The general consensus around campus seems to be that we all think that campus food and Dining Services suck. I would like to say that I wildly disagree and I think everyone needs to get some serious perspective around here. I will begin by listing three of the most frequent complaints that I hear about Dining and explain why I think these criticisms are ridiculously unreasonable:

1) The food does not taste good.
If you think the food here sucks you should go to a big state school with 25,000 kids and try the food there. We go to a school with 5,000 kids. That obviously means that food is served in bulk. Yet we get our food custom-made in front of us and hot off the grill. How do you want your sandwich made? You want peppers and onions with your steak and cheese? What do you want in your burrito? At big state schools with 25,000 kids, they make their burgers at 7 a.m., wrap them in foil and leave them out under hot lamps until midnight. They use Easy Cheese in their ravioli and fake meat in everything else. So can we really expect gourmet quality food? Get some perspective. How many people are in your family? Four? Five? Ten? What kind of meals are people eating at home? Can we seriously expect food like your mama makes it? I certainly don’t think so.

2) The food is not varied.
I have no idea why people think this. This is simply not true. When at home have you ever been given a choice of pizza, burgers, salad, chicken, sausage, sushi sandwiches, Mexican food, barbecue and pasta? There are around seven different types of burgers. There are 10 different types of sushi. You can choose what goes in your salad. You can choose if you want your chicken grilled or fried or barbecued. What more variety do people need?

At home every morning I had only one type of cereal to choose from whatever my mom buys. Here we have about nine different kinds of cereal and six different kinds of bagels, breakfast pastries and cookies, a breakfast grill and multiple flavors of milk of different fat variations. We have a Starbucks for coffee and almost every available type of soft drink. You can even choose if you want Coke in a bottle or a cup. And all this is not even including all the food at the Meliora or Hillside. What in the world are people talking about when they claim there’s no variety?

3) The Dining Services people are not nice.
We need to cut them some slack. At some point every person should work 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. at the Pit for two months and then we’ll all understand why it’s so difficult to smile. They work from 11 a.m. until 12 a.m., but closing ends at around 1 a.m. They go home and sometimes have to be right back in four hours to open at 8 a.m. The people working the grill or preparing sandwiches stand around for hours on end custom-making thousands of sandwiches. We really need that smile on top? They’re not waiters at a restaurant. We don’t tip them. They are not obligated or required to smile. This isn’t McDonald’s. We don’t get our money back if they don’t smile. They do their jobs and, in my opinion, they do it quite well. Moreover, for the sake of argument, I personally find them to be very approachable and easy to get along with.

Hopefully, the next time anyone is quick to complain, they will step back and realize that everything is really not that bad. People need to re-evaluate exactly where they’re coming from before they start hating on Dining Services and the food at UR.

Chen is a member of the class of 2011.

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