The OCC of BC Dining

BC Dining has peeved me for a while. First of all, there’s their ridiculous carry-over policy in which the meal plan only carries over from one semester to the next, not year to year. I understand it helps BC’s cash conversion cycle to have the money up front and to not have to worry about it, but it just feels like a rip-off when you don’t give people a say over how much they want to eat.

This summer though I have an even bigger problem with BC Dining. I have around $400 in Residential Dining Bucks that I have accumulated over the last two years. This is the money you use in the Chocolate Bar, vending machines, and football games. It carries over year to year and you get it all back when you graduate, but for some reason BC Dining won’t let me use it during the summer. Instead, I have had to load an extra $300 onto my Eagle Bucks to buy food (hopefully I can get by these next two weeks without adding more on).

Meanwhile, my $400 sits in BC Dining’s account somewhere and it will remain there until September next year since I’ll be abroad all year. Even if I do get it back when I graduate, that money will have depreciated from inflation. There’s more though. Because I won’t need my money until September 2010, I could have invested it in the stock market (can buy 100 shares of Citigroup), treasuries, or at the very least a savings account. However, since I earn no interest by keeping my money with BC Dining, I can’t even cover my opportunity cost of capital. I agree that it’s a fairly small amount and my returns from the market would not have been significant, but the principle still bothers me. Essentially I am losing money thanks to BC Dining.

In a separate financial matter, I want to thank Reslife for clearing out virtually my entire checking account. They finally decided to charge me for my summer housing fees (all at once). And I am going to be living in one of the most expensive cities in the world [London] next semester. Great!

And speaking of London, LSE’s tuition is about 1/2 of BC’s, yet BC makes you pay full BC tuition. Their reasoning? Faculty, administrators, and whatever else your tuition dollars go toward are fixed costs and they need to be covered regardless. I’m sorry but I have a hard time believing that. You’re telling me there’s absolutely no variable portion to BC tuition? Each student’s tuition has a 100% contribution margin? As a non-profit institution, there should be at least a few dollars in variable costs that you can shave off for abroad students.

I love BC, but sometimes you have to wonder about their financial policies.

I’m an idiot: how not to deal with a credit card problem

Quick, embarassing side storing about my time in France: Last night while I was booking my train tickets to Normandy, I thought my credit card may have gotten frozen. I tried calling CapitalOne but I couldn’t figure out how to make an international collect call.  So desperate to figure out whether my credit card worked or not, I decided to buy something online as a test and then cancel it if it worked.  So I went on NBA.com and ordered an Orlando Magic Eastern Conference Champion T-shirt.  Good news: it went through.  Bad news: NBA.com does not take cancellations or returns.  I love the Magic and I was going to get something to commemorate this post season run, but I was kind of holding out for them to beat LA so I could get the NBA Champions T-shirt.  Now it looks like I’m stuck with an Eastern Conference Champs shirt.  Oh well. Let’s go Magic!

By the way, I later did get ahold of CapitalOne and they said I was never frozen out.  If anything it was probably an issue with the Internet provider or web site.  Lesson: Don’t buy thing to test out your credit card and don’t buy things you can’t cancel/return!