People generally fall into two categories after they finish their meals and leave the Ratty. There are “Sorters” and there are “Rackers.” The Sorters clear the leftover trash on their plates, separating paper waste from food waste, and place their dishes, cups, and silverware into the appropriate containers. The Rackers shove their miscellaneous plate-cup-food-trash stacks onto the tray towers adjacent to the sorting system.
During breakfast at the Ratty on Monday I sat near the sorting/racking station and kept track of who racked and who sorted. To my surprise, the split was dead even. As I sorted my own plates, I left the Ratty disappointed that half of Brown students were too lazy to take six seconds to make the jobs of the men and women at Dining Services a little easier.
When I brought up this phenomenon to a friend who happened to be a Racker, he defended himself: If sorting really made life that much easier for kitchen staff, why do they even have racks out in the first place? So after my next meal I went into
lazy investigative journalism mode and asked the same question the first conveniently available BDS employee I saw, Arlindo.
He told me that sorting makes it a lot easier for the people in the kitchen. The racks are there for people who are “in a rush to get to class,” or are physically disabled and would have trouble sorting themselves. As he was speaking, a group of five or six chatting freshmen girls unloaded about a dozen trash filled plates onto the racks. I looked at the group and back at Arlindo.
“See, they are probably in a rush,” he said. The girls returned to their table.
Despite Arlindo’s unflagging faith in the intentions of Brown students, it’s safe to say that few Rackers are actually in a rush. The Brown Dining Services employees work hard so we can have readily available, edible food, a basic need that many of us are too lazy to meet ourselves. So Rackers, I urge you to show a little gratitude to those who put food in your mouth, and consider coming over to the Sorter side for at least a couple meals a week—but even if you don’t, take pride in the fact that you’re still better than the Leave-shit-on-the-tablers.