About Chez Betty

Chez Betty is an honor-system based food cooperative for graduate students, faculty, and staff in Computer Science at the University of Michigan. The name "Chez Betty" is an homage to Chez Bob, a similar system at UCSD.

Problems? Questions?

Shoot us an e-mail at chezbetty@umich.edu.


Who are the awesome people who run Chez Betty?

Chez Betty is run by graduate students in CSE.

How to Use Betty like a Pro

Keep a positive balance. Tracking down debtors sucks for us and for you. We cannot restock when there is too much user debt.

Take advantage of the Bank of Betty. Our power users usually deposit $100 once a year or so. Most people deposit $20 to use until that runs out. Remembering cash every time you want to use Betty is no fun.

Help restock. Betty is run by volunteers who have finite time. If you grab a cold drink, put a warm one in to get cold (though, don't put it in front!). If you finish a box of food, grab a full box and replace it.

How do I buy things from Chez Betty?

  1. Log in to Chez Betty by swiping your MCard at the terminal.
    • Accounts are tied to your UMID.
    • A new account is automatically created for first-time users on the the fly the first time you log in.
  2. Look at your Account Balance. If you're low, deposit some money.
    • Every user has an account with Chez Betty that keeps track of how much money they've put in.
    • Betty doesn't make change, instead excess money stays in your account for your next transaction.
    • You can run into the red, see below.
  3. Grab what you'd like from Chez Betty and scan your items.
  4. Touch "Submit Purchase" and you're done!

Wait... Couldn't people steal from this really easily?

Yes. (But please don't).

The idea is to provide a convenient service to members of the UM CSE community. Betty makes a small profit off each sale, some of which will be used to cover the inevitable losses. If too many people take advantage of Betty's trusting nature, the service will have to shut down :(.

Tell me more about my Chez Betty account?

Chez Betty sells things nearly at-cost (usually about a 20% markup). Since no one likes change and Betty is a self-service operation, it's set up so that each user has an account with Betty. You can put in $20 (or however much) at a time and use that balance until it runs out.

What if I don't have any money / Can my account balance go negative?

Yes. Chez Betty allows you to spend beyond your immediate means under that assumption that you'll pay Betty back eventually. The idea is to let you grab stuff when you need it and keep track of what you owe, instead of incentivizing folks to steal.

How does Betty set prices?

Betty sells things just above wholesale, usually a 20% markup. If you're interested in the actual algorithm, check out Betty's source on GitHub.

Current wholesale and Betty prices are always available on the items page.

What's the Good Standing Discount?

If you keep an account balance with $20 or more, Betty will give you a 5% discount on all purchases!

What's the Debtor's Tax?

For anyone with less than $5 in their account, Betty charges a progressive tax on all purchases. The tax begins at 5% and increases an additional 5% for every additional $5 you are in debt ($10-15 debt is 10%, $15-20 is 15%, and so on). If you are more than $5 in debt, the Betty terminal will very clearly show the tax being applied as you check out.

What does Betty do with her profits?

First, Betty has to pay her debts (e.g. any losses incurred from dishonest Chez Betty users). After that, Betty's profits go towards supporting the North Campus community.