Service Workers And The Apron Of Invisibility

Service Workers And The Apron Of Invisibility

How working in the dining hall taught me a lesson on gratitude.

Don't get me wrong. I love working at the dining hall. My student managers are endlessly entertaining, one of my shift partners may very well be my lost twin, and every screw up I make is always met with an empathetic "don't worry, I've done that a million times." Wheeling around carts filled with freshly cleaned plates also happens to be a surprisingly soothing study break. But there's something that bothers me every time I thread my ponytail through the back of my cap and tie that Princeton-orange apron around my waist — suddenly I become invisible.

I initially thought my awful cart maneuvering skills were to blame for the increased frequency of bumping into people. Soon, I noticed the trend of awkward path-crossing extended beyond when I lugged that giant tomb of plates behind me. People didn't make eye contact as I walked by, and they reached across me to grab cups and plates instead of waiting the fifteen seconds for me to finish up my refills.

"Sorry, I didn't see you there."

That was the line I heard the most when people would run into me, occasionally without the brief apology tacked on to the beginning. I would beam back an "it's alright" with my brightest customer service smile when I realized that one sentence summed up what I was feeling perfectly — I was in a busy game of bumper cars, but I also had to carry a pile of very breakable porcelain on my back and I was invisible.

In service, a funny distinction between strangers and workers is made, which I also found apparent during my summer job at a diner. If a stranger were to prepare your food, serve you dishes, or even offer you an extra set of silverware when you need it, you would most certainly thank them, provided you were raised with even an ounce of manners. I was at the dining hall the other day (not working a shift), when I removed an empty cup crate for the person waiting behind me and I was met with a friendly "thanks."

But when I find myself or my coworkers mounting crates of cups next to the drink machines, sweeping away marinara sauce and dropped salad greens, and trekking up the stairs with tubs of ice cream refills, I am most frequently met with a disgruntled look of "I'm upset that I have to wait a few seconds more to pick up a plate" and the rare expression of gratitude.

The obvious argument is that strangers are not paid to do the things workers are. But is it really that hard to not be an awful person and thank the people who pick up your trash and clean up your dishes?

And I'm just a student worker. The situation is amplified many more times for full-time workers and the service industry as a whole. These workers are the people we would much rather not pay attention to when we dine at restaurants or shop at malls, so we choose to pretend they are invisible. Just like how my Princeton-orange apron is a visual cue for people's line of sight to gloss right past me.

So I really am thankful for my time working in food service. It's taught me a fundamental lesson about kindness: we really can never be too kind to others. You never know when a tired Princeton student might feel inspired to write an article about you and how her apron of invisibility is a getting little worn out.

Cover Image Credit: University Press Club

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What 'The Drink You Bring To Class' Says About Your Personality

I think we're ALL #thirsty.

Sometimes it's a well thought out protein shake made in a blender bottle, a smoothie from a Nutribullet or a venti cappucino with 3 extra shots and a pump of caramel from Starbucks.

No matter what it is, we all have a preferred drink we bring to class.

1. Aloe water drink

You probably follow #fitspo trends on Instagram, but you're not sure if the drink is actually healthy or not. Sure, aloe on the outside of your body is good for it, so what happens when you drink it?

2. Very Large™ iced coffee

You tell your friends, "caffeine doesn't affect me!" but two hours later you're in class with tunnel vision wondering if the new boots you bought will go with your denim skirt.

3. Naked juice

I mean, it's made of sugar basically but you probably think it's the healthiest thing you can get at the convenience store on the way to class. Who needs Starbucks when you can juice your way to a 2,000 calorie diet?

4. Jamba Juice smoothie

It's a step up from a Naked juice but not any better. You probably also follow #fitspo accounts on Instagram and think that drinking a sugar smoothie will get you #swole. It won't.

5. Boba tea

Maybe you're an international student or maybe you're just an American who loves Asian culture, calls everything "kawaii" and can't live without pho. Or maybe you just picked one up on the way to class because a student group was selling them. That's cool too.

6. Unidentified colored liquid in a water bottle

Who knows. You're a complete mystery. It could be Emergen-c, it could be alcohol, it could be a flavored iced tea packet. We can't figure you out.

7. Soda

Your teeth are probably rotting or you don't care what people think of you.

8. Coffee from the pretentious shop on campus

Ugh, we get it. You pay for your coffee without using points. You're so bougie it hurts.

9. Water in a Nalgene bottle covered in stickers

Probably think you're so hip and cool, but no one cares. A sticker that says "Mind the Gap"? Soooo original, Sarah.

10. Gallon of water

Either you're a frat boy who lost a bet, or you just feel a great need to be hydrated. This doesn't make sense. Carry a water bottle like a normal human.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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How Watermelon—A Fruit—Became Oklahoma's State Vegetable



When someone tried to tell me that watermelon was the state vegetable, I giggled. Considering myself as someone who always takes the objective approach, I decided to the research. Google verified that watermelon was the state vegetable AS OF 2007.

I cannot even use time and ignorance as an excuse for this. When Oklahoma had mistletoe as the state flower in the 1800s, it was because mistletoe was not known to be a parasite that decimated precious tree populations. Once politicians found research proving that mistletoe was indeed a parasite, Oklahoma legislature decided to choose a new state flower that properly represented growth instead of poison within the environment. This is not necessarily the case with the state vegetable.

According to Don Barrington, the senator that sponsored A bill proposing for watermelon to be the state VEGETABLE said that the "controversy" had been solved. Apparently, the categorization of watermelon as either a fruit or a vegetable WAS AN IMPORTANT CONTROVERSY FOR THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF OKLAHOMA.

Sorry if you are reading and it feels like I am yelling by putting important phrases in all caps, but everyone needs to be alerted to the fact at HOW PREPOSTEROUS THIS IS. IF I CANNOT GET OVER IT, YOU CANNOT GET OVER IT, EITHER.

Turning back to the main point, we have had many important controversies that the Oklahoma legislature has had to handle with seriousness and wisdom. One includes fracking, and another includes our teachers not being paid enough to teach across the state of Oklahoma. Road construction has been another important issue amongst others. Therefore, there really was not a reason for AN ENTIRE BILL TO BE WRITTEN FOR WATERMELON TO BE CONSIDERED LEGALLY AS A VEGETABLE IN ORDER TO BE THE STATE VEGETABLE.

According to Senator Barrington, he claimed that watermelon was a member of the cucumber family, so it could, therefore, be a vegetable. However, he was met with dissent from a fellow senator who literally pulled out a dictionary and read it, proving that watermelon is considered to be a fruit everywhere else. Senator Barrington also boasted of how watermelon as a state vegetable would boost his "watermelon-growing Rush Springs constituency" since he apparently won a local contest for spitting watermelon seeds the farthest in 1994

Not only is it a problem when politicians ignore definitions IN THE DICTIONARY, but also the problem is cucumbers ARE ALSO NOT VEGETABLES. Senator Barrington claimed that watermelon had to be a vegetable because it is a part of the cucumber family. The issue with this is that scientists have classified cucumbers ALSO AS FRUITS, specifically fleshy fruits that are called Pepos. Therefore, Senator Barrington desired for watermelon to be considered as a vegetable under false claims that it could be a vegetable.

In 2015, Senator Nathan Dahm wrote a bill, Bill 329, to revoke watermelon's designation as the Oklahoma state vegetable. However, watermelon is still the state vegetable because we have many watermelon festivals and some politicians can win competitions for spitting watermelon seeds.



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