As students gear up in preparation for Spring Fling, local businesses prepare for increased traffic and revenue, as well as hundreds of belligerent students.
Olga Dimpoulous, the “Greek Lady” herself, said that the students “drink too much,” and are “sometimes good and sometimes bad,” but rarely cause any trouble.
Dimopoulos first encountered the Penn tradition in 1985 when she opened a food cart on campus. In 2003, when she opened Greek Lady, a popular restaurant by 40th and Locust streets, she was even more affected by the whirlwind that is Fling.
“Every year we hope that Spring Fling comes and goes without trouble,” she said. She does appreciate student enthusiasm during Fling and hopes that students enjoy themselves.
She added that in preparation for Fling, Greek Lady hires more staff for the weekend and stocks its kitchen with more food for hungry Penn students.
Chipotle’s experience during Spring Fling is similar to Greek Lady’s.
“Sales go way up,” Dan Howlong, a manager at Chipotle, said. Howlong also said that he has spoken with managers from many of the other retail establishments near campus, and they all share similar experiences.
However, Howlong also said that “there are beer cans everywhere [and] it’s kind of annoying — [there are] a lot of drunk kids wreaking havoc in the restaurant.”
Howlong was not able to disclose any statistics related to sales, but he emphasized that “it affects business a lot.”
Erica Pike, an employee at Kiwi Yogurt, observed a similar phenomenon during last year’s Fling.
“There were a lot of drunk Penn students that came in,” Pike said. “They didn’t make much of a mess but they were pretty obnoxious.”
Pike said that in preparation for Fling, Kiwi hires an additional employee to work for the weekend.
Saxbys manager, Khwo Siung, added that during Fling, the cafe is “a little bit busier” with “more drunk students.”
The effect of Fling on the campus itself is usually kept to a minimum due to heightened security and maintenance.
“[Fling] does mean destruction, vandalism and things like that, but we try to keep all of that under control,” said an Operations and Maintenance worker at Facilities and Real Estate Services who was interviewed near Shoemaker Green. “We catch things early so small problems don’t become big problems.”
Students agree that Fling can be a difficult but rewarding time for local businesses.
Wharton senior Tori Manix explained that while she usually eats at barbeques around campus during Fling, she still frequents Allegro’s Pizza during this time.
“Stuff during Fling is pretty similar to the belligerence that happens on a normal Saturday night after midnight at Allegro’s,” Manix said. “I’m assuming they probably really don’t like it that much.”
“I just think that this weekend is worse because it is more people that don’t go out all the time, and so they don’t know how to handle themselves,” Maureen Flynn, a freshman in the College, added.
Flynn explained that it is common knowledge that “this weekend is a marathon, not a sprint.”
Despite the noise and drunkards that come along with Fling, the Greek Lady still eagerly awaits the weekend.
“We hope that everyone has fun, the weather is nice and everyone is safe,” said Dimopoulos. “I like the kids and Spring Fling is just more fun for them.”
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