RRCSA projects financial loss due to double doggin’ at The Merc and The Ox
AUSTIN GRABISH, CONTRIBUTOR
The RRCSA is losing money as hot dog thefts are rising at The Mercantile.
Thefts have been an ongoing issue for well over a year at both The Mercantile and The Ox, said RRCSA president Benjamin McDonald. McDonald said thieves are walking out without paying for their food or getting sneaky and stuffing extra wieners in one hot dog package.
The problem worsened when the two stores changed their hot dog supplier late last year, McDonald added.“Our previous hot dogs were from a different vendor,” he said. “They were much larger. You couldn’t hide them in the packaging.”
To combat the double doggin’, the stores have put up signs asking customers to open their buns at the till and prove they aren’t hiding an extra wiener.
No employees from The Mercantile were willing to go on the record with The Projector, but McDonald said the rise in thefts has been stressful for staff, who consider the store their own.
“There’s a pride of ownership in there, and they don’t want to be ripped off,” McDonald said.
Adam Taplin, RRCSA’s vice-president external, said the store’s $5 hot dog combo, which includes chips and a drink, is a steal of a deal on its own.“I mean, it’s a $5 deal. It’s pretty amazing,” said Taplin. “Do you really need to steal another hot dog?”
Hot dogs are big business for the RRCSA.
From July 2015 to January 2016, The Mercantile made $16,933 in sales from hot dogs, while The Ox pulled in $9,245.
Despite sales, The Mercantile is operating at a projected loss this year.
“It’s not like a small, minor thing,” McDonald said.
If someone is caught stealing, campus security is called and the thief will be banned from the building, McDonald said. Winnipeg Police Service spokesman Const. Jason Michalyshen said despite the petty value of the dogs, police could lay criminal charges.
“A theft is a theft, whether it’s a $2 hot dog or, you know, a $200 skateboard,” he said.
Michalyshen said police would look at all options and consider a person’s past when deciding to lay charges or not.
“We certainly would look at their history and see what options might be viable,” he said.
Officials with the RRCSA aren’t sure why the thefts continue to happen but are aware student hunger is an issue on campus.
“The food bank is one of the services that we are most proud of and spend a lot of time advertising,” McDonald said.
Winnipeg Harvest spokesman Jason Booth said anyone who needs help outside of the college’s food bank can call 204-982-3663.
“We are here for anyone that needs food assistance,” Booth said.