The Getaway 2017

U of A introduces microtransactions to courses

It’s your third year on campus, second year in Education. You’re sitting in a first-year Physics super-section early on a Monday morning. You need this damn science credit. You take notes, even though it’s all in the Powerpoint anyways. You will fight for that A like it’s the last thing you’ll ever do.

Wednesday night, 9 p.m.: you have two hours before the online quiz closes. You’re not worried. You’ve done the work. A bowl of ice cream and a glass of wine (or three) later, you open up your laptop, log onto eclass, scroll and click to the page you need.

Question 1, done first try. Question 2, done second try (fuck). Question 3 … an error message pops up.

“Your records indicate that you have outstanding fees. Please navigate to the ‘financial holds’ screen on Bear Tracks to continue.”

What’s that about? A library fine, maybe? Just some system error?

You’ve made it to Bear Tracks, and another box pops up, this time sporting a smiling Guba with dollar signs in his eyes.

“STOP! Your course requires additional Downloadable Content to complete. Please input your credit card information to continue.”



“This Quiz costs: $1.99! Do you accept?”


“Are you sure? If you don’t take the quiz, you’ll end up with a C+.”

But you can do the exam, you tell the money-mongering bear on your laptop screen.

“But you won’t do all that well. You know this. Don’t lie to yourself. Take the cheap marks. Do the Quiz.”


You pay the fee, ace the quiz, and ($49.99 in miscellaneous fees later) pass the course with flying colours.

You log into Facebook, ready to mindlessly consume content now that winter break has hit.

A box pops up.

“To enhance the user experience on our growing platform, Facebook now requires a monthly donation of $10.99/month. The term and conditions follow.”

You exit your browser, scramble down to the river by Saskatchewan Drive, and as you stare out at those serene waters in melancholy and despondence, you have only two thoughts:

Eat your heart out, Golden Bears.

Eat your heart out, Zuckerberg.

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