Endorsements: Marketplace & Carpool Permits

Marketplace Extra

Midway through my first semester at Duke, I did something I still regret. I tallied the per-meal cost of my freshman year dining plan. Suddenly my Marketplace world appeared in sharp focus. It was a little like getting glasses—if getting glasses completely sucked. For the first time, I could see clearly that the bowl of soup I was eating for dinner cost $12. And every time I snagged a couple pieces of toast on the way to my 8:30 a.m. Writing 20, a little voice in my head said, For eight dollars, that better be the best damn bread and jam you’ve ever eaten.

So I hatched an intricate and complex plan for retaliation against the Marketplace-industrial complex: stealing extra meals. When I went in for breakfast, I started bringing Ziploc bags, which I would fill indiscriminately with anything that wasn’t nailed down. Dry cereal? Yeah, I might eat some of that later. Peanut butter sandwiches? You bet. That whole pineapple being used as decoration on the salad bar? Mine! The more I thought about the price of my meal plan, the more I took. Even cutlery and dishes started to seem like fair game.

I doubt I ever came close to matching the cost I paid Duke for those Marketplace meals, but I did get better at deluding myself. It’s much easier, I realized, to think of the “extras” you accumulate over the course of your Duke education as free, whether they’re slices of pizza or T-shirts or seats in the student section at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Because the moment you remember that all of it’s coming straight out of your bursar bill, it just doesn’t seem as fun anymore. And I don’t know about you, but if I have to pay $12 for a Marketplace meal swipe, I at least want the novelty of pretending I’m gaming the system. I feel like they owe me that much.

Carpool Permits

Go to Shooters 48 (week)nights in a row. Buy half an iPad. Buy 80 Tasti D-Lite fro-yo cups. Pay off six Duke parking tickets.These are just a few things you could do if you didn’t have to buy a Blue Zone permit next year.

For the past semester, I’ve scored a killer parking spot in the tailgate lot of the blue zone every time. How, you may ask? The wonderful Duke Transportation carpool pass. Oh, did I mention that it was free? And that each person gets 10 free Blue Zone day passes per semester? It is an amazingly simple system of which surprisingly few students take advantage. In fact, not just undergraduates—the same system is in place for grad students, faculty and staff. All it requires is the support of your three closest friends (with or without cars, depending on your preferences) and you too can land a golden ticket.

Snag those always empty, always envied blue zone spots, save yourself $240, avoid those long walks from the back of the Blue Zone and beat the system.


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