Navigating through thousands of different product descriptions is a pain, but it’s ultimately worth it if you want to maximize what you get out of the campus grocery.
As of yesterday afternoon, all our WesCards are working again. That means that now, I can stroll into any campus dining establishment to use any number of the now 1,827 points I have. 1,827!!! What on earth am I going to do with all these points? Why do I have to pay for them every semester when I know that I’m definitely not going to be able to use all of them? (I am a small person and do not eat very much.) These are not questions that concern you.
What may concern you, though, is that you can use your points to order from the ~*~Weshop bulk catalog.~*~ Basically, if you want things that Weshop doesn’t normally sell in the storefront, like dried beans or 2-pound bags of rice, and if you want them in considerably larger quantities for considerably cheaper than it would be to buy the tiny packages once a week every time you run out, the bulk catalog has you covered.
It remained an elusive paper copy deep in the office annex of Weshop until last fall, when the kind people of Bon Appétit put it online for us to use. kg discovered in 2015 that she could order her diva cups through the bulk catalog. Some other gems include children’s multivitamins, something they’ve labeled only as “DRINK,NATRL STRSS RELIEF,” condoms, and brewers yeast for all you people who try to make your own alcohol.
The full catalog list is HERE, and the order form is HERE. Since the order form is view-only, a good way to fill it out is to copy it to a new spreadsheet in your drive doohickey and then fill in all the values there.
You may ask, “But how do I use it? How do I navigate this list of 24,000 different purchasable items??”
It’s not news to me that Weshop has a special-order catalog. Now that I’m in my senior year, I’ve had some time to hear stories of people ordering from the catalog to economize points by buying in bulk, or to buy brands that Weshop doesn’t stock in-store. I first heard about Weshop bulk ordering in 2015 from Wesleying-er kg, who not only knew the ins and outs of the process… but also found out how to bulk order DivaCups. From Weshop.
But back then, ordering from the catalog wasn’t especially convenient — or well-advertised. Those in the know could venture to the back of the store, where they could look at a catalog in the office and place orders. But, this meant you had to go out of your way just to see the catalog options, and you had to know it was there.
That’s why this year is an exciting time — for the first time in Weshop history, students can access the catalog and place orders online.
If you’ve visited Weshop this year (everyone, right?), you’ve probably noticed some changes to the layout from last year. There’s more space, some tables in the middle, and new products, it seems. I talked to Weshop director Gary Kriksciun, who explained that the new layout is intended to open up the store–creating a better flow and providing a better shopping experience, one of Bon Appetit’s primary goals. The tables often offer sale items, and sometimes have a seasonal flair (like the Halloween table). However, if you notice new products, it’s because—according to Kriksciun—Weshop is “constantly adding new products.”
Of course, there’s the kicker: WHY IS WESHOP SO EXPENSIVE?
Not too long ago, Sharon Wade – one of the Bon Appetit employees that we all know and love – agreed to meet me in Usdan for an interview. She greeted me with kind blue eyes and a genuine smile. I knew she had been here a very long time and I wanted to pick her brain about her experiences at Wesleyan. She had warned me in advance, the week before at work, about how she’s prone to going on and on and reassured me that I shouldn’t be afraid to cut her off if necessary. As we got into the flow of the interview, which was not very difficult with Sharon’s enthusiasm, I certainly knew what she meant, but by no means was I going to stop her. Sharon sat with me in Usdan for approximately an hour, during which she told me about what she’s learned during her time at Wesleyan, expressed both her loves and her qualms with campus issues, and shared some wonderful anecdotes about students. The following is a transcript of our conversation, edited for clarity.
How long have you been working at Wesleyan?
Probably… around 29 years. A long time – flown by, just like that. It has flown by!
Has it been at Weshop the whole time?
No, this is my second time at Weshop. Because we can move all around. We just have to bid on jobs, awarded by seniority, throughout the campus. We’ve all done probably most everything. I’ve been a cook. For overtime, I did tons of utility. That took me around the world… I’ve done register at the old campus center, I’ve done it [at Usdan], I’ve done at Weshop, so everybody has really moved around, which is a great part of the job because [you can say,] ‘you know what, I think I’ll do that.’ As long as you’re qualified and you’re the most senior person signing – and everybody signs – you get to the job.
In case you missed it, there’s a debate brewing in the comments section of a video by Jacky Coyne ’13 about the economic benefits of Weshop versus Price Chopper. Today, it looks like you won’t have a choice. Weshop is temporarily felled by a cash register malfunction, according to a few tipsters on Twitter (“twipsters”?):
Here’s a fun one from my dude Jacky Coyne ’13, along with Chris Lee ’13and Kieran Coyne’16. Annoyed by the inflated Weshop price of Jack and Chris’ beloved Frosted Flakes, the boys hop over to Price Chopper to see if they can do better with an assortment of groceries. The results may or may not surprise you.
Check out the sweet video above, featuring the instrumental from Clique and a guest text message from El Presidente Roth. Exciting stuff.
If you’re one of the miserable hermits who answered “I’ve been here working on my thesis since January 2” in our current weekly poll, rejoice: you can stop subsisting entirely on chex mix now. After a long winter rest, Weshop is coming out of hibernation today at 2 p.m. It’ll be back to normal hours tomorrow (though the options may be somewhat erratic for a while).
The Usdan Marketplace also makes its triumphant return tonight, for dinner. Here’s the full dining schedule, via Usdan’s website: