Brother can you spare a dime?

By Dave McLean

As we filled her vast orifices with any chunky metal we could find, it dawned on me that change was occurring. She struggled to take the last drop and finally collapsed under the pressure. The change wasn’t just here and now, but on a metaphysical level. We were trying to beat the system and it finally seemed like she was full. Wait a second, maybe I’d better start again, this time further back.

If you’re anything like me, you notice subtle changes in your surroundings. If the things around you never changed, you’d have nothing to worry about. But, alas, they always do and day by day you get through it, noting changes and continuing on.

Over the course of a year, the subtle changes blend together in an ongoing metamorphosis of time and space. Soon the little things will seem barely noticeable. As we become more comfortable with change we also become complacent. Sometimes we let a few significant changes slip-by and soon we descend the oft-referenced "slippery slope." There is no turning back.

Don’t get me wrong loyal readers, I’m not messed in the head, honestly. I’m just trying to point out that so often we notice new things, yet hardly blink to contemplate their meaning. Have I lost you? Consider this: last year Telus decided that charging 25 cents for a payphone call wasn’t nearly enough to off-set the maintenance of their precious, card reading phones. So, they decided to jack the price up to 35 cents, forcing people to drop 50 cents or more when they didn’t have the right change. Old news, right? Wrong.

Have you tried to buy a chocolate bar on campus lately? $1.25! For a 10-minute walk you could buy two for that price. Don’t even get me started on the Pepsi exclusivity contract. The only one benefiting from that deal is PepsiCo, who robs us blind of $1.50 on a regular basis because only their machines are on campus.

Okay, okay, I’ll admit it’s all small change, but the small change adds up. Just ask the University’s Ancillary Services department, which stands to generate millions in revenue from its various departments. One such department is Parking Services; gouging you until 8:30 p.m., even on Sunday nights, and doling out tickets like there was no tomorrow, as they drive around in their shiny RAV-4s. God only knows they had to replace the ’92 Cavaliers that were wearing out with all the kilometers they were putting on them, circling the parking lots like vultures waiting for a feast.

Other siblings to Parking Services include: Campus Ticket Center, which closes exactly at 4 p.m. (the attendant generally refuses to help the next in line); Residence Services & Food Services, and for the sake of brevity we won’t even get into that meal plan; or even the Library which now charges $1 per day for each overdue book (let’s see 20 books, seven days late, bam $140).

All bitching aside, it’s time to do something. Isn’t it time for a change to save your change? Students of the U of C, you can make a difference, all apathy arguments aside, of course. You, too, can protest the extortionate fees. Help do your part: buy pop off-campus, refuse to use the vending machines (the Cove has better prices anyway) and park off-campus Oh yeah, and one more thing, if you do have to use your change in a payphone pay only in nickels. Not only does it fill up the hole faster, it’s the heaviest coin that’s worth the least. After all, that’s what I was describing at the beginning. You knew that didn’t you?

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