My issues with HFS started in Spring 2004. They ran ads in the UW Daily (pictured here and here) announcing all of the new places you could use your Husky Card. Too bad the list was inaccurate! In particular, they listed Subway. I drove down to the Subway listed (15+ minutes away in light traffic) only to find that they had no clue what a Husky Card was. The manager said they'd be taking them soon but hadn't received the equipment from UW yet.I had only taken my Husky Card with me, so I was stuck without a way to pay. Way to go HFS!
A couple of months later, Subway was still listed on their site (pictured right), so I tried using my Husky Card again (this time with some cash just in case), and they still didn't know what it was! In fact, no one working there knew what it was. A few months later, Subway was finally removed from the HFS site. It should have never been on there in the first place.
Fast forward to Summer 2004. They made a big deal about 8 at McMahon being open to the public, so I decided to check it out. I don't recall the exact details, but they totally botched the listed hours of 8 at McMahon. They said it was open all day, when in fact, it wasn't. Even when it was open, several of the "dining concepts" (like Pagliacci) weren't, even though the site said they should be.
That's not even the worst part.
I needed to print some transparencies for a technical communications class I was taking. The guy working at the printing office at the MGH CRC had just started that day, and vastly overcharged me. Since the POS device isn't by the counter, I had no way of seeing the total before he swiped my card. I don't blame him, but get this -- he couldn't refund my money! Apparently HFS doesn't allow credits back to your Husky Card. The only way to correct an overcharge is for them to fill out a form and wait over two weeks for it to be processed! In the mean time, they still have your money.
Now is where it really gets interesting.
Back in Autumn 2004, they sent everyone a UW Dining Pocket Guide. Eleven 01 and Ian's Domain had just opened (IIRC), and they wanted to make sure people knew about them! They made it especially clear that everyone was welcome to dine at all HFS facilities. If only that were true.
A few weeks ago, I didn't have a lot of cash, so I decided to get something to eat at 8 at McMahon. I checked their web site to see if they were open, and sure enough, they had the building hours listed, as well as the hours of each "dining concept" inside. Again, they made a special point out of saying that anyone could dine there.
Upon arriving at McMahon, I noticed that the sign even said it was open to the campus community.
... except it wasn't. All of the entrances were locked (even with one with the "8" sign)! Now, I could understand it if 8 was open later only for residents, but their site clearly stated that the building closed much, much later (it was only 6 PM). Since residents have access 24/7, it'd make sense that the "building hours" are those when it's open to the public, as they are with every other building on campus. I even tried using my Husky Card to unlock the door, thinking that it might be restricted to students, staff, and faculty during certain times of the day, but that didn't work.
I sent HFS an email about this, and they brushed me off claiming it was a programming error, and that it was already fixed, and that I should be able to access any HFS food facility during their normal business hours I put my Skeptical Face(TM) on and returned the following night (a Monday). It was a bit before 7, so I went in and looked around. Once again, there was a giant sign saying it was open to the public from 7 AM to 10 PM Monday through Friday. Just before 7 PM, I went outside and observed the doors locked at precisely at 7. After browsing all over the HFS site, I came across this:
But is this even correct? Of course not!
I had a final at 8:30 AM that week, so I swung by 8 for some breakfast, having thought I finally discovered the true building hours. And of course, it was locked, and my Husky Card didn't unlock it.
So, at this point, there seems to be three inconsistent policies on access:
- The doors are unlocked whenever food services are available. This is implied in the HFS site and was told to me in an email from HFS.
- The doors are unlocked from 7 am to 7 pm. This might only apply to Eleven 01? (See below)
- The doors are unlocked only when the front desk is open. This seems to be the actual access policy.
I wrote HFS back, pointing out the inconsistencies in their site, email, pocket guide, signage, etc., and they have yet to get back to me.
Today, I decided to figure out what the actual access policies were.
McMahon appears to be open only when the front desk is open. The doors locked promptly at 5 PM today, which is when the front desk closed:
So what about Ian's Domain? HFS also said I should be able to access it during normal business hours, but the sign on McCarty's entrance says otherwise. In fact, according to it, non-resident students are never allowed in, unless they're a guest of a resident. Of course, the pocket guide and their site say otherwise!
Eleven 01 is somewhat better, with their doors supposedly locking at 7. This is still in contradiction with their email and their posted building hours. One other thing to note is that 2 Convenient is open past the posted building hours, so even if they mean that the "building hours" are when Eleven 01 is open, that isn't even correct!
So in summary, HFS doesn't know what the hell it's doing. I wouldn't normally make such a big issue out of it, except that they don't seem to care, and it's severely inconvenienced me several times in the past. Furthermore, if they can't even get such trivial things right, how can you be sure that they've giving you truthful information about housing, your Husky Card/A La Carde account, etc? I'm not sure that you can.