Sunday, November 16, 2008

False Advertising

Welcome to my 34th (now) Semiannual Post-on-de-blog!

I am fully aware that it's been awhile since the last installment, and much has happened to me in life that would be more relevant to blog about than what I am about to post now. In fact, this post is quite overdue. Here's the story behind it: Approximately eight months ago, mis amigos Alex and Matti from the University of Utah and I were hanging about in the halls of Chapel Glen 803 during the wee hours of the morning. We saw a flier about housing at the U (which I shall type up for your reading convenience) and had a good laugh about it. I pulled it off of the wall, said I would blog about how misleading it was, but put it away and forgot about it. Yesterday while I was going through some old papers, I found the sales-pitch flier and had a good chuckle again. Even though I don't live at the U anymore, it's still worth the blog.

The poster looks something like this:

  • At the very top, it reads "Live the life. Live on campus."

  • Directly under this is a very large picture of a female student (taking up roughly 50% of the poster face). Above her is a house with a caption beneath reading " Why live there?...", and below her is the same house surrounded by the signature University of Utah "U" with the caption "When U could live here?". There is a dashed line connecting the two that swirls and loops around in the same way that someone might illustrate the path of a flying bee.

  • Beneath the picture is the following text:

And by the way...

  • Free Internet, cable, and utilities
  • Eat from dusk until dawn in the Peterson Dining Room
  • Suite style rooms
  • No commuting and parking hassles
  • Late-night trips to the library with ease
  • 2,000 built-in friends (you can all rendezvous in the MUSS)
  • Crimson Nights, free movies, concerts, and more.

Imagine not having to wash a single dish, take a weekly trip to the grocery store, pay a single bill (other than rent), or hunt for a parking space ever again. As a student involved on campus, you can walk to and from meetings, you're closer to labs and your faculty, you can drop in to the free drop-in tutoring in the Peterson Heritage Center and never miss an activity because you're only a few steps or a shuttle ride away! That's what students living on campus are already experiencing.

I suppose that it wasn't really necessary to give you that much detail about it, especially since I am going to retype the points I would like to focus on. Oh well- what's done is done. I'll start with the bulleted section in red:

Free Internet, cable, and utilities- Explain to me how paying to be in a room where the costs of those things are included is free. You can't tell me they just threw those things in generously. I think a more appropriate statement might have been "Don't pay for internet, cable, and utilties separately!" If it's not coming from rent, then it's coming from tuition or taxes...both of which you pay. Ta Da! Next.

Eat from dusk until dawn in the Peterson Dining Room- This is humorously misleading. Why? Well, to me 'dusk to dawn' means from about 8 o'clock at night to 7 o'clock in the morning. Guess what. The HC isn't open during that time period-- ever. In fact, it's hours are a little inconvient, especially on weekends. I could be forgetting, but I believe they aren't open from 2 to 4 in the afternoon, and they close around 8 o'clock at night ("dusk"). Natalie, please help me out with the weekend hours. Also, they make it sound like you can just come in and eat whenever you want during all those hours, but that is a lie. Depending on your meal plan, you have to be careful to make sure you spread them out. This leads me to another complaint: the meal plans are really crappy-- no happy, reasonable medium to be found. They only offer plans with more meals than you could use but would still have to pay for, or not enough. Obviously, the minimum that should have been said was Dawn to Dusk.

Suite Style Rooms- Again, extremely misleading. While they do have some "suite style rooms" (which are really just bedrooms and bathrooms and a room in a hallway that connects to the main hallways of the dorms) most of the on campus housing at the University of Utah is strictly dorms. It's like living in a hotel pretty much. You have your room which connects to the bathroom, and that's it. Suite Style Rooms? While they did have lofted beds and a reasonable amount of floor space, there was nothing sweet about them. Some Suite Style Rooms would be a better description for incoming students to know.

No commuting and parking hassles- I suppose they said this because there are many people that drive up to the U from the southern end of the valley, or Tooele even, so comparatively it's not that big of a commute. But as far as commuting goes, being on campus wasn't necessarily super stellar. I had a fifteen minute break between classes that were on polar opposite ends of campus: The music building on President's Circle, and the Honors House on Fort Douglas. If I walked it, it took at about thirty minutes. Shuttle? About twenty. It's still a commute-not a walk down the street. As for parking, HA! Everyone knows that parking at the U is the worst! It's no exception for those that live on campus. Whenever I went anywhere with someone in their car from the dorms, we usually had to park far away (which, wasn't that bad, but kind of annoying when you were carrying something or if it was freezing) upon return.

Late-night trips to the libaray with ease-This kind of goes along with the commuting thing earlier. It's not really the safest idea to walk the 20 minutes down to the library late at night, especially if you're by yourself like I usually was. That means you would have to shuttle it. The shuttle doesn't run as often at night--especially late at night. Also, the normal blue and red routes absorb the green route at night, so it takes longer to reach the normal stops. Ease? Well, that depends on what you call 'ease'.

2,000 built-in friends (you can all rendezvous in the MUSS)-First of all, I love that they used rendezvous as a verb here. It reminds me of moutain men (like, Jim Bridger mountain men) for some reason. Anyways, this is also a little bit of a joke/stretch. 2,000 friends? My year at the U was one familiar with loneliness, and that wasn't because I didn't try to make friends. It's hard- mostly because of the U being a commuter school, and a lack of people on campus that you would want to hang around. It wasn't unusual for me to come home to my bathroom smelling like marijuana. My entire floor smelled like it actually. It also wasn't unusual to see people outside smoking hookah and whatnot. Not the friendliest of environments.

Imagine not having to... hunt for a parking space ever again-Shame on them for throwing this in twice. As I said before, the hunt for parking was constant and never-ending. can walk to and from meetings...because you're only a few steps or a shuttle ride away! - I guess their definition of 'a few' and my definition differ. I usually think of it as not many. I wonder how many steps one takes on the 30-40 minute walk across campus. If you could get there by taking a step a minute, even then you're up to 30. We'll be kind and say this was kind of an exaggeration.

You know, I really enjoyed this. Perhaps I should blog more often. I sort of regret that this post is mostly pessimistic and critical. I promise I'm not like that most of the time. It was just interesting to note the numerous flaws in this advertising. Now the world knows the truth. Goodnight.


Nedge said...

HA HA HA! Love it, love it.

Yes, on the weekends, breakfast isn't served til 10 AM, and is closed from 2-4, then closes again around 7 or 8. The food was/is never/not that great.

Last year we didn't live in suites. Those were called dorms. This year I live in a suite. "Smallest unit in the entire state." Suite. What happens is instead of two larger rooms connected by a bathroom, there's four teeny rooms connected in a row with two bathrooms across the hall. My bathroom is huge, bigger than my room, because it was built for someone handicapped.

I love that poster, by the way. Every time I see it, I'm forced to not laugh, but guffaw. (There's a big difference)

The reason why you enjoyed writing this blog is because it is fun to write critically!

I'll discuss this some more later, but I have to go get ready for school right now.

Melissa said...

Congratulations on a very nicely composed analytical essay. Amazing how much nicer these are to write when they're not assigned, eh?

I'm about to admit to something embarrassing: I only rode the shuttle when I was with my sister. I wasn't entirely sure how it worked.

Santa said...

This made my day. Nice job, scoot.

Joslynn said...

Haha! This made me laugh out loud. Everything that you said (and I know from experience) is true.
Parking was always a huge problem, commuting to classes had a time allotted unto itself and I'd never seen a hookah or a drunk man without clothing until I visited the U. All things I'm not likely to forget anytime soon.
My personal favorite:
"Eat from dusk until dawn..." haha!

Lindsey Brimley said...

Its about time you start blogging :D I really enjoyed your vent! Love you girl!!

Lin-Dah-Say said...

i LOVED this blog. it made me laugh so hard, and not feel so bad about "missing out" on the "college experience"...what ever that is...

J. said...

You are my friend.