November 18, 2019

The Dining Hall

I am currently a college freshman working a job at Kokee Tea as barista, cashier, and ice blends. Throughout the first four months that I’ve been there, I got to learn a lot about the value of teamwork and being more aware of different styles of work that everyone there had. I’ve witnessed many workers come and go despite how long I’ve been around, either officially being asked to leave through a short email or willingly choosing to quit because of the unfair treatments that they went through at minimum wage. I feel like the acknowledgment of every employee’s efforts is important to create a better space and working environment that eliminates the idea of any possible bias towards certain people. I decided to examine this space because it shows that characteristics of a worker can be seen at any job, in places as simple as this location, and how privileges given to a person of a certain position don’t necessarily reflect a hard worker. 

The outside look of the dining hall.

The outside look of the dining hall.

Before walking through the first set of double doors that any Georgia State University student would come across, one would be confronted by the immediate view, provided by the transparent glass walls, exposing the interior setup of the dining hall. Past the second set of doors, the buzzing sounds from the machines that store food echoes calmly throughout the entire place as voices from those engaging in conversation, specifically those who were working, were muffled in the background. 

On one particular side of the dining hall, the light from the sun is dimmer and void of any windows. It’s the dessert section, located to the left of the entryway. There’s only a few students seated nearby, as it is still early in the morning, and the movement and sounds of the workers preparing food for the day were the only things that were distinctively noticeable. Standing in front of this section, there are two workers: one in a black uniform t-shirt holding a clipboard and another wearing just the Georgia State University’s signature blue color shirt. The one with the clipboard in hand seems as if she’s giving orders to the other worker beside her. They talk for a while before the worker in blue nods and leaves while the other one walks up to the counter of desserts to examine the area. She checks around, taking her time to scribble something down on her paper before proceeding to head in the direction where the worker in blue left. A few minutes later, the woman in black makes another appearance. This time she doesn’t have a clipboard in her hands and instead, grabs a few of the bowls in her hand from the ice cream machine. She calls over a guy in another blue uniform, who looks to be middle eastern, to the ice cream machine and tells him to refill the eating utensils in their holders. After that. she moves onto the breakfast area, perpendicular to the isle of entry and starts to wipe down the tables.

Straight past the desserts, parallel to the main aisle, is another food island that’s a few short steps from the dish dropping area. This time a large male worker, wearing a fresh white chef apparel, glancing around the food with a look of skepticism. He is holding a plate as he contemplates on taking a piece of bread from the counter. He unwraps the bag from the see-through cabinet, takes out a slice of bread, and then shoves the bag back where it was. He proceeds to walk over to the next island that serves mostly fried food. He observes the French fries, puts some on his plate and continues munching on the rest before disappearing to grab some more food on the other side. Minutes after he was last spotted, the chef starts walking towards the dish drop area. Despite his size, he moves in very slow strides and shuffles that seems as if his foot were lazily dragged across the floor. He comes out and stands next to a table of four. His hands are crossed as he stares at the students around him and those who just came in. He sees the woman in the black uniform by the breakfast area and makes his way to her, who is wiping down the tables. He walks up to her, starts up a small conversation, and then helps her pick up a used napkin lying on the table in front of him. He pulls up the trash bag so the trash could stay inside and stands there for a moment. He is looking outside the window, seeming to be lost in his own thoughts. He leaves her and speaks with another worker before shuffling out of the dining hall. 

The lady looks up after he leaves and notices people lined up at the entrance who don’t have their fingerprints in the systems yet. She quickly walked over with a smile, leaving behind the rag that she was holding, and let them in. She tells them to sign a sheet of paper on the counter at the entrance before immediately going back the table she left off to wipe down the table. 

I chose to examine this space to show how hard workers should be acknowledged even if they aren’t given any highly sought positions. In this space, there is a difference between the two workers and the way they work in the dining hall. The woman in the black shirt seems to be in constant motion and actively tries to find things that needs to be cleaned or inspected. The man in the white attire, although assuming a higher position that may only need to oversee that everyone is doing their job, shows a casual side of carrying out his tasks and isn’t really attentive when helping other workers. Business owners who acknowledge employees with good work ethics, and qualities that define a hard worker, would more likely assign people, who are more dedicated and dependable, to take over higher roles or give better payments.