Damn, that pizza is expensive

Students may have, at some point, witnessed a scene similar to this while waiting for food in the cafeteria. A student grabs a slice of pizza and joins his friend in line. He begins eating and finishes before his friend gets their food. Heading over to the cashier, you notice that the student walks past without paying for the pizza.

Dan Traviss, Head of Aramark food at Capilano University, cites students eating food inside the service area as the biggest theft problem they have to deal with in the Birch cafeteria. However, according to Traviss, the estimated impact that shoplifting is having is slight, although it does occur. He declined to produce exact numbers for loss attributed to theft, but stated that “I'm sure that on a monthly basis it accounts for what amounts to a small percentage of loss, and if it can be minimized it keeps the cost of everything down.”

Traviss notes that sometimes simply being asked if a food item was paid for is enough to deter students from shoplifting. He also mentions that the staff is trained to have the best customer service skills possible while being responsible for policing the cafeteria.

However, some students cite the absence of an alert staff as the reason theft occurs from the Aramark cafeteria regularly. 

Walter Bravo, third year business student, theorized that “the cashiers don't really care, and they are busy with the paying customers. Someone could easily just walk out the side with out going to any register at all and not be noticed.”

Aside from staff policing and a few cameras, Traviss explained that closing the second entranceway to the serving area cut down on theft. Simply having to walk by the registers has been deterring some students.

Sous chef Roland Saul also relayed a story about a run in he had with a student who took hot sauce and ranch dressing and put it on food he brought from home. The student argued that he was paying exorbitantly high tuition costs at the school and believed he was entitled to some hot sauce.

Saul pointed out that this is a difficult situation for himself, because he sympathies with this fact, but explained to the student that the cafeteria and the school are separate entities. The student returned the next day to apologize, which Saul was happy to see.

Saul estimated that the staff probably catches an average of one or two students per week trying to steal from the cafeteria, though many of these cases are difficult to simply label as shoplifting.

Saul explained that students will often claim to have forgotten to pay, or insist that they intended to. 

Kenan Zeigler, a University Transfer student, went on record to talk about his past theft from Aramark, saying he believes it to be justifiable. 

“It's not fair to the students to offer them such a limited food choice, and if thats all I have to eat, and I don't want to pay their outrages prices, then I'll take it.” Zeigler mentioned that Aramark’s business practises are damaging to not only students, but the community as well.

He believes that as long as Aramark doesn't take responsibility for their “unethical” actions toward the community, then members of the community should not worry about the ethical implications of taking from them.

Zeigler states that the monopoly Aramark holds at the school is something he finds troublesome, and the limitations it has on food choices for student union events are particularly unfair.

Although students have been caught stealing, Aramark has yet to charge a student with shoplifting through campus security. Repeat offenders are recognized and asked not to return.

//Marco Ferreira

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