Let’s All Do Better With The Dining Hall Dessert

by Abe A.

I generally don’t like being treated like a second grader, and certainly not some sort of inmate, so I was ill-flattered, and then totally irritated, while walking up to the cookie platter in the dining hall at lunch on Wednesday.

There has long been a decree in the dining hall that each student only take one piece of dessert, and that’s fine. Desserts are – unfortunately – typically unhealthy and not exactly the kind of food you want students eating in the middle of the school day.

There also frequently isn’t enough dessert for everyone, sometimes not even enough for everyone in the high school to have one piece.

Hence the piece of dessert per person rule. The problem isn’t with the rule. It’s the way it has recently been enforced.

And there is certainly a surreal quality to this discussion, since it is cookies we’re talking about – and most people just grab their cookie and move on.

But on Wednesday, when I walked over to grab a cookie, I was greeted by a Bon Appetit employee first with the typical, “take one, use the tongs,” message, then a threat, “if you don’t, we’ll take away your privileges like we did with the Middle School,” and finally a display of irascible anger so out-of-place that I would have been offended if my eyes weren’t rolled so far back in my head.

You see, one student had grabbed two cookies – one for a friend, who was standing just behind the first student. That elicited a response from the Bon Appetit employee that had either been charged, or taken it upon himself, to lord over the cookies so furious that he actually lunged forward at the student.

And that kind of behavior is just begging someone to grab the platter of cookies and run off with it.

Now, I understand that Bon Appetit wants the policy enforced, and enforcing the policy is the most thankless of jobs. Some students – not a majority, but enough – are difficult, and there’s an extent to which these people are “just doing their jobs.”

By all means, students aren’t blameless. The problem with how the rules are being enforced is the pettiness. When Peter Langely makes an announcement about dessert, you know he means it. You also know he knows he’s talking about dessert.

If students aren’t treated like they’re responsible, they won’t act responsibly.

Students, on the other hand, need to earn that respect.

This isn’t a big deal. It’s cookies. But I think we can all do a little better.