Students forgoing lunch in dining halls in favor of food at Durfee’s have found that their swipes are buying them less than they did last year.
The prices of many items at Durfee’s, Yale Dining’s convenience store on Old Campus, increased for the first time in three years due to rising wholesale prices and contractually agreed wage increases for staff, according to Tom Tucker, director of retail development and graduate dining. The value of a meal swipe will remain at $7, he said.
Price increases mostly affected “discretionary spending items,” while “meal-oriented and snack items that contribute to wellness” increased less dramatically or not at all, he added.
“Closing the gap is a financial necessity for Yale Dining’s continued ability to offer the great variety and service that has become a hallmark of Durfee’s and our other retail locations,” Tucker wrote in an email to the News.
Yale College Council President John Gonzalez ’14 told the News he had not considered addressing Durfee’s prices with Yale Dining, though he has since started a discussion with Tucker about the issue. Last year, YCC worked out an agreement with Yale Dining that allowed students to purchase pre-set $7 “combos,” including personal pizza and buffalo chicken sandwich combos, and Tucker said those combos will remain the same.
In an email Tucker sent to Gonzalez, he wrote that “to the extent possible, [Yale Dining wants] students to continue to use residential dining in the colleges as their first choice for a wholesome lunch.”
Nine students interviewed said they were disappointed that they are not able to buy as much food with their lunch swipes. Ruoxi Yu ’15, who said she frequents Durfee’s at lunch time, said she was “angry” about the changes.
“These prices are more expensive … than any reasonable justification,” she said. “The $7 swipe is measly now for me, and I’m sure for other students too.”
Minh Nguyen ’15 said the new prices have made it especially difficult to stay under the $7 limit. For example, he said he can no longer add a bottle of tea with his usual lunch without surpassing $7.
Multiple students pointed out that the price increase for a bottle of Naked juice, from $3.50 to $4.25, means that they can no longer purchase two bottles with one swipe, and some noted that the prices for many items are higher than those at Walgreens and at other retailers. Eliot Shimer ’13 said with the rise in prices, students must consider the tradeoff between paying higher prices at Durfee’s’ convenient location and walking farther for cheaper prices.
A package of Oreos, for instance, costs $6 at Durfee’s versus $5.29 at Gourmet Heaven on Broadway and $4.99 at Walgreens. A bottle of Snapple costs $2.10 at Durfee’s versus $1.60 and $1.29, respectively.
Several students pointed out that a lunch swipe used at the Kline Biology Tower Café is worth $8, a dollar more than at Durfee’s.
“I stayed in New Haven over spring break and I always swiped at KBT because I knew I’d get more value — and better food — than I could at Durfee’s,” Nguyen said.
Durfee’s remains open seven days a week until 2:30 a.m. Lunch swipes can be used only from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 pm.
Sara Hamilton contributed reporting.