Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Poor College Student Can No Longer Afford Chipotle

When I was in high school, the park district in my hometown decided to team up with Chipotle and have a "Great Burrito Hunt". The concept was that they would hide 30 giant styrofoam burritos in the parks in order to encourage kids to get out of the house and into the parks.

How does a giant styrofoam burrito encourage a kid to go to the park you might ask? Well, if you can redeem said giant styrofoam burrito for a deck of 56 Chipotle playing cards, each worth one free burrito (with guacamole!), I count 30*56 = 1680 reasons to go looking for one of these monster burritos.
Fox News even wrote about it
My brother and I woke up early the first morning, and within two hours, had found TWO giant styrofoam burritos (112 free burritos!). We decided to be nice and stop searching for the rest so that other people might have the chance to find one as well.

My favorite moment was when after we found the second burrito and were driving out of the park, we saw another group of people drive into the parking lot, park, run out of their cars and into the woods to search for the burrito we had just found. Suckers!

I enjoyed my free burritos while they lasted. My high school self would usually get a burrito with rice, black beans, carnitas/barbacoa, all four salsas, guacamole, lettuce and cheese (for free!).

Then I found this: the Chipotle Nutrition Facts Calculator.

This was before that one law was instated in which all fast food places have to list the caloric content of their foods and people across the country happily ate their food in peace, without thinking about how many calories they were consuming. Unable to afford to eat all those calories, I switched to burrito bowls, cut out the cheese, green and red tomatillo salsas, saving an estimated 485 calories.

After running out of / gifting away the rest of the free burrito cards and moving to New York, I was frustrated to see that New York prices were much more than Illinois prices. Who pays $2.25 for a scoop of guacamole? Not poor college students.

Still, a burrito bowl with rice, black beans, carnitas/barbacoa, tomatoes, hot salsa and lettuce cost $8.00. That's a lot of money!

Then, I discovered that when ordering tacos, you don't necessarily have to order all three soft tacos or all four crispy tacos; you can order however many you like.

Two soft tacos with rice, black beans, one with carnitas, one with barbacoa, tomatoes, hot salsa and lettuce came to $6.00. Not bad.

I stuck with that order for a long time, and whenever any of my friends protested that Chipotle was too expensive, I responded with "Get two tacos! They only cost six dollars!"

One fateful day, a friend informed me of her order at chipotle: a pinto bean and cheese burrito. 500 calories. Three ingredients. Two dollars.

The conversation between her and the workers at Chipotle went a little something like this:

One bean and cheese burrito please.
Would you like rice in that?
No, beans and cheese only.
Black beans or pinto beans?
Would you like any meat?
Nope, that's it. Beans and cheese.
Would you like any salsa on that?
No thank you. Beans and cheese only.
Guacamole, sour cream or lettuce?
All I want is beans and cheese please.

Of course, there would be the occasional mishap when the cashier tried to ring it up as a vegetarian burrito and charge her $5.25, but after explaining yet again that there were literally only beans and cheese in her burrito and nothing else, she would be allowed to pay the $2.00 and go.

This week, I decided I couldn't pay $6.00 for two tacos anymore. I went into the local Chipotle and ordered a $2.00 pinto bean and cheese burrito. No questions asked - my friend had trained the staff well.

From free burritos with guacamole in high school to two dollar bean and cheese burritos in college. Oh, the life of a Poor College Student...


  1. FYI you can also get quesadillas at Chipotle. I'm not sure how much they cost but it's probably around the price range of a cheese and bean burrito depending on what you get with it.

    I also remember that in high school I could get a free drink with a student ID but once in college, I went into Chipotle with my college ID and I had to pay for my drink. What's up with that?

  2. I think the last time i got a quesadilla, it was 2.25? It was a while ago so I don't remember clearly. Thanks for reading our blog!

  3. lol..piers? i'm going to have to order that next time i go