Chartwells employees deserve appreciation

Julia Perkins

Like most students, eating Chartwells food is not my favorite part of attending Quinnipiac. However, I always enjoy going into Café Q or the Bobcat Den, more commonly called the Ratt, because the workers never cease to cheer me up.

The Chartwells workers do not treat me like just another student they have to see at some boring job. They smile when I come to their counter and ask how my day has been. I feel like they know me better than some of my professors. They expect to see me overflowing my cup with ice every night before the cafe or the Ratt closes. Before I open my mouth, they spoon plain pasta into a bowl or put together a sandwich with just turkey on a roll because they memorized my food order.

At most food establishments, employees are kind to their customers because they have to be. If an employee is rude, the customer could choose to eat somewhere else next time or refuse to leave a tip.

This is not the case at Quinnipiac. For freshmen and sophomores without kitchens on the Mount Carmel campus, Café Q or the Ratt are the only food options. If the Chartwells employees were rude, all students could do was grit their teeth and return to the dining halls each day. The Chartwells workers are not being kind because they want to impress us or make more money. They are friendly because they are good people.

Chartwells employees work nights and weekends and must come to campus even when the roads are covered in snow. During the super storm Nemo in February 2012, 10 Chartwells employees even stayed in a nearby hotel so they could keep students fed. This Sunday, Chartwells employees will work on Easter to serve the students who will stay on campus.

Obviously, this is part of their job description, but this does not mean students should take what the Chartwells workers do for granted.

Many students do not notice Chartwells employees. Especially at Mondo’s Subs in the Ratt, students move through the line with barely a glance or smile at the Chartwells workers. Students only look up from their phones after the Mondo’s worker loudly repeats if they want tomato on their sandwich.

I worked at a Dunkin Donuts last summer and while many of the customers were sweet and friendly, others acted as if my coworkers and I were not human. They approached the counter on their phones and told me their order in between the conversation they were having with their friend. Not only did this mean I misunderstood their order, but it also made me feel as if I were an inconsequential fixture in their lives. I did not appreciate being treated like a robot meant to do someone else’s bidding and Chartwells employees must feel the same way.

Yes, students say “please” and “thank you,” but being truly grateful goes beyond extending common courtesies. It means treating people like they are human beings. On campus, we see Chartwells workers more than we see our own family. It is so simple to ask a Chartwells staff member how his or her day has been or if he or she had a nice weekend. Students do not have to go out of their way to show Chartwells workers they are appreciated.

This goes for all retail, fast food or convenience store workers. Just because someone stands behind a counter and wears a uniform does not mean he or she deserves any less respect than a professor, businessperson or friend.