If there was one thing that made the UC Davis communal-living and saliva-exchanging culture induced cold season bearable, it was the warmth and relief of a $1 cup of ASUCD Coffee House (CoHo) hot tea.
Of course, for all the specificity that grammar can bring, this is in past tense, a relic of better days on the UC Davis campus. The price of tea on campus rose to $1.25 for a small, $1.50 for a medium and $1.75 for a large. This is a problem.
A hot tea consists of five things: A tea bag, a cup, a cup top, hot-sleeve and hot water. All of these elements are provided for the small, medium and large size. While the larger size require more material per cup, and a larger serving of hot water, there is no increase in tea for an increase in size.
Why, then, is there such a dramatic price increase for a larger size?
When asked in passing, a CoHo employee said they thought it was to stay competitive with other coffee shops. This was confirmed by Food Service Manager Darin Schluep, who added that the CoHo was eating a lot of the extra costs of the larger sizes. This extra cost includes the larger cup, as well as additional sugar and milk.
But it is hard to believe that the increments truly reflect the cost difference between servings.
Consider the real cost for students who expect to pay $1.
For the average undergrad, the extra $.25 for a small means an extra couple of seconds shuffling through one’s wallet for change, often at a time when those seconds are needed to run to class. The extra $.50 for a medium means saying no to that CoHo apple and sitting through lecture full of anticipation for lunch. And the extra $.75 for a large means leaving Swirlz entirely and buying a bagel with cream cheese –– the same price with a lot more nutrition.
As Schluep said, the prices are the lowest in town, and to their credit, tea is $.75 if you bring your own mug. And of course we want our campus coffee shop to survive financially…
But it is upsetting to see even an inkling of students being treated like faceless consumers. The CoHo shouldn’t act as a local competitor. The CoHo should act as a group of students helping out other students by filling their bellies at the lowest price possible.
Even if this means they’re settling for a lower profit.