How to Hack the CLTC Canteen: A Guide to Calculating the Best Deals!

July 8, 2024
Abby Roth

Phoenix, Arizona, United States

Class of 2027

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The Question:

The canteen at CLTC is a staple in the daily life of a camper. Positioned among bunks, hammocks, and hangout spots, it is the place to be during Chofesh. The little shop window by the gym and chapter rooms offers a variety of snacks anyone would enjoy. Refreshing drink? How about a Dr. Pepper? Salty snacks? Get yourself some Cheez-Its! Sweet tooth? Grab an ever-popular Cosmic Brownie! These delightful delicacies and more are all sold at the canteen. 

No need to remember your wallet when purchasing snacks at the canteen, because the system relies on punch cards. With $10, you earn one card with ten punches, and items cost 1 to 2 punches. All of the snacks mentioned above, along with many others, cost one punch of your card. However, some may say that not all snacks are equal, despite their punch valuation claiming otherwise. Subsequent to my Gizborit duty of working in the canteen, and surveying a wide variety of drinks, chips, and other kinds of treats all for the same price, I began to wonder how I could get the most bang for my punch… so to speak. What is the actual cost for each item? Which is the most expensive, making it the best deal? In other words, how can I hack the canteen? 

The Process:

To answer this question, I had to swap my summer brain for my thinking cap and call upon the help of math. I determined the cost per item by finding the product on Walmart’s website. Since many of the snacks are fun-size, you must purchase multiple to obtain one. In my process, I took the price it would cost per pack and divided it by how many portions could be sold in the Canteen. Here’s an example:

On, you can purchase 24 cans of Diet Coke for $11.94 With the equation 11.94/24=0.4975, we can determine that the individual cost for a can is around $0.50. I repeated this process with the rest of the products. 

The Numbers:

The Results: 

In a surprising victory, Popcorners Chips took the crown for the best deal at the Canteen, beating most of its competitors by nearly double. According to my calculations, a small bag of Popcorners Chips, the ones sold at the canteen, costs a shocking $1.12. This valuation, surprisingly, surpasses the one-punch value it’s given. Since each canteen card is $10 and contains 10 punches, each punch is worth $1. Requesting Popcorners Chips the next time you visit the canteen will ensure that you get the most value per punch and then some.

Many snacks, such as drinks and chips fell around the same price of $0.50. The treat that takes the cake, pun intended, for the “worst deal” is Little Debbie’s Cosmic Brownies, coming in at $0.42 per portion. It’s safe to say that the deal for these yummy chocolate treats is not out of this world. However, this price is only a couple of cents off of the around $0.50 most of the products cost, so don’t feel too bad for the Cosmic Brownies, they’re still stars in our hearts. I found this especially true while working in the Canteen, as I noticed that they are among the most popular items.

With any informal investigation, my numbers are far from flawless, and a variety of factors can affect results. For example, I don’t know if the Canteen buys the products wholesale, with a discount. Typically in retail business, as the amount you buy increases, cost per item decreases. So, depending on the number of products the Canteen purchases at once, the actual cost per item could vary from my calculation. Additionally, I left out the calculation for Twizzlers, Goldfish, and Cheetos because I wasn’t sure exactly the size of their purchased packages. Also, if you are a devoted Canteen-goer as I and many of my CLTC peers are, you may have noticed some products missing. This is because I focused on items that cost one punch, so two-punch items such as Gatorade, KitKats, and Hersheys were not included. In the end, this was just a lighthearted exploration of the workings of the beloved Canteen. 

Some may look at the results and decide to hack the canteen, try to make the most of each punch, and only get items with a high value. Others may completely disregard the list and get whatever sparks them joy. Personally, I feel getting what you prefer will bring you much more satisfaction than getting a mathematically better deal. 

The Bottom Line:

At the end of the day, if you aren’t getting the snack you truly want, are you hacking the Canteen, or is it hacking you?

Abby Roth is a BBG from Mountain Region who loves the beach and cats.

All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.

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