DisreGuardian: UCSD to switch from Dining Dollars to “Monopoly Money”

Courtesy of Adobe Stock Images
Courtesy of Adobe Stock Images

Editor’s note: The following is a satirical article for The DisreGuardian, a series of articles published annually for The Guardian’s April Fool’s issue. Features will resume publishing normal content next week.

The time? Fall 2024. The place? Any UC San Diego dining hall. The room is a whir of pastel pinks and greens as students mill about, queueing in line for their meals. Why might this be? One major change has occurred: all of them are holding vibrantly colored paper money.

During a press conference last week, Housing Dining Hospitality administrators announced an initiative to switch to physical “Monopoly money” instead of virtual dining dollars starting Fall 2024. When asked about the motivation behind this decision, Chancellor Pradeep “Rich Uncle Pennybags” Khosla asserted his “sole intention to benefit students’ wellbeing, and absolutely no one else’s at all.”

“The adjustment to physical money will better prepare students for the real world,” Khosla said, twirling his mustache and adjusting his bowtie. “For example, as adults, people are constantly exploited by those more powerful than them in Kafkaesque economic manipulation entirely beyond their control.”

Alongside this change, HDH will raise the prices of many basic grocery items as well as dining hall meals. Not to worry, though: to help students pay for this, each dining plan will also increase by ten thousand dining dollars. 

However, some critics suspect that this is nothing but a quick cash grab. 

“It just feels like a continuation of an existing problem,” Muir College sophomore Juswan Tuweit said. “I mean, they say dining dollars are one-to-one with real money, yet crap like this just allows the school to charge unrealistic amounts for food on campus. I know they have to cover the cost of printing millions of paper dollars, but ten thousand dollars? Are you kidding me?”

Marshall College sophomore Megan Megabux shared a different view.

“What’s the big deal?” she said. “It’ll be fun to use silly little Monopoly dollars for everything. With colorful paper money, every transaction will feel like a game! So what if I have to spend a few extra bucks? I’ll just take it out of my trust fund.”

Reportedly, UCSD’s version of Monopoly money will feature Chancellor Khosla’s face on the front of each bill. This design choice will ensure that students don’t use pre-existing Hasbro Monopoly Money to pay for their meals; however, it has also garnered pushback from some students. 

“I won’t be able to escape his face,” mused Criep D’out, a Warren College senior. “His eyes — they will be following me everywhere I go. Imagine you’re studying in Geisel and somebody buys a coffee over at Audrey’s. Boom, he’s there! You’re napping in your bed and you’ve left some cash out on your desk. Boom, he’s there! You’re walking down Library Walk and someone’s buying a cupcake from a sorority bake sale. Boom! You can never escape him! I can already feel his smile haunting my every nightmare.”

To accommodate the switch, QR code scanners at on-campus Amazon Just Walk Out markets will soon be replaced. Before students can leave after grabbing their groceries, they will deposit Monopoly dollars into a slot at the front of the market. “We were recently briefed on how to handle some new situations that might arise next year,” said Grocia Ri, a Muir College freshman and Sixth Market employee. “For example, HDH decided that if a shopper forgets to bring their Monopoly cash, they will remain trapped in the store, helping stock shelves until they’ve compensated for the full value of their items. Or they could just use a Get Out of Jail Free card.”

“I kinda love the new system. It won’t really make much of a difference for me — I can never spend all my dining dollars before they expire anyway,” Sixth College junior Carrie Cash said. “I already don’t see dining dollars as real money. Now, it will feel even less real because I can no longer see the number go down in my account!”

Despite its mixed reviews from students, UCSD’s Monopoly money will surely bring a pop of excitement and color to campus. In the wake of this new system, school administrators have begun discussing how to best implement a Chutes and Ladders-inspired network of scooter and bike lanes.

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About the Contributor
Abby Offenhauser
Abby Offenhauser, Staff Writer
Abby is a first-year Literature/Writing major, ardent listener of fiction and talk podcasts, and lover of satire.
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