No, we aren’t talking about swiping V-cards or food from Joe’s, we’re talking about the plastic that has your what-you-thought-was-a-really-cute-senior-picture-but-actually-makes-you-look-like-you’re-ten square of incrimination on the bottom right-hand corner that’s relatively impossible to eat and study without. What a few years ago would have been acceptable for getting into Fishco and the Liquid Lounge, (mind you a pokemon card would have been adequate) is now, but has also probably always been, the bane of our existence.
For whatever reason, when the University switched from real keys to electronic security systems, which honestly, knowing Brown, probably wasn’t that long ago, the administration decided it was a great idea to retain ownership of all the Brown IDs that have your name and picture on them. This allowed them to justify charging to replace lost and broken (not our goddamn fault that plastic snaps in half!!) cards for a fee. Cheapskates. The first time we lost our cards—yes it was drunkenly, yes we also lost our room keys and cell phones—the card cronies made us pay ten dollars. Alright. Fine. Seems reasonable. Little did we know, they not only keep track of how many IDs you lose, but they also add ten dollars every time you lose your card up to SEVENTY DOLLARS. We’re sorry, but if we’ve managed to throw out our Amex Gold cards with our half-eaten Antonio’s on a Saturday night, what makes them think that we’ll care where our little plastic swipers end their fun at 3 am? Honestly, at this point our swipers have different social lives from ours—we rarely see each other out. And frankly Card Office, we don’t reealllyy need our cards because we don’t actually plan to end up in our own dorms…
Aside from the fact that the Card Office is probably the most hated place in all of JWW (the Brown parking ticket office shares the room), there is also the matter of the not one, but two magnetic strips on the back of your ID. When we arrived on campus, we had to consciously memorize the places you can use the different strips. We finally figured out, toward the middle of freshman November, that the skinny one (aptly named the vending strip) is for the Ben and Jerry’s vending machine outside the VDub (that sells toddler-sized cups—shit wouldn’t get us through a breakup let alone over missing chicken finger Friday), and for laundry. We guess you can also use it to print stuff at the scili, but who actually does enough of their reading to run through the $30 on your somethingelsetodowithabear account. So that was our analysis, and we thought we’d had it all figured out until the card cronies changed EVERYTHING.
In case you were wondering what the slogan on that new, bear-related sticker on every cash register and printing station on campus was, it’s the arrival of an intelligent debit card-like system. We, however, found this out the hard way. When we got back from winter break this year and still had a final paper to write for one of our classes, we realized to our dismay that we had successfully run through our 30 printing dollars printing out flyers for our various organizations of high social import. We loaded our cards at the newest, least dirty-looking CV machine we could find and went to print. Mission accomplished! Good riddance incomplete class!
But really, does anything at Brown work properly?
The printer read $0 on our account and we were pissed. Soo our buddy Mr. Jackson is floating somewhere between our IDs and gone? Apparently not. The poor workers at the study center desk had to calmly explain that no, our money wasn’t gone (we guess the card cronies don’t win all the time…) and that there was a new system being put into place that adds a declining balance function to the fat strip and includes phasing out the vending strip. You can use it anywhere and reload as you go. Bear Bucks. We think we like this new idea. We also think we’re pissed that they made us go along with the skinny strip bullshit for an entire year before changing a broken system. Oh, but don’t you worry, we realized that the laundry machines still require heinous quantities of quarters to do laundry (ten per load—you starting to see where the school makes its money?), and nobody has cared to update the card machines, so skinny strip, we guess you aren’t totally worthless.
And just so we’re clear and so you don’t flip at the Friedman Study Center people, the skinny CV machines deal with the skinny card strip, and the wide ones deal with the fat strip. Also we thought we would quickly comment on how effing annoying it is to figure out which way to stick it in. Honestly though, we’ve never had problems of that nature and don’t intend to now.
“Swipe us in?”
WE love Brown