The Brandeis dining staff—worth taking a bullet for?

September 11, 2020

    Sodexo—some of us love it, some of us hate it. Actually, wait, no take that back, all of us hate it. But regardless of our unanimous opinion on the food and the fact that we all know Sodexo is only here because the coronavirus forced Brandeis to stay with the dining they had and not change over in uncertain times, the food service workers at Brandeis are all people I would gladly take a bullet for. They have given me two pies when I only asked for one, four brownies when I only asked for three and they have been there for me at 2 a.m. in the C-Store when no one else was.  But recently, they launched a coordinated attack on me and now I no longer know how I feel about them: I am not sure anymore if I would take a bullet for them. 

About a week ago, I was walking into Sherman as usual—ready to get food and get out. Unfortunately, they ran out of paper bags that day and I had to carry my food in my hands. Now, if you have seen me in the dining halls you know how many of those stupid boxes I have to carry around. Warning: just in case you haven’t seen me with them, it’s a lot—it’s a mountain of to-go boxes. So due to my inability to moderate my food consumption, I had to ask for a bag. The staff diligently ran into the back with halos above their heads to search for one for me and while they did that, I put my food down near the grill station. Right on the edge between the grill and pasta station, the edge where their apparent halos would become horns. 

I stood there and awaited their return as if they were Prometheus giving me fire and at that moment a worker at the pasta station knocked over the Plexiglass divider. It came toppling down and took out a bamboo plant with it. Everyone immediately stepped back and, in that moment, I thought I would help out. Considering parts of the Plexiglass broke off and the bamboo plant was in a million pieces all over the floor I began picking up parts of the porcelain pot that the bamboo was in. This is where the coordinated attack happened and my life changed. All the workers in Sherman instantly surrounded me; I was flanked by three waves. One coming from in front of me (the staff at the grill and pasta station), one from my back left (the workers from the salad station) and one from my back right (the head of Brandeis Dining) all surrounding me now as if I was pig they were going to slaughter in a cult ritual. 

Little did I know that this was exactly their plan. They laid their hands on my shoulders and told me to stop cleaning up, saying “it’s okay.” I was taken back because I didn’t knock it over so I said, “yeah it’s an easy clean-up; I just want to help, I feel bad that it got knocked over.” This is where their flanked maneuver worked with tactical precision, with eight workers around me they all began to tell me that it was okay to be clumsy, that it was okay to knock things over and make a mess. The worker that DID knock over the divider looked me dead in the eyes and told me, “I knock stuff over all the time, this morning I made a mess in a grocery store.” To which I thought, “Yes, I am sure you did, you do make messes! You did just make this one.” But alas, their attack worked on me, everyone thought I made the mess and the dining staff was all laughing at me as I quickly ran out of Sherman without a bag for my food and without my pride. In fact, it was so successful that as I was leaving, I even thought, “wait, did I actually knock over the plant?” But I stayed resolute in my purpose and reminded myself that I did not knock it over and that I was made the victim. 

I was obviously not their first victim; this was too well done for me to be the first but the scary thought is that I will not be the last. There will be another Brandeis student one day who will find themselves in a similar situation and the dining staff will again pawn their mistake off onto them. I can only conclude from this experience that the Brandeis dining staff are angels when everything is going well and devils when they can shovel off their mistakes on you. So, would I still take a bullet for them now? The short answer is yes, they will always be worth taking a bullet for. Those people are doing God’s work feeding us college Neanderthals, but I now know that the second something gets knocked over—I won’t be anywhere near the scene next time.   

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