Unwritten dining hall etiquette
Published: Thursday, September 12, 2013
Updated: Thursday, September 12, 2013 00:09
The UConn dining halls are a casual, easy going place for students to enjoy a meal and socialize amid frantic schedules and in solace from the stress of schoolwork. But like every public place, there are standards of etiquette that should not be ignored.
Anyone who eats their dinners at South has noticed the snaking lines and overcrowding that has occurred the past few weeks. Finding a table can be difficult and some students will be circling the area like searching for a parking place in downtown Manhattan. When space is tight, kindly get a table that matches the size of your party. If you’re a group of two at a long table that seats eight, and a group of that size comes along, be courteous and relocate. The beauty of south is it offers trays, moving is just a matter of getting up and walking. There is also the practice of reserving seats with backpacks and sweatshirts, which is acceptable; but keep in mind there are plenty of people looking for seats who came in lightly clothed and empty handed. But whatever you do, don’t try to reserve a seat with electronics. People will steal your spot, and your iPhone.
Waiting for food is something nobody likes to do, especially when it’s fresh and within smelling distance. To keep the lines moving, don’t take 30 seconds scooping an obscene amount of food at one station, that’s what multiple helpings are for. Also, don’t answer a text while standing idly in front of the fried chicken. And instead of taking three minutes to delicately coat you bagel with cream cheese; just get one large scoop, slap it onto the bread, and spread it at your seat. In the pizza line at McMahon, respect the line if you take two slices, which you shouldn’t – don’t say the other is for a friend, you’re not fooling anybody.
Cleaning up people’s food is not a glamorous job, so respect the dish room workers and their very simple set of rules. Throw your silverware in the chute, don’t stack your plates and don’t needlessly stuff used napkins into cups. The person who has to fish those out doesn’t get paid nearly enough. Also, we’re all adults. We all should be beyond pranks involving the salt and paper shakers and pouring liquid into the napkin dispensers.
There is also the occasional occurrence of a plate slipping out of somebody grasp and breaking on the floor. It’s a highly embarrassing moment that automatically turns everybody’s heads. There is nothing ruder than applauding, shouting “Opa” or giving any sort of wry acknowledgment. Just be civil, and let the moment slide away.