As Cal students, we’ve all had to eat at the Dining Commons at one time or another. Even if we’re too “cool” to admit it, the warm — or perhaps cold, on purpose, but probably not — food has graced our bellies on a routine basis. This pattern usually ends after freshman year, but there are exceptions. Some sophomores or upperclassman have the distinct pleasure of living in the dorms for extra years. Whether you like it or not, that also usually comes synonymously with a meal plan. Out of habit and convenience, you might find that you’ll come wandering back to Crossroads — seemingly the most edible of all the dining commons — for a nice cooked meal. As a seasoned returner, you may notice things that you would not as a freshman. You may notice how everyone has their own strategic method of acquiring and carrying their food back to their table. It’s not something we think about that often or even plan extensively, but we all do it! Through what turned into a Crossroads case study of sorts (double alliteration!), we found that these food-gathering habits fell into 3 broad categories, all with their own advantages and disadvantages:
The EVERYTHING method: It’s what it sounds like. The users of this method try to get EVERYTHING that they would possibly want to eat — usually more — in one fell swoop.
Advantages: Once you get all the food your heart, and stomach, could possibly desire, you don’t ever have to get up for more! You’re blissfully planted for the duration of the meal. And if anything runs out while you’re eating? Sucks for everyone else, cause you planned ahead!
Disadvantages: For obvious reasons, this can turn into a logistical nightmare. Stacking a few plates in only two arms is a recipe for food fatality more often than not. If this is your jive, be careful and avoid any loose banana peels.
The I WANT EVERYTHING BUT I DON’T WANT TO CARRY IT ALL method: Is the everything method not working out for you, but you still want to have all the food you want before you start eating? Instead of carrying everything in one trip, the users of this method get one plate at a time and drop it off at their table before getting another.
Advantages: It’s the best of both worlds: the joy of lots of food all at once with the luxury of not having to carry it all at once.
Disadvantages: If your table-mates have decided to stick to this method too, your plates will be left unattended. Usually, it’s all a-okay! But there are rare cases of people stealing unoccupied tables regardless of whether there’s food on them or not. Jerks.
The TAKING IT SLOW method: So maybe you want lots of food, but not just all at once. Users of this method take it one plate at a time, and sit down to enjoy each plate before getting up to get another one.
Advantages: Sometimes a lot of food in a single spread is overwhelming. By taking it slow, users make sure that they don’t over-gauge their appetite. And since they’re keeping their own plates company, there’s no chance of anyone stealing their table … or their food.
Disadvantages: The only glaring thing is that if something runs out, they most likely will not be able to catch it in time. Bummer.
Of course, there are an abundance of different combinations of these methods in play all the time. Do you think this says anything about your character? Or do you have any food-gathering methods of your own? Let us know, and leave a comment below!
Image source: Matthew McVicar under Creative Commons
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