U needs to end campus food monopolies

By By Sabriel Harris

By Sabriel Harris

As I rummage through my giant, black hole of a bag and then chase that elusive quarter through the hole in my jeans, I glance up at the vending machine I am about to feed my change to and instantly feel my face fall from caffeine-starved to absolutely crestfallen.

Coke? Diet Coke? Caffeine Free Coke? Caffeine Free Diet Coke? I was hankering for the crisp, invigorating taste of the 39 flavors christened Dr. Pepper, not the poor imitation that is Mr. Pibb. I always forget, you cannot buy anything but Coke products on the U campus. I slowly walk away, more willing to nod off during class than face the sickly sweet depths of syrupy Coke.

We’ve all watched Pepsi and Coca-Cola compete for the No. 1 spot in our blind, consuming hearts, both resorting to ridiculous measures8212;from Santa Claus and new revolting flavors to little children with too many freckles and President Barack Obama propaganda. It seems that the new Diet-Caffeine-Free-Cherry-Vanilla-Coca-Cola flavor was just too tantalizing for the U to pass up.

Luckily, there is one small branch of the U that has stayed sane. The hospital sells both, yes both, Pepsi and Coca-Cola to those who work there and the dedicated few who believe in beverage variety.

There is an incredibly Coke-captivated audience on campus who can be seen at any hour chugging Sprite after Sprite, completely ignorant of the deliciously clear taste of Sierra Mist. It appears that Coca-Cola has our peers on a tight leash, much like their catering neighbor Chartwells, a giant in the U food service industry. Those who praise these two companies grow fat on mediocre vegetarian sandwiches and Coca-Cola products, revelling in their college capitalism.

Although Chartwells itself does not have a contract with Coca-Cola, the U does. It bids on the company it wishes to supply beverages to its vending machines, much like Utah Valley University and Utah State University. The U might not realize the power it is feeding these two companies. In 2008, the University of Maryland was “held hostage” by Chartwells, unable to wiggle free from a binding contract that allowed the company to jack food prices to preposterous heights. The U is just inches away from letting both Chartwells and Coca-Cola have this kind of power over the campus’ food service.

Both companies have questionable monopoly here at the school, allowing them to raise prices without worry of competition, but because of convenience, it doesn’t look probable that this will change anytime soon. Chartwells and Coca-Cola combined create an unstoppable force that we continually buy into because we don’t have a choice.

Having both Coca-Cola and Pepsi products might break up the monopoly we see on campus. Not to mention the variety we could all enjoy. The U should stop nurturing this soda cartel and spread its liberal tendencies to the vending machines.

[email protected]