What's "Eating" our Lunch Money

Jake Schlossberg Staff Writer The cafeteria is a staple in Latin life. Lunch is an important time to unwind, chat with friends, and nibble on some pretty tasty food. We would be lost without it, but is our money lost with it? In recent years, cafeteria prices have gone up more and more. The question is, how much is too much? Lunch is a necessary fixture in our schedule, but how much are we willing to pay for it? Opinions around school are mixed. Some, like sophomore Tricia Crimmins, think that the product is worth the price. She thinks the cafeteria “added some great new stuff this year, like the iced coffee, and better premade sandwiches, so I think they can charge more for that stuff. But the same old stuff should be the same old prices.” Unfortunately, the prices on products that have always been featured have gone up, too. Senior Su Kim is aggravated by this, stating that, “coffee was twenty five cents my freshman year, now it’s a dollar twenty five. I just don’t see why the price had to go up.” Tricia disagrees, stating that, “the extra few cents are worth it! I’m fortunate enough to not have to worry about an extra dollar twenty five a couple times a week, but I can see how it would be a problem; it adds up.” It really does. Assuming the school year is somewhere around two hundred days, if one were to have a cup of coffee every morning of the school year, it would cost them two hundred and fifty dollars. That’s money that could be spent on any number of things. Freshman Sarah Stone disagrees, though, arguing that, “the prices are pretty reasonable.” Kaya Romeo, a junior, adds, “at least it’s cheaper than Starbucks.” Another significant problem with the cafeteria’s pricing is the way they are handling the new point system. While it is more convenient to load your card online, apparently it comes with a price. Kaya explains, “Because I didn’t have money on my card, my balance went into the negatives. Basically, there’s a twenty-five dollar limit on negative charges, so after that, you have to pay. I was never notified that my charge went negative, and my mom never got an alert or anything, so how was I supposed to know that I had overspent?” That raises a good question; how can the cafeteria expect us to obey their new policies if they don’t notify us that they’re in place? The answer: they can’t. With some of the prices in the cafeteria, it often makes more sense to go out to eat. A burrito at Chipotle will set you back $6, and a burrito in the cafeteria charge your card about $5.50. Sandwiches at Latin are generally cheaper than those at Starbucks, and coffee is cheaper at Starbucks. Still, if you have a few minutes to spare, an extra dollar on a burrito can save you ten minutes in line (which is about how long it takes to get to Chipotle). When it comes down to it, it all ends up about the same. It just seems like the cafeteria shouldn’t cost the same as going out to lunch. Either way, we are so lucky to have what we have in our school’s cafeteria. The food we eat is of a far higher quality than most institutions in the city. Quality products cost money.  Whether you want to pay for it, well, that’s a different question altogether.]]>