Northwestern Notes: Food service workers deserve respect; happy ones will give better service


Folks, let's talk maturity levels. Now I, like many a student, have witnessed the rather odd assortment of concoctions that swell from the bowls of Dining Services. I will admit that at times some of these creations scare me.

Why it was necessary to place scrod cod on our menu is still beyond my realm of reasoning. However, I may have a different point of view when it comes to these facilities, for I belong to that not-so-elite fraternity that can be seen droning away their lives in the exotic backdrops of our cafeterias.

They are collectively (despite gender differences) known as lunch ladies.

I often ponder the behavior of our student body as I wield my ice cream scoop into a mound of mashed potatoes. It baffles me to view the range of reactions I have received from my peers.

I know sometimes, when I am disguised in my oh-so-hip uniform, it's difficult to tell that I am a student. This has never really bothered me because I honestly don't have a problem with the label. But I have noticed to some individuals, this seems to make them believe that they are licensed to treat me as a subhuman beast of burden.

For the most part, our customers are great. But there are those select few who seem to take special pleasure in making life less enjoyable for others. I know that if I were to commit, in my house, some of the same acts I have viewed in the lunchroom, my mother would most likely come after me with a frying pan. I think many Midwestern matriarchs might have the same reactions, especially if they were to know that the fruit of their loins was making these same offenses in a public arena.

I also think that there is a discrepancy in some people's minds as to what our job description entails. Yes we are cooks, servers, dishwashers and some unlucky folks are even table wipers, but we most definitely are not waitresses.

Let me clear the confusion for those that still insist that they have the right to tableside service; you do not leave us tips and we, especially us students, are not paid well enough to be treated as such. This means that we are not obligated to pick up after you.

I know that at our level of education we should all be able to comprehend this. How difficult is it really just to pick up your tray and carry it to a garbage can, or send it on its merry journey into the dish room? All I am asking is for some common courtesy here.

I know many of you have probably worked in some not-so-desirable places too, so just try to remember this before your next run for food. It may be difficult at first to restrain yourselves from re-enacting scenes from classics like "Animal House," but just remember that in doing so your actions will not be forgotten.

A kind gesture can actually make a person's day. Think about it in a broader sense. Wouldn't you rather have a happy dining service employee than a belligerent one?

Write to Jessie at


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