Campus Notebook: Boycott, Via Facebook

Posted October 20, 2008 at 6:22pm

Outraged at the thought of a $4 grilled cheese or a $5 BLT, some staffers are using Facebook to protest the upcoming price increases in the House cafeterias.

[IMGCAP(1)]At least two Facebook groups have popped up since Chief Administrative Officer Dan Beard announced last week that food prices would be going up an average of 10 percent (with some items costing as much as 40 percent more). Restaurant Associates, the private company that runs the House cafeterias, will enact the price hike Friday.

“Such an increase in prices is upsetting, if not disturbing,” reads one Facebook group called Boycott the House Cafeteria. “This has prompted some to consider buying a George Foreman Grill, simply so they have a cost-effective means of consuming grilled cheese sandwiches.”

Boycott the House Cafeteria boasted 92 members as of press time Monday, while Hill Staffers United Against Restaurant Associates had 149.

CAO spokesman Jeff Ventura downplayed the boycott.

“I’m going to start a Facebook group, too, titled: ‘People Who Haven’t Been to a Grocery Store in the Last Year,’” he said. “Or maybe, ‘People Who Haven’t Heard of the Consumer Price Index.’ I mean, really.”

Meanwhile, several staffers have taken the protest one step further — by setting up a Web site, www.stopthepricehike.com, which asks visitors to sign a petition.

The petition is a letter to Beard questioning Restaurant Associates’ explanation that higher food and gasoline prices nationwide have forced the increase. Beard, the letter says, should “work with Restaurant Associates to reverse its decision” or risk staffers going to establishments that “treat us with greater respect.”

Old-Timey Twine. House officials are turning the clock back a few decades to be environmentally friendly by bundling internal mail with cotton twine, rather than polypropylene ties.

With the purchase of a new tying machine, Chief Administrative Officer Dan Beard hopes to save 6,000 pounds of material that would go to a landfill, spokesman Jeff Ventura said.

The change comes just weeks after the House switched the cafeterias’ plastic water bottles for biodegradable corn-based ones.

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