If you read The Anchor last year, it’s likely that you probably read a whole page article about things that people do in Phelps Dining Hall that make me mad. Well, despite how many people talked to me about this article, and how many issues of that Anchor went out, many of you still don’t understand some simple things that could make life easier. To the freshmen reading this, you guys have a bit of an excuse, as you weren’t here last year. But, some of the stuff you do is still super aggravating. So all of you nerds listen up and take notes because I’m going to give you some lessons in how to be a decent person to your local Dining Hall employees. Prepare for Phelps pt. 2 Electric Boogaloo.
Now, similar to last year, I’m going to take you on a journey in your dining hall experience. Buckle up kids. The first thing that you’re going to do is enter Phelps and swipe your card. Sometimes you’ll notice that there are people in line in front of you who are getting boxes and take-home cups for their meals, so that they can leave with it instead of having to eat in the building. Freshmen, these things are not for you unless you live off-campus. You have to be a Junior, with a certain amount of credits, or live off-campus to qualify for a take-home box. If you do not meet these qualifications, don’t get upset when we don’t give you a box. That’s not how this works.
Next, you’re going to be going to get your food. I know that all this food can look pretty crazy sometimes, and many times you’ll be curious as to what the entree items are. Luckily for you people, who spend an unbelievable amount of time behind television and computer screens, we have televisions with the menus listed on them. You’re super good at watching TV, but you seem to really struggle to look at them when we want you to. And yes, we understand that the time is no longer on some of the TVs, but there isn’t anything we can do about that.
And when you’re getting food from the Salad Bar, or the Pizza station, please use the utensils. We reuse the trays that the pizza is put on, so you putting your grubby hands all over is really not helping anybody. Also, dear friends, there are some among you who have allergies that are very dangerous. This is why “The Zone,” colloquially known as “The Allergen Station,” exists. However, in this station, we are required to avoid other allergens that may potentially kill these people with severe allergies. That’s why we give you a new plate instead of taking the one you have your mac-and-cheese or mashed potatoes on. It’s not to make your life harder, it’s to try to keep other people safe. The least you could do is stop complaining.
However, every other station can put food onto that plate that you are so devoted to toting around. Well, that is unless your plate has already been eaten off of. There are only a couple of super basic rules that will apply to these situations.
The first is that we can put food on a clean plate, or one that has some uneaten food on it, but we’re not allowed to touch it. It’s a sanitary thing. We’re not going to get our gloves dirty touching a plate that has been all over your hands that have touched an unknown number of disgusting things. So, yes, we’ll put the food onto that plate, but you have to hold it up close so that we can actually reach it with the spoon.
The second is equally simple. If you ate off of that plate before, we’re not putting more food onto it. Your nasty germs from your nasty mouth that were all over your now nasty spoon and fork are all over that plate. We don’t want it on our serving utensils.
Eventually, you’ll have your food, and you’ll be wanting a drink. When you want a drink, but the employee is stacking the cups, do that employee a favor and get a cup from the stack of trays, don’t just take the cup that employee just stacked. That’s literally just making both of your lives harder. His because he has to do extra work, and yours because of your body contortion trying to reach that cup. Also, when the milk doesn’t come out of the machine, chill and check for an “out of order” sign on that machine. I watched ten students try to get milk out a machine that said “out of order” on it the other night, and it really started to make me lose hope. Now that you’ve checked, if there is no sign telling you to leave the milk alone, turn around. The employee probably has the milk and is waiting behind you, patiently waiting for you to get out of the way so he can change it. If you’ve checked, and he isn’t behind you and there is no “out of order” sign, again, chill, there are two other milk machines in the hall, just walk to a different one. It’s going to be okay bud.
Now, you’re probably sitting down. Did you know that in order for the floor to look as clean as it does, someone had to vacuum it? Guess what makes vacuuming harder? When people throw food, such as your grapes and carrots. These things are just large enough that the vacuum can’t pick them up. Employees have to walk around and pick all of these articles of food up by hand. You’re throwing them is the most sadistic, rude and thoughtless thing you can be doing at any dining hall at any time. Please, please stop. In the years I’ve worked at Phelps, I’ve picked up enough carrots, nuts and grapes to feed a village in a third world country for a month, minimum.
Guys and gals, you can do this. I really believe you can. The dining hall experience can be an enjoyable one for both yourselves and the employees who work there. The times that the dining halls are open, the foods they serve and the different rules are made by Hope College, not by the hall specifically, and definitely not by the employees. If you could stop complaining to them about everything, that’d be super great. Remember though, the people working there are doing so as a job, not as a enjoyable side activity. You don’t have to go out of your way to make their lives easier, just please stop actively trying to make life hard.