October 8th 2004 The Single-Serving Cereal Container Black Market

Around 12:45, I headed up to the cafeteria alone to have lunch. While eating alone is occasionally a bit too solitary for my tastes, most people have eaten by 12:45, which is when I like to go because by then, the cafeteria is mostly empty. Besides, eating alone can provide a reflective experience, a time to examine rampant thoughts and ideas that rage loosely in one’s mind. Today was an especially good environment for quiet introspection—and reflect I did.

Primarily I reflected on the fact that it seems I eat the same thing everyday—nothing for breakfast; a bowl of pasta, slice of pizza, piece of pie, and glass of kiwi strawberry juice for lunch; and a grilled chicken sandwich with bacon and a cup of cherry Coke for supper. Now, there are numerous reasons for this dining choice. I’m usually not hungry for breakfast, or I don’t have time to eat; I really like pasta; and the grilled chicken is delicious. Of course, as you can imagine, I get tired of eating this all the time.

Sure, I’ve had other things in the cafeteria or at The Bison—I guess I don’t eat the same thing everyday, just often enough that it seems that way. Of course, there isn’t a whole lot of choice in the cafeteria. Don’t get me wrong—the food tastes okay, and there’s a fairly good variety of food. The problem lies in the fact that it’s the same variety most of the time. Sometimes there’s something new thrown in, but for the most part, the menu stays the same. It’s kind of boring.

Many of you who might still be in high school are probably saying, “But Mike, we have a regular menu at our school, too!” Well, that’s certainly true—I remember my high school days eating pizza every time I bought lunch. But things are different now. You pay $1.75 for your lunch. I pay $1200 a semester for my food. I expect a decent menu.

Of course, my meal plan sucks. A lot of that $1200 goes to waste because I don’t eat breakfast. Sometimes I eat lunch or dinner in my room, too. I have a lot of wasted meal credits. It’s occurred to me that I should start going to The Bison and just buying storable food with meal credits I don’t plan on using. I think single-serving containers of cereal are 86¢ at The Bison. With one meal credit, I could get four of those. Four per day equals twenty-eight per week; within a fortnight, I’d have enough single-serving cereal containers to build a fort. Furthermore, if I got tired of my Fort Frosted Flakes, I could start selling those single-serving cereal containers to other hungry students in the hall. I could just wait until other students got the munchies and then sell them containers of Rice Krispies. If I sold them for $1 each, that would be 14¢ profit; if I managed to unload all my cereal containers, I could make $3.92 a week in profits. That’s 8¢ shy of the money I need to do my laundry. If I got paid entirely in quarters (unmarked quarters, of course), then between selling cereal and doing laundry, I could break even.

Yes…this is a sound plan. With luck, soon I will be king of my own empire of hungry Bucknell students.