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Sick of Hubbell inconveniences, allergy station

Jared Netley is a sophomore pre-pharmacy major and can be reached at jared.netley@drake.edu

Here it is. My complaints that I have had bottled up inside, and it has come to my attention that almost everyone has thought the same things as me. So, I have decided to make it public — well, TD public at least — to spread the word even more. You are my constituents, Drake, and I’m not even running for an office.

My first order of business is this thing we call Hubbell Trouble. Does making it rhyme really make it better? No, it doesn’t. One thing I have going for me is I am not a first-year, meaning I actually knew a time when Hubbell was actually BETTER! All this standing in lines crap makes me what to punch someone in the face — jokingly, of course. Why can’t we serve ourselves or have faster servers? Does it really take that long to scoop corn onto a plate? If it really comes down to it costing less because there is less waste, then I am more than welcoming to pay a little more for the food. Maybe we can move up to a 3-star Sodexo dining hall? Also, is it that surprising that people eat at noon? I think it is common sense, yet they run out of food in the first 10 minutes! Make more hamburgers or pizza; get the food out so I don’t have to wait. I have way more important things to do than stand in a line — maybe chemistry? Also why can’t I get 20 ounces to drink at North? Pop is cheap, so why can’t I get more? I go back for refills, so mathematically speaking, that is 16+16=32, and 32 > 20. One thing I have also yet to figure out is why we need two salad lines. Two sandwich lines make more sense to me. They spend more time handing people fruit than making salads.

Now, finally to the topic that this article is named for, the allergy station. I am sure everybody has tried to fake an allergy to get the “better” food. Yet, the thing we don’t think about is how long that food has been sitting out. I have friends that actually have an allergy and require food from that line, yet they still choose to find other food options. Why? Because the food is cold! There is no rotation from what is there, and we are stuck with the cost of paying for it. Ever wonder where the cereal went? The cost of the allergy station, and fear that gluten cereal will kill someone, makes it only available during breakfast. The crazy thing is that the cereal was the best tasting food there most days.

While others may find comfort in making their own Hubbell creations, I am not sorting through knives to find the sharpest one so I can cut my apple. While the concept may be grand, it doesn’t make sense to me to stand in every line to get a few ingredients to end up making my own food. I could do that without leaving my hall. Consider yourself lucky that we can still wear condoms, because unlike the latex scare of 2011, I don’t see Drake doing anything to find a cure to my allergy of discontent. Just remember to keep it classy Drake, just like at Saturday night Hubbell.

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5 Comments

  1. Tiffany Williams March 1, 2012

    As a worker at hubbell I have to say that the disregard for the workers and the difficulty level is appalling. When he can stand for hours dealing with the fact that behind the counter its hotter than hell, dealing with annoying people making your job more difficult, and actually trying to keep a line moving then I’ll let him talk. The reason why the lines are longer is so that the food is fresher instead of being prepared early and then sitting in a heater for 3 hours. And the allergy thing, though somewhat understandable, is a no win no matter what because if we cook their needs to order then they complain about waiting too long. We already pay too much to go here, I’m not gonna pay more so that everyone can have gluten free food. Although I will be the first to complain about the quality level of sodexo food, I really don’t believe that this guy has any room to be saying anything until he’s tried it from the other side.

  2. TJ March 1, 2012

    I’m going to have to agree with Tiffany here. I think you should think about what it’s like to work there before you judge too quickly. If the lines go any faster that’ll reduce the quality to less than it is now which would be unedible. I’m not spending more money either to afford more gluten free food when most people can have gluten foods.

    I will admit though that the latex thing is ridiculous. If you have a latex allergy we shouldn’t have to pay for it. Latex paint for Relays 2012!!!

    Also with the cups thing. It isn’t about pop cost it’s about cup and waste cost. I’ve talked to Sodexo and you would not believe the waste that goes on with cups. Shifting to a smaller cup reduces waste a lot. Are you really too lazy to walk 20 feet to get a refill?

  3. D March 1, 2012

    Tiffany, if working at Hubbell is really that difficult maybe you should shed some light on that part. And really what I got from this was complaints about the quality and quantity of foods available. Part of the cost of going to Drake is the food (especially if you live on campus). Maybe if organizations were allowed to have events with non-Sodexo food, they might have to step their game up and improve the quality of their products and the delivery of the products.

    In regards to longer lines, Sodexo can easily fix it. Hire more people or anticipate the popular food items that people are going to want so those items can be prepared beforehand so that at certain points as it runs low it can be cooked and cooked faster because the items are prepared. It really just sounds like Sodexo is disorganized and doesn’t have anyone that’s actually managed a restaurant running things there.

    Another option would be to discontinue Sodexo altogether, increase the number of partnerships in the area that will take “Bulldog Bucks,” and go to a strictly Bulldog Bucks system. Cut Sodexo out until they can make themselves useful. If going to Bulldog Bucks isn’t a viable option, well, then, looks like Drake should look at different food service providers.

  4. Disgusted March 1, 2012

    I am sad to read this article for one main reason. You are acting like a spoiled child who didn’t get his way. You are complaining about cold food, when you could have no food at all. You are complaining of waiting in long lines when you at least are served food in a climate-controlled building; a commodity most people in the world do not have the pleasure to experience. If you are worried about the food here, suck it up. At least you have the option of filling up your stomach with food and a place to eat this food away from the weather. Be thankful, not ungrateful. Reading this makes me sad. I thought Drake students were better than this.

  5. Anonymous March 1, 2012

    Jared, first and foremost, I want to applaud you for actually bothering to write something up about Hubbell. I feel like every single person who has had a meal plan here at Drake University has some sort of complaint, and it is nice to see that someone is actually taking a little initiative and sending something in. Maybe you’ll get a little attention from the right people, who knows.

    That said, I would like to address this issue of standing in line. Jared makes his complaint with the workers here. As a regular (and by regular I mean “only when I have to”) attendee of Hubbell, I will admit, there have been times that I’ve experienced a slow server or two. However, I have a sneaking suspicion that no matter HOW fast the servers could be, there would still be lines. I would argue that it is the size and the layout of the dining hall rather than the servers that are the problem. Hubbell South is frustratingly old, and I don’t think it is meant to accommodate the amount of people who actually use it, especially during the weekday dinner rush. The area is congested, lines overlap, and you end up with 50 hungry people waiting on one poor sweaty employee.

    I do think there is a lot of merit to self-serve stations, especially in the salad bar. However, Tiffany makes a point about the food being “fresher.” The thing is, it doesn’t taste terribly fresh as it is, and I’m 90% sure that leaving something in a heater for an hour or so isn’t going to have a very detrimental effect on quality. If Hubbell simply anticipated the more popular food items, and always had one or two extra batches ready to grab in the heater, there wouldnt be a problem. Does that make sense? I really do feel that D has a point when he/she says that Sodexo seems disorganized. I’ve gotten that impression on many occasions, and I think it needs to be fixed.

    Parting from Hubbell, briefly, I have something to say about TJ’s (and Jared’s) latex comments. While it does feel pretty ridiculous and annoying to follow all of these precautions, I think you all need to take a step back and put yourself in this person’s shoes. There is a difference between laughing about how silly the precautions seem and being actually outraged by them. First of all, none of you are “paying” for this person’s allergy! In fact, I can almost guarantee you that this “Latex Scare of 2011” hasn’t caused you any personal inconvenience at all. The person with this latex allergy is simply someone who wanted to go to college like the rest of us. Drake University can’t deny someone admission based on an allergy, and this person, I’m guessing, doesn’t want to die. The precautions seem crazy, but the person can’t exactly HELP having the allergy, and I bet you anything that they would kill to get rid of it, especially after all of the comments you guys make.

    Back to Hubbell. Tiffany. I understand why you would be upset about Jared’s comment on the workers, but I don’t think you need to be so personally affronted. I have seen and heard from several sources that you’ve been venting about this on MULTIPLE social networking sites. Really? Hubbell is a food service. It is a job. It is about as hard as working at McDonald’s. It may be crappy, hot, loud, and stressful, but it isn’t HARD, and there ARE some slow workers. About your comment about Allergy customers. I personally don’t think they should have to deal with cold food OR waiting forever. Perhaps having one meal out for display, and having a couple in a heater would be better? They won’t be any more or less fresh than what’s been sitting out on the counter, but they’d sure be warm, and you’d probably cut down on the amount of people who try to fake allergies to get it. It shouldn’t be a lose-lose situation, especially when people are paying so much for a meal plan. It shouldn’t be such an awful thing to expect a little more for their money.

    Furthermore, on the gluten allergy! Do ANY of you understand what a gluten allergy is? Gluten is not something that you can get close to and enter into anaphylactic shock if you have an allergy. A gluten allergy means that when you EAT it, you can’t digest it, and you get sick. I don’t know where Jared got his information about the cereal, but it seems to me that if someone had a gluten allergy, they wouldn’t be trying to eat the wheat-based cereal. Additionally, it doesn’t make sense that Sodexo would have to cut back on things in order to make an Allergy station. Hubbell is a food service, not a restaurant. Drake University pays them for the level and type of services. Adding an allergy station would probably cost DRAKE more, not Sodexo, and either way, cutting back on cereal wouldn’t save them any money….cereal is cheap. And again…none of you are personally paying for this, you’re just paying for access to the food itself.

    Personally, I think it is great that Hubbell is trying to cut down on waste, but I also have suspicions that this might be a cost-cutter veiled as a “green move.” If Hubbell really cared about cutting back on wastes, they would be using dishes instead of disposable EVERYTHING, they wouldn’t have so much individual packaging, and they would have plastic cups…not paper ones. Or maybe they could even start putting their food in recycled paper containers. Either way, I don’t think the new cup sizes should really be that upsetting to anyone. Getting up and getting a refill isn’t terribly difficult, and either way, the less soda the better it is for you, and we all keep complaining about how unhealthy Hubbell is, so there you go.

    Finally I want to address TJ’s suggestion of switching to “Bulldog Bucks” only. TJ, you can be my guest on that one. If all the underclassmen that rely on a meal plan want to go off campus and spend all of that meal plan money on local restaurants they can, but you get a LOT less for your money, and eating out every day is going to give you more than the standard Freshman 15.

    As far as Drake getting another food service, that probably won’t be happening anytime soon. Sodexo is the reason we have the new Hubbell North. They help fund a lot of “improvements” or so I’ve been told. Either way, Sodexo is pretty standard in most private colleges and universities (especially in the Midwest). One thing I’m confused about is how places like Creighton have Sodexo but ALSO delicious food, and we are in our situation. Some sort of revisions need to take place in the dining hall world, and I think Jared was right to bring these things to public attention.

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