Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Satire: Frenzy at the retail dining locations

Free meal swipes leave Harvest Market ransacked and Blue Wall in ruins
Collegian File Photo

Editor’s Note: The following column is satirical. It is meant for humorous purposes. All interviews and individuals are fictitious.

The financial gods of the University of Massachusetts have bestowed great riches upon our people, and we have squandered our fortunes on Clif Bars and pints of Ben and Jerry’s. The cries of the damned bellow through the Campus Center as stock flies off the shelves and queues become material for ridiculous math questions.

For those who are unacquainted with the phenomenon, I apologize, for it is far too late. These mysterious gifts have left us as swiftly and silently as they came.

For a brief period at the beginning of this semester, every student at UMass with an Unlimited Meal Plan and half a brain was bequeathed with over three hundred dollars’ worth of Meal Exchanges, to be utilized at any retail dining location around campus as they please. These swipes went by many names: “Meal Swipe”, Meal Exchange”, “YCMP”, “YMCP”, “YMCA”, or just about any other combination of letters beginning with Y.

For the first week or so after the incident, most was quiet as the winds of change started to blow through UMass. Upwards of millions of virtual dollars jingled in the pockets of every residential student. Maybe a mass email or a town yeller in every residential area would have been nice, to alert the masses regarding their Subbastimmy.

In the past week, however, as momentum picked up and more students became aware of their newly found Non-Fungible Food Tokens (NFFTs), UMass truly lived up to the ZooMass name. I would call it a lack of foresight on the University’s part: staggered swipes between different communities or groups could have eased the impact of the swathes of students swarming retail dining locations. When in doubt, UMass Dining should recall this handy acronym, “YMCP: You Could’ve Made it Pleasant.”

Feeding time at Blue Wall has become so frenzied that customers in the Tamales queue have been able to do COVID-19 testing, buy a sweatshirt from the UMass Store, and get serenaded by that long-haired dude playing a pop cover on the Blue Wall piano – all while waiting in line for that sacred burrito bowl.

Across from Blue Wall, amidst the underbrush of students walking around with artisanal coffees, is a decrepit Harvest Market. Abandon hope all ye who enter here. Those who dwell in this empty domain after high noon are doomed to a fate of picked-over shelves. Students with good standing, however, could potentially be blessed with a paper bag full of canned tuna.

If luck be with ye, you may be able to spar with and wrest a bottle of delicious low-fat milk from a poor soul who will leave the Market disappointed and suffering from calcium deficiency. Even after emerging triumphant, I recommend that you watch your hindquarters. Those who leave Harvest Market empty handed, will have empty hands with a purpose.

One evening last week, I approached the sole cashier left at closing, junior Tai Urd-Lopez, who stood at their station and wept, their voice quivering:” I thought I could handle this, I really did.” I put my hand on their shoulder, like the empath I am. “I know, Tai, I know.”

They continued, “There was this one guy who brought his laundry bin and filled it to the brim with Clif Bars… it was mortifying! And smelled pretty sour!”

Dubious odors and what feels like an eternal Black Friday aside, I believe this rain of wealth has showered UMass students with plentiful gifts and is a welcome harbinger for future generosity from the institution. (This is a demand, not a statement.)

Indeed, the terror of the stampede wrought upon UMass by the vestiges of prosperity have left retail dining options utterly decimated for the time being. But for a brief moment, as if the veil of poverty had been lifted from our broke college student eyes, there was such a thing as a free lunch.

Shane Keiser can be reached at [email protected].

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