Photos and story by Kristina Webb
Maybe you’re craving a snack. Maybe you’re a little low on bread, and need a few slices to make some toast for breakfast. Or maybe you just walked away with blue plastic cup without thinking twice because you’re really low on dishes.
Students have been sneaking food to their rooms from Palm Beach Atlantic University’s Frasier Dining Hall, also known as the “caf,” for years and it might start to influence food prices.
“It does make prices go up,” said Abbie Rosemeyer, Sodexo’s representative on the PBA campus. “We based prices on per usage. It impacts everybody.”
Rosemeyer has seen students steal everything from a piece of fruit to a gallon of milk and even a napkin dispenser.
“We started out [last] semester with 78 [napkin dispensers], and at the end of the semester we had 69,” Rosemeyer said.
Some students feel that they have the right to take a few items away from their visit to the caf.
“The food’s pretty bad,” said sophomore Bryan Heck, a biology and education major that steals food regularly. “The good thing about the caf is you can have as much as you want. I’m paying how much for this food? I can take some extra.”
Heck added that in the past, he has taken everything from milk, bread and bagels back to his dorm room.
Margaret Carty, a Sodexo employee who works in the caf, said that she has had to take food away from students in the past.
“They just shouldn’t take it,” Carty said. “It affects everything in here.”
When students take extra food from the caf, it factors into a formula that weighs the food inventory against the amount of cash and swipes that are used per day, Rosemeyer said. This makes it easier to keep track of how much food is being used.
“If it were up to me, I would not allow the bags,” said Bruce Metrie, front of house supervisor in the caf, referring to the large bags that many students carry. “We provide you meals, not just snacks.”
Although one anonymous Sodexo employee stated that the problem seems to be getting better, Rosemeyer said that it “certainly has not,” but that it has not gotten worse either. According to Rosemeyer, this is a persistent problem that has seen no solution.
“We ask them not to do it,” Metrie said. “If someone is doing it repeatedly, we may have to call Safety and Security about it.”
“Student do pay an enormous amount of money here,” said Nathan Lane, assistant professor in the School of Ministry, “but they still need to follow the rules.”
Rosemeyer said that she doesn’t want students to stop taking the food just because they are getting caught, but that they should stop “out of respect for the staff and the cost.”
“The take-out component probably adds to some of the confusion,” said Jeff Timmer, Resident Director for Rinker Hall. “What does frustrate me is when I see someone take an orange outside and throw it at someone instead of eating it. That’s just wasteful.”
Still, some students think that it is a great idea.
“I think it’s good,” said Lauren Williams (above), a freshman nursing student. “It’s a snack for later.” Williams admitted that she has taken food before such as oranges, apples and muffins.