CoHo Aggie Cash conspiracy proves untrue: food service director puts students’ theories to rest

CoHo Aggie Cash conspiracy proves untrue: food service director puts students’ theories to rest

Photo Credits: JUSTIN HAN / AGGIE / A hand-written sign on a cash register at Swirlz at Coffee House indicates that Aggie Cash and Apple Pay are not accepted. October 15, 2019.

Director apologizes to those inconvenienced by the temporary technical error

A month before the end of Spring Quarter 2019, the Aggie Cash system at the CoHo crashed, making the establishment unable to accept Aggie Cash as a form of payment. 

Customers were irritated, yet hopeful, that the Aggie Cash system would be back up and running within the next few days. To their dismay, the Aggie Cash system was not fixed before the end of the school year. Some customers suspected that UC Davis might be trying to rob them of the opportunity of spend their Aggie Cash at the CoHo.

Located in the MU, the CoHo is a collection of various food venues, including Swirlz Bakery, Croutons, TxMx Grill, Ciao Pizza and more. The marketplace serves hundreds of students each day, and is one of many on-campus spots where students can use Aggie Cash. 

The variety of food options at the CoHo makes it a favorable option for students to buy food. Additionally, the fact that all restaurants accept Aggie Cash is also an attractive aspect. Customers who spend their Aggie Cash feel as if they aren’t spending “real money,” seeing that Aggie Cash functions like a gift card. Because it can’t be cashed out and does not roll over to the next academic year, students find it important to spend it all within a year to get their money’s worth (only Aggie Cash that comes with a meal plan does not roll over to the next academic year — Aggie Cash purchased separately does roll over).

Customers found the crash in the Aggie Cash system at the CoHo suspicious. Conspiracy theories circulated UC Davis forum sites including Reddit and Wildfire. People on threads wondered if this mishap was an attempt by UC Davis to steal money from students.

One Reddit thread reads, “How long are they taking to fix the damn issue with Aggie Cash. I want to spend my money at the CoHo.” To which a user responded, “This may sound like a conspiracy theory, but I honestly think it’s broken because it’s the end of the year and people are eager to spend their remaining [A]ggie [C]ash so…” Another user responded, saying “F****** that’s definitely true.”

Darin Schluep, food service director of the CoHo, responded to conspiracy allegations in an email.

“[T]he CoHo’s inability to access Aggie Cash (and accept it as a form of payment) was due to a technical error with our point-of-sale system, which is required to communicate with our Aggie Cash servers in order to accept that form of payment,” Schluep said. “An upgrade for the point-of-sale server caused the connection to fail. We worked with our point-of-sale company to address the situation as best we could, and they were able to get the system back up prior to the start of this academic year.”

Customers with Aggie Cash were not refunded any amount nor was their Aggie Cash rolled over to this academic year.

While customers may have suffered due to this failure, the CoHo also suffered a financial loss.

“Financially, the loss of Aggie Cash had a negative impact on the CoffeeHouse operations,” Shluep said. “Aggie Cash accounts for [approximately] 12% of our sales, so not having it available as a form of payment was extremely unfortunate.”

On behalf of the CoHo, Schluep issued an apology via email to all affected customers who were disheartened by the crash. 

“[W]e were very sorry for any inconvenience this caused our customers,” Shluep said. “[I] appreciate the fact that we have a loyal customer base who was disappointed they couldn’t use their Aggie Cash here with us.”

The Aggie Cash system is now fully functional, with the exception of two of the three registers located at Swirlz Bakery. Those registers, however, are expected to be fixed to take Aggie Cash soon.

Written by: Linh Nguyen — features@theaggie.org