Stolen food in The Commons demands watchful eyes

By The Beacon | October 6, 2010 9:00pm

Bon Appétit has resorted to checking receipts after noticing students stealing food in The Commons

The Commons has started to check receipts because Bon Appétit employees have caught some students stealing food. Students caught stealing will be reported to Natalie Shank. (Scott Chia -- The Beacon)

By Jocelyne LaFortune, Staff Writer --

A slice of pizza in the Commons costs $3.75. A burrito will run you $5.00, and a salad is $4.50.

But for some students, everything is free – but not legally.

Bon Appétit employees have noticed students leaving The Commons without paying for their food. This has become an issue this year with the new system because students must pay for each plate of food they choose.

"We've caught several students stealing," Bon Appétit general manager Kirk Mustain said. "We've started randomly checking receipts, and we encourage students to keep their receipts with them after paying."

While receipt checking will be random, The Commons employees will be watching students every day in order to ensure that they pay for their food.

"I had my receipt checked last week," junior Alexa Brewer said. "It was a little inconvenient, but I understand why they need to do it."

Some students think the layout of The Commons makes it tempting and easy for students to take food without paying. Because they don't have to walk past the cashiers to sit down or to leave, students can just sit down and eat their food. With multiple food stations in close proximity to doors, students can simply walk out without paying.

"With the cashiers at the back, it would be easy for students to walk away with food they hadn't paid for," Brewer said.

The open floor plan makes it easy to skip the cashier line, but students should be aware that Bon Appétit employees will be looking for students trying to take food.

"It's an honor system," Mustain said. "But, if we see you sneaking past the cashiers we're going to stop you."

Students who are caught stealing food will be reported to Natalie Shank, the assistant director of Residence Life, according to Mustain. She will decide the repercussions, which Mustain says are likely to be written apologies or community service.

"The fact that the university has The Commons set up like this displays a huge amount of trust in the students," junior Melanie Betz said. "They're treating us like the adults that we are and we should live up to that trust."

Sophomore Alex Dickinson thinks that the prices of food also tempt students into stealing food.

"The prices of a lot of the foods are ridiculous," Dickinson said. "Either students are going to steal from The Commons, or The Commons is going to steal from students."

Stealing is a direct violation of at least two University policies listed in the University's Code of Conduct.