Plus Plan trouble ahead?

Plus Plan. At Oswego State, those two words remain sacred in the heart of almost every student on campus. Plus Plan essentially equals free food, and though we pay for it, it is the type of food that comes as a surprise when you first arrive on campus. Life before Plus Plan is fine, but when you first discover it, a new world opens up. You can get smoothies from Freshens, freshly baked muffins from the several cafes on campus, Domino’s pizza and sandwiches from Sub Shop.

Last year when I was a freshman, we had $50 of Plus Plan a semester and that was a feeling of enlightenment. With Plus Plan, I no longer felt guilty for spending money on things I would have if I was back at home, such as paying nearly $5 for a bunch of fruit blended with juice and given a fancy name. It also diminished the stereotype that students go hungry while away at college, and with the recent increase to $70 a semester, the chance of Oswego students going hungry lessens even more.

But some way down the Plus Plan road, some things tend to become unclear, such as what Plus Plan is limited to, which is food. Students begin trying to buy books and apparel at the bookstore with their Plus Plan. This has unintentionally turned Plus Plan into the EBT card of Oswego State, the WIC of west campus. Everywhere you go in the beginning of a semester, you will probably hear the words "Do you take Plus Plan?"

The recent Oswegonian article about Plus Plan and local Oswego city business’ desire to be on it struck me when it mentioned the mass of students that asked Wonton House, the town’s most recent Chinese restaurant, on a daily basis why they do not accept Plus Plan.

This reminded me of my times as a young child at the McDonalds drive-thru. As my father pulled up to the window to pay, he would always say "Do you take food stamps?"

Now of course he was joking, but what happens when people are serious. How does it feel to go somewhere ready to buy something, waiting on the long line for over 15 minutes, then to immediately leave the store with your head bowed in disappointment and embarrassment? As soon as you arrive at the register and all of your items are scanned, you hear: "No, we don’t take Plus Plan, that’s only for food," which is usually followed by a smirk and a suggestion to go to Crossroads.

Now this is an extreme situation, but it is one that I have witnessed in the College Bookstore. Next thing you know, students will be in Price Chopper or Wal-Mart asking if they take Plus Plan.

In all the turmoil the beginning of the semester entails when trying to figure out what Plus Plan is, it surprised me at how easy it is to steal someone’s identity. All you have to do is memorize someone’s ID number and you’re in. One sob story about leaving your ID in your class or your room in Oneida, and you’ve got the Glorious Morning Sunshine muffin free of charge. The "Five Finger Discount," be gone. Say hello to the "Nine Digit Discount."

This has become an ongoing problem to the point where a friend of mine threatened to steal my Plus Plan after asking to merely see my ID picture. Though she was joking, what is Auxiliary Services going to when we have a serial Plus Plan identity thief running around campus?