Since the dawn of Pret, I’m pretty sure all the rest of the catering outlets on campus have been having a minor panic at the prospect of never selling another sandwich or cup of coffee again. The Market Place queues are dwindling, the Guild Shop is quieter than usual and the Costa employees look positively bored behind their fully-stocked till. Personally, I reckon the Pret mania will die down soon enough, once people start reaching their overdraft and realising that they actually can’t afford to spend a fiver on their lunch everyday (although who knows – this is Exetah after all). For now, however, as the momentum of Pret shows no signs of slowing down, it seems the Market Place have decided to take matters into their own hands.
The Market Place have decided to take matters into their own hands.
The new Market Place meal deal allows students to buy a sandwich, a bag of Kettle Chips, Proppercorn or a piece of fruit and a bottle of Ice Valley water or a 500ml bottle from the Coca-Cola range, all for £2.99. Sounds like a good deal, right? I opted for a classic cheese and onion chutney sandwich and a trusty bag of salt & vinegar kettle chips myself, while my friend went for the chicken and stuffing sandwich. Believe it or not, the sandwiches are actually of a pretty good quality and way better than any I’ve had from the Market Place before, so don’t write it off because of a less-than-positive experience in the past. With a fairly wide range of choices and vegetarian and vegan sandwiches available too (very important considering the rising demand for vegan options on campus), I dithered between a few sandwiches before eventually making up my mind – a welcome luxury that I’m not accustomed to having as a vegetarian.
Believe it or not, the sandwiches are actually of a pretty good quality
In terms of the price, I’m not sure it’s as much of a bargain as they’re making it out to be; it’s more a case of the rest of the lunch deals on campus being more expensive. You’re basically paying £1 for each item, which is fair enough and, as I said, reasonable in comparison to other campus deals. When compared to the Guild Shop’s meal deal of £3.29, you’re saving 30p a day, or £1.50 per week, which doesn’t sound like much, but would definitely add up over time. I don’t know about you, but I’d prefer to have the extra money in my pocket for those lazy days when I’d rather get the bus instead of hiking up Exeter’s many hills.
Fortunately for the Market Place, it’s also in the perfect location for those drifting sadly away from Pret when they realise they can’t quite afford the cost of a sandwich alone (which is exactly what my friend and I did this sad Friday night in the library). What makes it even better is that since everyone’s piling themselves into Pret, the Market Place queues have gone down considerably, meaning that it only takes a minute or so to pick up your lunch!
So yes, maybe the only reason the Market Place meal deal has appeared is because of the looming presence of a shiny new Pret. But with student living becoming more and more expensive nowadays, is anyone really complaining?