For the sake of clarity I’m just going to lay it out there for everyone to begin with. My name is Keely, and I worked in Glad for the entirety of last year. It’s got its ups and downs — you can find the silver lining to the fish patty if you look… but honestly, who wants to? Most people on dining aren’t particularly happy to be there, and they’re just looking to get out. Sure there are food-fights and cake batter to look forward to, but you can’t lick cake batter off your fingers if they’re covered in something spawned of cream cheese, cranberry juice and pasta sauce. Let’s acknowledge that these guys have got it rough.
For one thing, they work some tough hours. When you get up for breakfast at 7:30 and have to drag yourself across the room to put your clothes on, think about the kids who had to get up more than an hour earlier to make your breakfast. Those are the people you’re returning your slimy plates to through that window, and those are the people who have to sweep up the cereal you spill on the floor, or dig the cheese out of the crevices in the salad bar. Sticking your hands in everyone else’s discarded food, feeling your hair start to stick to your forehead and wondering whether it’s that splashed up dishroom filth (OJ, milk, ketchup etc) or just your own sweat…
Probably just about everyone here at Wilson has either worked in the dining hall or had a friend working there at some point. We were all freshmen once, kids, let’s take a minute to think back.
Okay so here are some things you can do to help. It isn’t a lot to ask, but it will make a big difference.
1. Stack piles of like dishes. Bowls in one stack, plates in another. It’s a lot easier to rack them this way.
2. Don’t dump out your beverage – the liquid just creates that nasty splash that ends up all over the person standing at the window. Trust me, it sucks.
3. Courtesy scrape, courtesy scrape, courtesy scrape. Grits + ketchup + yogurt + soggy cereal = very very nasty.
4. Try not to leave stuff on the tables. The dining crew isn’t a bevy of busboys. It’s really difficult to try to wipe down tables that are covered in dirty napkins and scummy plates. If you’re a messy eater, try scooping the shrapnel back onto your plate when you go to return it.
5. Don’t stay too late. The dishroom closes down so that people can get out in time for class, and that plate that comes in a half hour after the dishroom is cleaned up for the next shift is beastly.
6. General neatness. Try not to get the cheese in the tomatoes on the salad bar. Cleaning those tomatoes sucks.
7. Smile, say hi, sing along to the dishroom tunes. Make them a mix if you get tired of hearing Cake all the time.
It’s harder for those guys than you think, so do what you can to make life easy on them.