Restoring the humanity of the Caf workers

Catherine Streng urges readers to treat Caf workers with respect.

Catherine Streng, Writer

Junior Leah Woodside serves a fellow Biola student food at the Biola Café during dinnertime. | Tomber Su/THE CHIMES


Does my face look familiar to you? Look closer. Yes?

Despite being a staff writer for the Chimes, you probably will not recognize me from my weekly photo in the newspaper. You may recognize me from my second job, though, where I spend several hours a week preparing and serving your meals and cleaning up after you. Surprise, I work in your cafeteria.

I have the job many people do not want. In fact, when telling most people I work in the cafeteria, the major response I receive is “Oh.. really?” added with a scrunch of their nose. Yes, really.

When donning on my black uniform for my next shift, I might as well be putting on Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak. Please do not look at your phone while pointing to what food you want. Do not worry, I am not Voldemort. You can look me in the eye, smile and use your words. Doing these things will make my shift a lot better and perhaps your plate will magically gain a bigger portion, too.

For those of you who ask me about my day as I serve you, I thank you. For those of you who take all your dishes to the dish area and the condiments back to the condiment area, I salute you. You make my shift easier and I am grateful. Please be careful when serving yourself. Every drop of food that ends up on the counter becomes another drop wasted.

I want to remind you that although I am serving you, I am not your slave, but your equal. Please do not treat me as anything less than a fellow student at your school choosing to make some extra money. This not only refers to me, but to any person working at a customer service job. Treat your waiters and waitresses, retail workers, government employees, janitors and anyone else you can think of with the respect they deserve. Even if you think the job lower than you, do not treat the workers as beneath you. At times I have witnessed fellow students become impatient with us or the chefs. I apologize if I leave the made to order station to refill the rice on the other side, but I cannot help it.

Despite this job not being the most glamorous in the world, I enjoy it. The enthusiastic co-workers I work with brighten even the worst days. The caring and thoughtful chefs who make your food speak to me in Spanish and ask me how my day is going. I consider Bon Appetit a family. Before putting down my job and fellow customer service workers, please remember that we are equal to you.


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