The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 57.0°F | Fog

Lack of concern leads to poor service at Lobdell

I am writing to publicly express my lack of satisfaction with ARA's management of Lobdell Dining Hall. Last Sunday I went in to eat at around 5:30 pm and, as I expected, it was crowded. So I picked the shortest line, in this case the sandwich line, and took my rightful place back by the ice cream freezer.

I waited five minutes before I moved a foot. I moved another foot five minutes later and looked up to the front to see what was taking so long. Only one person was working the line. Annoyed, I looked around to see if any of the other lines were moving any faster. It didn't appear so -- every line had just one worker serving it, and they all were moving slowly. The only exception was the grill, which had Nixon Lew, one of the managers at Lobdell, and another worker serving it. That too, however, was moving rather slowly.

I eventually got to the front and ordered a turkey sandwich on a bulky with lettuce. The worker then informed me that he didn't have any lettuce or bulky rolls and he couldn't leave to get them because there was no one else working. I grumbled something about the Soviet Union and ordered something else, and went to stand on the cashier line. They only had one cashier working, and the line wound around the soup station.

It was at this point that I went to the grill and told the manager to get on the stick and get someone to open up another register. He replied that the didn't have anyone else scheduled to work Sunday night, and he couldn't open one up since he was working the grill. The place where most of West Campus eats on the weekends, and there is only one cashier? I lost my temper and called him incompetent, whereupon he logically retorted, "No, you're incompetent." Apart from the rudeness of this statement, it says to me that this person does not care about the job he is doing; he is unwilling or perhaps unable to face up to the problems, situations, and responsibilities that go along with his job.

What we as students ask is not impossible to give: decent food and service at a reasonable price. The manager of MacGregor Dining Hall, Tim Hart, has done an excellent job in raising the quality of food and service at MacGregor compared to last term. He ask us what we think of the food, bounces ideas off of us, and listens to what we have to say. He organized an in-house committee to put together a survey and evaluate the food. He believes that he can work with the students instead of doing the minimum that ARA requires.

Though Lobdell handles many more people than MacGregor Dining Hall, it is the difference in attitude rather than the sheer volume of customers that makes a difference between the two. You can see it in the comments of the customers. Lately, the positive comments from students concerning the quality of the food and service at Lobdell have been few and far between. Attendance at meals at MacGregor has been increasing steadily, and the bulk of the comments state that there has been much improvement and the food is even, perish the thought, good.

I went back to Lobdell last Wednesday at about 6 pm and found the line for the one register that was open stretching back past the salad bar.

It isn't asking a lot to have workers on duty during the peak hours on weekends. It's asking even less to do the same during the week.

Paul Zelenetz '91->