The students at California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) barely had time to clear their waking eyes before reading yellow signs posted before the register: “Our systems are down currently and we can not accept credit/debit. Sorry for the inconvenience.” All the students who did not have cash or school meal plans begrudgingly left the line upon reading the sign.
For students who rely on making their purchases with credit or debit cards, the registers have become an unpredictable source of anxiety, due to frequent failures during critical times in students’ schedules. During the times when card readers go down, students are forced to go hungry and battle caffeine withdrawals. However, students are not the only one suffering from the campus’s faulty registers.
Businesses who have contracted with the CSUMB campus – Verve, Starbucks, Grains & Greens, WoW Cafe, Hissho Sushi and other companies – are missing out on sales. Even the vending machines are non-viable alternatives because they too stop working during the system failures, leaving students without meal plans out of options.
When the Office of the Chief Information Officer (CIO), was contacted for an explanation for the frequent system crashes, they said they wanted to help, but they had not “heard a whole lot about it on [their] end.” The Office of the CIO suggested contacting A’viands, CSUMB’s dining contractor, instead.
Bob Dooley, the resident district manager for A’viands at CSUMB, said the issue was more specific to CSUMB and “we do not own the registers, we just use them.” Dooley declined to speak more about the topic and said, “I can’t speak to the press, but if you email me I can get answers to your questions from someone in corporate.”
The email from A’viands response to questions about the registers stated “At this point we are working diligently with the university’s IT department to resolve this issue as quickly as we can, and as soon as we have additional details, we will share them.”
In a follow up inquiry with the Office of the CIO, they said they would try to find out more and “see what they can do.” In the meantime, students will have to deal with inconsistent payment methods and a campus register system that no one wants to answer for.
While the cause of the issue remains undetermined, there are plenty of people being affected, even people behind the registers.
“They are really rude to us,” said a student employee who declined to be identified at Verve Coffee about how customers react when they find out their credit and debit cards will not be accepted. “It’s not our fault or the fault of A’viands, I think it’s more of an IT issue and everyone is tired of it by now.”
The Office of the CIO is responsible for all the information technology departments, according to their about page on the CSUMB website, but the Office of the CIO has allegedly not been talking much about the faulty register systems and did not have answers about what was causing the registers to not accept credit or debit cards. If this issue continues to go unaddressed then businesses, schedules and feelings, will get hurt and students, faculty and staff will be forced to find other places to use their credit and debit payments.