Be more considerate of dining employees when throwing away trash

August 29, 2017

Sarah Bubke

[email protected]

     Nothing is worse than than the feeling of a half-empty carton of juice splashing on your shoes as you empty a trashcan.

    As an employee of a restaurant, cafeteria or dining hall, dealing with the mess of unfinished juice is inevitable when liquids are carelessly thrown away in the garbage.

    We all know that it is polite to say please and thank you to dining staff, but do we think about what happens when we are done eating?

    Respectful dining etiquette is more than the simple conversation that comes along with purchasing your food. Customers should be sympathetic to dining staff and know the consequences of their actions, including what happens when liquids are thrown into the trash.

    Proper dining etiquette isn’t too much to expect when taking other people’s needs into consideration. Everyone has the ability to make things easier for workers in the food industry.

    With so many new students living away from home for the first time, it’s good to have a reminder on polite dining etiquette.

    Some students choose not to clean up after themselves when they are done eating. Some people might think that it is okay to make the dining staff clean up the mess, because it is a part of their job.

   This is a misguided belief.

    We have a responsibility to take care of our surroundings, to respect food service employees and other customers.

    The dining staff, many of which are students, is busy. Even though they work hard to be friendly and to serve customers as quickly as they can, circumstances might make it a challenge.

    Cassandra Montez, a junior early childhood education major, works for Sanatorium Grounds, the coffee shop located in University Center, Dwire Hall and Columbine Hall. She has to clean up after other students on a regular basis.

     “A lot of times people just leave their trash thrown around,” said Montez. “It’s a bit frustrating.”

    It is not okay to expect a food service employee to clean up a customer’s mess; it is not their job.

    Yes, they are paid to clean the tables between customers, but it is expected that students throw their own garbage away first. It is not a difficult thing to do.    

    An employee might be new and in training, they may be understaffed or there may be a large group of customers waiting to be served. When we take time to remember that the staff members are human, it is easier to empathize with them.

    While the problem is frustrating, employees like Montez have patience.

    “I know that a lot of the time it’s new students, so they don’t really know the expectations,” said Montez.

     When eating out, remember to be patient with staff. Clean up after yourself properly. Don’t leave trash for others to pick up. Put recyclables in the recycling bin and liquids in the sink. Accidents happen, but let a staff member know if something spills.

     “Just be more patient toward the beginning of the semester, and don’t come like five minutes before your class is going to start,” said Montez.

     When you are done, don’t throw your unfinished coffee in the trash.

     We are all adults now, so let’s act like it. We might even save someone’s shoes.