Durfee’s: your best friend when you can’t make it to lunch or simply don’t like the dining hall menus. We’ve all feasted on a swipe combo of either samosas or chicken tendies at some point or another, so it’s hard to not have some respect for the Yale meal savior. I, for one, can enjoy certain aspects of Durfee’s such as its Naked Juices or even the fact that my lunch swipe allows me to stock up on snacks for later in the night. Now let’s take a step back for a moment and reevaluate what we were just praising.

Durfee’s: the plug for $3 Altoids, a $2 bottled water with a Yale logo and other cheap food that is ridiculously high-priced. All of sudden, Durfee’s isn’t as much a savior as it is a building of monopolistic prices. It is frankly absurd how I can go to Stop & Shop and find a six-pack of ramen (Cup Noodles) for the price of one of these items at Durfee’s. Yet, we are in some form forced to go to Durfee’s if we don’t go to lunch at a dining hall in fear that our precious $9 swipe will be wasted. Not to mention, for simple convenience reasons, Durfee’s will always attract students, unlike other stores around campus.

But even if we attempt to not waste our swipe, it is almost inevitable. Durfee’s prices are set up in such a way that not only are they criminally high, but also getting a perfect $9 is almost impossible. It is common to see roughly 40 cents wasted on a swipe, as there is nothing to fill in the remaining balance. These wasted cents may seem trivial, but think about how many times you haven’t used up your $9 completely. It adds up, and in the end you might end up throwing a couple bucks away. For a student like me, those couple of dollars matter.

“Just use the $9 combos!” Well, I would if I didn’t get tired of the same food every time and if the food was worth it. The fact that even a combo designed to lower prices still makes us pay roughly $2 for a not-so-great water bottle is absolutely crazy. Add to this the not-so-great-tasting chips that accompany it, themselves about $2 and only half full, and we see the facts speak for themselves.

This hasn’t even covered the fact that the $9 swipe in itself is a scam. When you go to the dining hall and swipe in, you will usually see that your meal totals up to around $15. A Durfee’s swipe, being a substitute for lunch, is only $9. Before any of y’all start pouncing on my tendies, I do acknowledge the swipe has just been raised to $9 from last year’s $8. However, we aren’t still getting anywhere near the $15 of a dining hall cost. And let’s be real here, a $1 increase in Durfee’s doesn’t get you much because not a lot of things are a dollar or less at this monopoly.

I am only a first-year here, and I know I might sound like a brat at this point (I literally ranted about a gate a couple of issues ago- — who does that?). After all, things could be worse for those who can’t make it to lunch due to classes, as they could literally starve until dinner. However, I’m not the only one who hates Durfee’s monopolistic practices. This is what many people also believe and have believed for a while now. It is easy for us to dismiss the exorbitantly high prices of Durfee’s due to our daily exposure to them. But ask yourself this: If Durfee’s was just another small store in New Haven, would you voluntarily spend your money there?

Carlos Rodriguez Cortez carlos.rodriguezcortez@yale.edu