The Horrors of Inflation Haunts Torres High School

The Horrors of Inflation Haunts Torres High School


Snack Menu from the Torres High School Student Store. Photo Courtesy of Thaw Han

On Jan. 8th, 2024, the horrors of inflation infiltrated Torres High School as students returned from their extensive 3-week winter break. They were greeted with increased snack prices at the student store. As far as a majority of the students can recall, the standard price has remained stagnant at $1 for years, but now, they have increased by 50 cents. Approximately, more than half of the students of Torres High School purchase certain snacks such as chips, cookies, drinks, and ice creams along with Torres HS merchandise at the student store. 

Students are discontent with this reformation on campus based on the content received from selective interviewees. The never-ending queues at the student store during nutrition and lunch have noticeably vanished due to the price increase on all food items across the board. The 50-cent increase may not seem like that major of a change initially, but purchase rates may soon drop as they have declined in the first weeks. The LAUSD can’t afford to lose purchases as they take 50% of every school’s account to fundraise. It seems that this money is vanishing into thin air because ELARA’s requests for necessities are not fulfilled by the district due to ‘budget problems.’

“I’ve noticed that the lines for the student store during lunch are much shorter than before. I don’t think that the students are happy with this increase,” said Alex Zamora, a junior at East Los Angeles Renaissance Academy. Indeed, most students have been vocal about this change as they complain, but they have been ignored by the school’s administration.

“I think that the increase in prices is detrimental to both the students and the school. The student store will probably start making less profit since the students are refusing to buy from the store now,” said an anonymous senior at East Los Angeles Renaissance Academy.

The school lunch does not suffice for Torres students with its paltry portions and terrible taste to the point students are barely eating the school lunch. It is one of the main reasons why the student store exists at Torres High School. Many depend on student-store snacks to fill their stomachs. This price increase could leave many students hungry throughout the day as students may start to opt out of purchases.

“I never eat the food provided by the school. It’s horrible. I buy chips from the student store, but after the price increased, I started buying less often because I don’t want to spend a lot of money,” said Valentina Romero, a junior at East Los Renaissance Academy, when she was asked how this price increase has affected their meals.

It is unequivocally troublesome for the less unfortunate students because a 50-cent increase could become a lot of money spent on snacks in the long run. In East LA, 14.7% of the population lives in poverty, reported California Demographics by CUBIT in 2022. When buying 2 snacks, this 50-cent increase becomes an extra dollar than before. Such an increase in a low-income community can not be afforded. The previous $1 standard may have been high enough for a portion of Torres High School’s students, which means this increase is only worse.

However, the motive behind this increase in price is unclear, but it can be assumed that it was done for profit. “We’re not sure why the prices for the snacks have increased. We only work at the student store. All the decisions are made by the higher-ups,” said a student store staff, on behalf of all the student store workers. The student store is a non-profit to alleviate the fits of hunger of Torres students. Therefore, the higher-ups can only benefit so much. Only a little more profit can be gathered from this increase in student store snack prices.

But, take a guess! The risk of losing purchases from students was taken because it was necessary to maintain a decent revenue. The increase in snack prices has increased their revenue even with lower sales. However, if the outside retailers have also increased their prices due to inflation in the current economic state, the student store’s profits most likely remain the same.

The inevitable horrors of the long-awaited inflation have finally caught up with the East LA community. Food prices in California rose by 3.8%, reported the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Inflation is getting real. It is only bound for prices to increase henceforth and East LA will start to experience the impacts of it. All the prices in our community are increasing due to inflation. Consequently, the costs of groceries will rise, which is burdensome for a low-income community as citizens are no longer able to afford daily essentials.

The United States of America has been dealing with the effects of inflation for decades. The East LA community has to be fortified to face the prospective burdens of inflation. The alterations in Torres’ student store are only the beginning. Don’t take these prices for granted. Enjoy the $1.50 price tag while you still can. It is only a matter of time for the Torres High School merchandise to follow suit.







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