them meal swipes at all since they are worth even less of a meal each passing semester. Why highlight the fact that a meal swipe is rarely worth a meal?
It should not be forgotten that Chartwells notoriously under compensates its workers. So, will the new meal plan profits bolster salaries and benefits? Hopefully, but that is most likely not the case, and if it is, Chartwells should make that known by adding PR to the heap of necessary company improvements. However, this article would not be fair unless it also noted the improvements Chartwells has made this semester. Tapingo has been running without a hitch, which is a blessing after the great Tapingo drought of 2017. On the mobile ordering front, keep up the good work Chartwells! There has been an improvement in the Cave as well, with chicken tenders now available full time. No longer is access to fried chicken limited to the late night weekend.
Trinity College is far from perfect, but a prestigious school deserves a prestigious dining experience to match. Or, at the very least, something better than what Mather trots out on the weekend. The price changes at the Bistro and Cave are just the latest in a long history of microaggressions perpetrated by an unfortunate dining service. The administration of Trinity College must reevaluate our dining service and the so-called meals it offers. No one is saying that caviar should be included with every meal, but stop making us pay extra for mozzarella, and most importantly, make a meal cost a meal swipe. Otherwise, why call it a meal swipe at all? Chartwells needs to take notes from its wonderful employees and, most importantly, pay them a living wage too.