Gianna Hayes, News Editor
Since its renovation, MacLeod’s Convenience Store and Mayer Bookstore have been host to swarms of students eager to show their Wooster pride with stylish swag or picking up snacks for a fun night with friends. However, there has been a recent increase in theft from these popular locales. What seems to be spurring this exactly is unknown–as Marjorie Shamp, Director of Campus Dining, shared, it’s “a question better answered by the students involved”–but one can speculate. One potential source ties into students’ desperation with meal plans and budgeting.
As previously covered in The Voice, student meal plans are under review to accommodate for changes in student eating habits. Jim Prince, the College’s Vice President for Finance and Business, revealed that “a committee made up of students, dining staff, student development staff, and business office staff has been formed to evaluate possible changes in meal plans for next academic year.” In addition to this, the College has also turned to a consulting group, City of Hospitality, to help manage any adjustments to the meal plans. This group serves to “bring clients and service providers together to develop a robust partnership that improves outcomes for all,” according to their professional website. Reaching out to the Wooster community, the committee sent out a survey to gauge student’s opinions on the current meal plans available and ideas for new meal plans. The committee is scheduled to have their first meeting for March 1, where they plan to focus on “establishing the project scope, goal setting, data review, and alignment of objectives,” said Prince. The next day, March 2, they will meet to “consider 2-3 new meal options aligned with goals and priorities.” A change in meal plans could mitigate the pressure some students may feel to steal from MacLeod’s.
On November 30th 2022, Marjorie Shamp, Director of Campus Dining, spoke to students about dining concerns, including flex and MacLeod’s. While the College has improved their late-night dining options, Shamp said that there was an increase in student’s flex at the meal plans due to point of sales issues at “Mom’s.” “Now students are using all their flex dollars up trying to eat after eight o’clock,” said Shamp. “[At MacLeod’s], our prices went up because of inflation and honestly everybody says, ‘Oh my god, you’re making all this money at [MacLeod’s], but we’re really not.’ We don’t have buying power for our items like Walmart does or big chains or even discount Drug Mart, because we’re buying things by case; they’re buying things by pallet. We don’t get price breaks. That’s why prices appear higher on campus.”
Some students also feel that MacLeod’s prices are unfair, or as Leo Daoud ’26 puts it, “[campus dining] take[s] advantage of the convenience.” From raising prices to hiding price tags, students shared complaints they had with the MacLeod’s. Lain Patton ’26 took issue with management’s lack of transparency, saying “I wish there could be an open dialogue, if they’re going to raise prices, let us know. Some of us actually budget ourselves, and if we don’t know that the price is increasing, budgeting becomes a lot harder.” Other issues rise to the surface when price tags are misleading or not visible; as Gabe Guthrie ’26 added, “I bought an item that I bought last semester that was $5, and it was $14 [this semester], and I had zero clue, because it was in a spot where there isn’t pricing underneath it, there’s just bar codes, so I didn’t know that it increased by [$9], and I wouldn’t have bought it if I knew it was [$9] more.” Indeed, many students seem to have issues with the prices rising while the amount of flex on meal plans remains stagnant. This is a problem the committee for meal plans hopes to address.
In hopes to assuage theft from MacLeod’s and the bookstore, campus dining will be installing security mirrors in addition to security cameras. This has apparently been an issue in the past as well, so perhaps the source of theft is not found in the meal plans.