“The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains.” -Gabby (and Karl Marx)
by Gabby Curran
It was a bright and unusually warm Sunday morning in January when I woke up hungover and in need of sustenance. I ventured across campus—a full half a mile, mind you!—to get myself a snack at the vending machine in our beloved McGinley building.
For those of you who don’t know, there are two vending machines in McGinley, both of which sell the same products, more or less. Now, a sound mind would think that a product would cost the same at every vending machine; choosing one vending machine over the other should make no difference to your wallet. But you’d be wrong, at least at Fordham University.
Without thinking too much, I waltzed over to the vending machine closest to the door, noticing a Rice Krispies treat that I thought would suit my need for a balanced breakfast best. The snack cost $2.00. I pulled two singles out of my wallet, ready to make my purchase. Unfortunately, the touch screen wouldn’t respond, forcing me to drag myself a full 10 feet away to the other vending machine. As I looked for the number corresponding to my desired treat, I was shocked to notice that the Rice Krispies treat at this vending machine only cost $1.50.
What was Fordham trying to pull? Did they honestly think they could get away with blatant LIES? How long will we stand for this? I want my Rice Krispies and I want them at a consistent price, God dammit!
All jokes aside, we can all admit that this is a pretty ridiculous scenario. Why does the same snack cost more at one vending machine, especially when both vending machines are in the same room? I can’t think of a valid explanation for this. You see this in other places, too—drugstores often differ from place to place in their prices for reasons I don’t understand. If it’s the same product—the same brand, the same ingredients—why should it cost more at one place than at another?
Our very own bookstore tends to do this, too. It’s no secret that the bookstore overcharges for books that can be found at much cheaper prices at Barnes and Noble, your local used bookstore, or on Amazon. They claim they’ll match prices, but we all know the truth—they’re cucking us, plain and simple, because they know we need these books and have no choice but to get them if we don’t want to fail our classes. Just the other day, I rented a book I needed for one of my classes, and the price difference between new and used versions of the book was outrageous. It cost about $3.00 to rent a used copy, but $15.00 to rent a new one. Come on—do a few creased pages and minor highlights really decrease the value of a book by twelve whole dollars? I highly doubt it. To top it all off, they didn’t even have any used copies in stock. Whether or not the used books were all taken out at that point is up for debate, but the large amount of new copies stocked—coupled with the fact that it was assigned to a pretty small class—makes me think that the lack of used books was planned.
I’m not blaming the people in charge of the vending machines or the Fordham bookstore for their pretty blatant attempt to rip us off. These incidents are really only symptoms of the greater issues that accompany capitalism. It’s a system with perks for sure, but anyone who thinks it’s a flawless way to run a country’s economy is kidding themselves.