An Argument for Being Served

A second response to negative reviews of the new Caf Policy

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In the new semester, the least popular change seems to be that we are no longer able to serve ourselves on the cafeteria’s Main Line. Indeed, student feedback, in the form of caf napkins, has erupted in anger over the lack of self-service. Among other things, the impression I get is that the sources of anger include, but are not limited to: the inability of diners to select the exact portion of food they want, the fact that diners feel like they are at the age of five, and that there is a deviation from the status quo. In this case, however, some of us have failed to see why serving ourselves is not as bad as we make it out to be.

The most positive change is that we no longer serve ourselves on a pigsty, also known as the tray glides. If we recall, the tray glides at the Main Line used to be absolutely disgusting. Remnants of food found themselves settling on the very same tray glides that we used for sliding our plates. At best, running into remnants of old chicken tenders while serving ourselves was unclean. At worst, the old way of serving ourselves was a health hazard, in the form of the spreading of germs. Now that caf workers are serving us, the tray glides are much cleaner, and the threat spreading germs is much lower than it used to be. This is a change for the better.

One argument from the self-serve side that seems silly, though, is that it is somehow revolting that workers are serving us. I do not see what is revolting about being served, especially since we get served at The Grill and The Kove. Others do not think that there is anything revolting about being served at either place, so why do we have a different attitude about being served on the Main Line? Some people on the self-service side will probably argue that it is silly to compare the Main Line to The Grill and The Kove, since they are “different” establishments than the Main Line. That is true to an extent, but the concept of being served by employees is the same. Since this concept of serving us is no different at the Main Line than at other parts of the caf, I really do not understand what the big fuss is over.

Does this mean that the system of employees serving us at the Main Line is flawless? Of course not! Even I will admit that workers sometimes serve me too little or too much food. When you are served too much, it is also a sustainability problem because it means that food is getting wasted. However, based on my personal experiences of being served on the Main Line, the caf has become better (but still not perfect) with these problems. However, even though the current system is imperfect, it is an exaggeration to say that this is some revolting and unjust change.