What one thing seems to be lacking on this campus? Respect for one another. What seems to be abundant is everyone?s perception that they themselves are entitled to respect.

Through my contact with students at The Common Ground Caf I have experienced this problem firsthand. A job I used to truly love has become unenjoyable. I know I could regain this love if I felt that people cared and respected the efforts that our employees make for them.

I make drinks and make my best effort to be accommodating and respectful to my fellow students. However, I find that they do not feel they need to reciprocate this action.


The ridiculous and childish messes, waste and defacement of the coffeehouse environment is disheartening.

It?s obvious why shredding stacks of napkins and piling little balls of paper all over the table and floor is immature or how spilling a drink without cleaning it up is just plain disrespectful and asinine.

When I come on shift, I want to feel good that I am able to interact with other UR students, serve them, and possibly make their day a little brighter.


Unfortunately, now when I come in and find messes like the ones above, it makes me question if people even consider that I am a student too. I pay the same $30,000 a year to attend classes and try to contribute to our campus just like them.

Yet it seems that because my co-workers and I work in food service, we deserve less respect than they do. The $6 an hour that the coffeehouse workers get paid does not make up for the disrespect that they have to deal with.

I would like the students of this campus to evaluate how they would like to be treated if they worked at the coffeehouse and then consider their current behavior. I think that many would find something amiss. We are not paid to be abused.

The typical debris and mess from traffic are things we don?t mind dealing with, but the majority of the time we must clean up far more than this. We are paid only to make your drinks and to clean up the expected clutter with the goal of hopefully making you smile.

Now, let?s look at the irony of the situation. Everyday I listen to people complain about how we are out of products, the drinks are overpriced, the attitude of the workers is poor and the environment needs to be improved.

Meanwhile, they shred their napkins, smear ketchup all over the walls and throw their discarded homework in the planters. They actually cause the very things they complain about.

You, the students who are making those immature and disrespectful messes ruin the coffeehouse?s ambiance for yourself and others. Those messes take a worker away from the line, meaning people get their drinks slower. Someone is taken away from ordering or repairs so inventory becomes a problem, and that same worker feels disrespected by the mess that was left. Who would not have trouble cheerfully serving you?

If you do the math, prices increase because the amount of labor goes up when someone has to clean up these messes. This adds five minutes to your latt wait time and means the workers must be paid for this time and the costs get passed on to you. You don?t have the selection to choose from because we don?t have the time, nor are we really motivated to go the extra mile for you. Thus, you only end up with the bare minimum of service.

All in all, the attitude and energy of our employees decreases.

The next time you complain about the service, prices or atmosphere, stop and think about the respect you think we owe you and give us a little back. Clean up, and don?t create unreasonable messes so that we can sincerely respect you and not just wear a fake hospitality smile.

Remember, we?re students too. These are lessons you were taught when you were in kindergarten. Respect us like you should any other human being and treat us how you would want to be treated. We really do want to make your day. So help not only us, but yourself, by showing us the respect we deserve. In the process you will be helping me love serving you again.

Johnson is a sophomore and student manager at the Common Ground Caf

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