Should students be catching Cat$cratch fever?
Published: Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 18:09
The printer in the Cynic office has been giving me fits lately. I can’t seem to string together the correct combination of curse words to make the error light quit flashing. Am I kicking it too gently? Do I need to insult its mother more?
At any rate, the inconvenience recently forced me into Bailey/Howe to fulfill my printing needs, and I was able to experience first-hand the new Cat$cratch-only era.
As a rule, I don’t like to pay for printing. There are too many free options available — the Allen House, the Business school, the Cynic office, and your roommate’s printer — to make printing in the cramped quarters of Bailey/Howe worthwhile. On this particular occasion, however, I was already late to class and the library was on the way.
For those of you who don’t know, the library no longer accepts coins. Or – if you’re a first-year – the library used to accept coins. Instead, printing must be purchased with prepaid cards.
Coupled with the change to prepaid cards is a reduction in cost from 10 cents to 5 cents a page in black and white. The switch was made because the library staff was tired of dealing with mountains of coinage.
I was delighted with the new method. I don’t have Cat$cratch because I have a debit card and having both seems dumb. Thankfully, the University provides the option of purchasing a generic CatCard with a dollar’s worth of printing power, so I could enjoy the low prices without having to obtain a Cat$cratch account.
After sliding my dollar into the slot of the CatCard machine and retrieving the thin piece of plastic it spit back, I was off to the printing station. One swipe of the CatCard later I was the proud owner of three freshly printed pages of “Tantric Sex for Beg…”uh, I mean a reading reflection for chapter three of “Technical Communication.”
The whole process took about a minute. My only complaint is that I am now obligated to return to Bailey/Howe for 85 cents worth of printed pages, or else forfeit that small fortune forever. But honestly, the new policy is a win for everyone. The library staff can stop doubling as accountants, and students are able to print at half the cost of years past.
I still don’t advocate Cat$cratch as a whole. I find it silly to open a debit account with the University that can only be used at a small percentage of Burlington establishments. You are tying yourself into spending X amount of dollars at those specific places, where if you just use the debit card from your bank you have complete freedom of choice. And I still think people who consistently pay for printing are suckers.
But for those with a strange attachment to giving UVM all their money – or for those with no other option – the “no change” change reduces the cost to students and frees up the library staff. I just hope the library takes the next logical step and allows debit cards, along with Cat$cratch, to be used at printing stations.