Sounds like a Wildscam

William T. Wiley, Jr.

There are few things that annoy me more than being nickel and dimed everywhere I turn at Villanova University. What sparked this article is my recent encounter with the Wildcard Office. My card worked everywhere on campus; everywhere except the entrance to my own residence. I assumed naively that the Wildcard Office would replace the card that I had purchased less than a month earlier.

The clerk took my card and gave it a quick swipe through their machine. There was apparently no problem with my card; I must have been swiping it wrong. However, if I wanted, they would sell me a replacement card for $15. For principle’s sake I respectfully declined, and for the next three weeks I waited outside Sullivan Hall until someone came by the door to open it for me.

Yesterday, as if the Wildcard gods had decided enough was enough, I lost my key to all things Villanova. I knew that this day was coming, but I guessed I now had to bite the bullet. Prior to writing this article, I went to the Wildcard lair in Dougherty Hall. The clerk let out a sigh of regret when I told her of my troubles and offered to print me a new card. With the sweet new hologram, it takes a little longer to print than it used to. Then she hit me with the bad news. Because I had not had the old Wildcard in hand, this would cost me $25. I bit my lip and reached further into my pocket for the extra ten dollars I had not expected to pay. I took my complimentary lollipop and went on my way.

This got me thinking, and I decided that enough was enough. Like the Wildcard gods who had smited me yesterday, I would now make the Wildcard, or what I have dubbed the Wildscam, the subject of my first article. If you swiped your Wildcard for meals only, you would use it 21 times per week. That’s expecting that the swiper got it on the first try and that you never went over the price and had to use points.

Let’s say that on average your Wildcard is used 10 times a day by Dining Services; meals, points and missed swipes all included. Then you try and get into your building. I don’t think that even when my card worked I could ever get in on the first try. Getting into your building at least three times a day, probably 10 swipes. We are at 20 times a day that you have used your WildCard, and this is a conservative estimate. I’m not even counting purchases at the bookstore, print centers, other buildings that require wildcard for entry, or even other WildCard accepting merchants. One hundred and forty times per week the Wildcard is used. That’s 560 per month and an astonishing 2,240 times per semester. And now for the grand daddy of them all, they expect your Wildcard to work for roughly 17,920 swipes! Not even the plastic Wildcard case will last for that long.

Don’t get me wrong, I think the Wildcard is great. It’s convenient and makes life on campus a whole lot more convenient. But charging students who already pay an exorbitant amount to come here an extra $15 or $25 to replace something that is completely mandated by the school is outrageous. Maybe a more reasonable replacement fee might be in line.

The Wildcard was recently upgraded to include laundry and vending services, furthering our dependency on the Wildcard. Don’t forget the $1.50 charge tacked onto every Wildcard Internet deposit. Villanova uses the Wildcard as a marketing tool (it even has its own segment on those riveting tours given by the Blue Key Society).

I feel like the students are being exploited by the Wildcard, and with no where else to turn to, we are forced to reach deep into our pockets and shell out the money. Perhaps if we cut out the Wildcard DVD we could shave a few dollars off the replacement price.