Arizona Daily Wildcat
March 30, 1998

Stop CatCard now

Back in the mid-'80s, Coca-Cola launched an ill-thought-out little product called "New Coke." The idea behind the product was that a new generation needs a new soda pop. In the annals of consumer product history, few mistakes are as oft-examined as the "New Coke" disaster. Few product mistakes have been so completely at odds with what consumers and retailers wanted, except maybe CatCard.

CatCard, the new UA identification, has caused more problems than anyone apparently imagined. Or thought of. Or even asked about.

The card is supposed to be the end-all, be-all of student identifications. It could be the key to your bank account and your long distance telephone service, as well as to the library. The geniuses who brought us CatCard didn't get all the places where the UA community members use their identification on board. Who knew local businesses and campus organizations wanted to know whether a card-carrier is a student or a faculty member or not?

Right now, the UA Associated Students Bookstore, where many students use their Pocket Money accounts most, doesn't have the technology to allow its customers access to those accounts.

CatCard director Liz Taylor herself says there is a "long list" of campus organizations who are going to have problems adjusting to the new system. The list includes the bookstore and the Parking and Transportation Department.

It's been said before, and bears repeating, the CatCard is a solution in search of problem. The problems of the new identification are significant and possibly expensive enough to require a re-evaluation of the entire idea.

We hear a lot of talk about process at the UA. It takes a year of talking, for example, to get anywhere near an answer to the problem of securing campus parties. The process didn't work with CatCard. Yes, everybody knew it was coming for months but nobody, we hope, had any idea of just how incompetently the transition would be been handled.

When Coca-Cola realized just what a disaster "New Coke" was, the product was pulled from the shelves.

The university should stop the CatCard program dead in its tracks, and return to honoring our original, useful, identifications, until a well-planned replacement can be found.


(LAST_SECTION)  - (Wildcat Chat)  - (NEXT_STORY)