Just Ask Us: DeCafé Not Worth Price

Jolie DeFeis and Mike Plotz

Disclaimer: “Just Ask Us and We’ll Tell Ya” is a satirical column, and the Review does not condone illegal activity of any kind. 

There comes a time in every Oberlin student’s life when a decision must be made: Should I steal that shit from DeCafé? Of course, stealing is wrong when put into simplistic terms, but alas, we do not live in such a black and white world. The real question is whether DeCafé and Campus Dining Services are already stealing from us — and we believe the answer is yes.

Here at “Just Ask Us,” we are 100 percent certain that CDS is stealing from us. Here in the Opinions section, we’re sure you’re used to reading opinions, but first, let’s break down the facts. Everyone knows that it costs $7 to buy a meal at a dining hall. What you don’t know is that you’re paying much more than just $7 for your Stevie diarrhea. Nineteen meals per week, which is the cheapest cost-permeal plan, comes out to $13.08 every time you get your slop on in Stevie. The cheapest overall meal plan is five meals per week — only available to those who are off campus or live in village housing — but this comes out to a whopping $24.19 per meal. We didn’t believe that when we first read it, so here it is again, spelled out: twenty-four dollars and nineteen cents per meal. That’s a $7 value yours for only $24.19, and of course this is all after flex is deducted from the total semester meal plan cost. However, deducting flex dollar for dollar is not the right way to determine the value of your meal plan. Because Jolie is an economist, she knows this to be true. To offer another perspective, seniors, you could go to Feve brunch on both Saturday and Sunday (possibly even get a mimosa), for the amount of one CDS breakfast. Because Jolie loves Feve brunch, she also knows this to be true.

Now, Mike’s not an economist, but he did get a Bin Econ 101, and here’s what he has to say about flex: One flex point does not equal one dollar. Aside from the fact that you can’t buy weed and booze with flex points (we’ve tried), everything you can buy with flex points is inflated way beyond its value. Here at “Just Ask Us and We’ll Tell Ya,” we did the hard-hitting research, so you don’t have to. On a slow Tuesday evening, we actually went inside DeCafé and checked the prices of staple college student goods. What we found was shocking. Read on to find out more.

We looked at the prices of items such as Starbucks Doubleshots, Cocoa Pebbles, little tins of peaches that your mom used to pack you for lunch and you never ate, Naked Juice and of course, tuna fish (we’re eating some right now). We then compared DeCafé’s prices to those of competing companies. We were flabbergasted to discover that the average cost of a DeCafé good is 189 percent higher than other stores and yes, we did the math. To be fair and “transparent,” this was compared to Wal-mart and Amazon prices, but even so, almost two times more expensive is too damn high! Plus, these prices make Gibson’s look like a steal (this is an expression; do not try to steal from Gibson’s or you will be arrested). Considering the 189 percent inflation of flex points, the true cost per meal on a five meal/week plan is $27.35, almost four times the off-meal-plan cost of a meal, or a mimosa on both Saturday and Sunday.

Now that we have the facts, let’s get back to the opinion. Should you steal from DeCafé? Yes. An unequivocal, enthusiastic, unabashed yes. CDS is a monopoly that forces students to be on a meal plan that artificially inflates the price of goods to almost two times their value for DeCafé, or almost four times for meal plan meals. Their meal plans are getting more and more expensive every year with no recourse or indication of stopping. What are we to do? We implore you, fellow students, go to DeCafé, keep those IDs in your back pocket (or around your neck, if you’re a first-year), raise your fists in the air and stuff those pockets with Starbucks Doubleshots! Or find a friend with an Amazon Prime account and order a four-pack for $5.28 that arrives on your doorstep in under two days.