Students of Georgetown, Inc. is the single worst organization at Georgetown University. It epitomizes the fact that college is not the real world, as so many postgraduates warn us. It operates in a fantasy land where bad business practices can still yield a profit, where employees face virtually no risk of being fired short of stealing from the company, where employers provide rivers of free alcohol, and where customers continue to patronize businesses that provide terrible service and sell goods at inflated prices.
My accusations may be strong, but I’m confident that most students, like me, have had awful experiences with the main business operations of the Corp, Vital Vittles, Hoya Snaxa, Uncommon Grounds, MUG, and Midnight MUG.
The Corp enjoys almost a total monopoly on on-campus food and beverage choices. Yes, there’s a Starbucks and Così in the Leavey Center, Saxby’s isn’t too far off campus, and there’s a GUTS Bus that runs to the Wisconsin Safeway. Even so there usually are lines at each of the Corp’s terrible establishments—and only so much of that can be due to painfully slow service. When it comes to the day-to-day activities of the average student, it just so happens that the Corp’s services are more accessible. This can only be attributed to their location, not to any efforts by the Corp to actually make their services desirable.
Students frequent the Corp locations because they have little to no direct competition—which means that there is, first and foremost, no price competition. Two dollars for a one-liter bottle of Coke? I’ve never paid more than $1.20 at a chain grocery store. A large blended coffee drink costs $5.00? McDonald’s has a comparable product for just over two bucks.
The second tragedy of the Corp’s monopoly is the complete absence of quality control. Its employees sit or stand behind a counter for three hours at a time. If the cashier at Starbucks coming off an eight-hour turnaround shift can go through a line of six people in less than ten minutes, so can Corpies. But they are more interested in chatting with their fellow barista about the weekend, changing the music on the iPod to something more pretentious and indie, or discussing a homework assignment with a classmate whose transaction they have already completed. Their relaxed attitude also leads to excessively long and slow-moving lines.
The service itself is also abysmal. Cashiers can’t seem to figure out how to be efficient. Slide my card before you start to bag my items. Why in the world can’t you find the barcode on my candy bar? How hard is it to remember that I ordered a large instead of a medium? How hard is it remember my order at all? Apparently, it’s quite difficult, because it has happened to me numerous times at all three Corp coffee shops.
And please, Corp, don’t think giving me a card for a free drink makes things any better. That’s just asking me to come back and endure another excruciating fifteen minutes at the worst business in the history of mankind, where I am guaranteed to have just as terrible an experience as I did when I got the card in the first place.
Starbucks does not run out of large cups. Saxby’s espresso machine doesn’t break down. Caribou always has ice. Everyone always has ice. Except for the Corp. Safeway doesn’t run out of its most popular items the day it stocks them. If you know you always run out of garlic salt bagels, do you know what you should do? Order more next time.
I’m inclined to believe that the Corp’s main problem is that while it appears to be a business, it is actually a fraternity that is merely operating under the guise of being a legitimate corporation. It asks its employees to work meager three hour shifts a few times a week, and in exchange provides them with a large network of friends, keg Wednesdays, extravagantly themed parties, and a smug sense of self-satisfaction that is wholly undeserved.
For all of the incorrectly made drinks, the hours wasted waiting in line at Midnight MUG, and the scarcity of garlic salt bagels, I say a big, fat “screw you” to the Students of Georgetown, Inc.
Clarification: This article failed to disclose the fact that Julie Patterson has previously applied for positions with the Corp. The Voice regrets the error.