You Can Dish It Out, But You Can’t Take It

Seen this poster recently? It’s a campaign designed by College Communications to get students to bring back their dishes to the dining hall. The funny lookin’ 2-D graphic at the bottom is a QR-code (to be scanned by your smart phone) linking to this video (below) for the debut of “Aunt Des.” Is that the fictional-mob-boss equivalent of like Tim Spears or something? Director of Dining Services Matt Biette is not portrayed as the ultimate dining purveyor (thank goodness) — even he answers to higher powers. The video’s ominous “to be continued” means there’s more to come in the Aunt Des saga — which student will get their neck rung by her? At the very least, I think Aunt Des should have run-in with the one-and-only Vincent A. Jones for this video series to take off. Props for new tactics in the annual dish fight but it remains to be seen if this campaign will help the big problem of missing dishes.


31 thoughts on “You Can Dish It Out, But You Can’t Take It

  1. You can’t expect every student to have the time to sit down for 20 mins and eat in the dining hall. It takes long enough to wait in line during the lunch or dinner rush.
    And obviously you can’t expect students to bring plates back.


    Make paper plates and take out boxes available to those who want to use them.
    It’s not going to fulfill the fantasy of a perfect world where plates come back and trash is nonexistent. But it’s a practical solution that I suspect will cost less than $50,000/yr.

  2. At UC Berkeley, the public university that is on the left coast, the cafeteria charges 50 cents for take out boxes/cups/plates if the student wants to take the food to go. The State of CA cannot afford to pay hundred of thousands of $ for disappearing dishes and neither does Middelbury College.

    BTW, for half a dollar, the takeout boxes are not only convenient, they are also compostable and environmentally correct.

  3. honestly is it that hard to let students take out food? I can’t imagine paper plates or letting students use their own bowls/dishes would end up costing 50,000. This is an easy problem to solve and the school refuses to do anything about it. I wonder how much this video cost… at least 2 minutes of my life.

  4. Why don’t you just pony up the 50 grand, anonymous, and the problem is solved.

    And I find it particularly revealing where you choose to cast your blame–It’s the school’s fault, not those parties who choose to walk out of the dining halls with plates and bowls and irresponsibly choose to deposit them wherever they please.

    I mean, really, in what world is it ok to take someone else’s property and discard it, with no regard for anyone but one’s self?

    If this video effort does nothing else than raise awareness to an issue that runs deeper than the loss of dishware, then I say Bravo.

  5. Talk about an attitude of privilege! Not only is it outrageous that some think it is OK to walk out with dishes and not return them, or leave them in recycling bins, or in dorm bathrooms…but if it is such an easy thing to fix, why has it gone on for so many years?

    How about suggesting how to fix it? What do you mean “…and the school refuses to do anything about it.” LIKE WHAT? Hire checkers to make sure students who complain that they want to be treated like adults don’t steal dishware to the tune of $50k/year?

    How about some ideas if it is so easy?

  6. Jay you are very clearly missing my point. I am not saying that it is a good thing that people are stealing from the dining halls. I am instead arguing that this video is NOT an effective way to fix the problem AND that the campaign that they have used for the past 3 years is clearly not working. It is a sad fact that people will probably continue to steal dishes (most probably unintentionally as they bring them back at the end of the semester) and as I see it the only way to fix this problem is to let people take food out of the dining hall in their own containers.

  7. And yes Jay what you are probably thinking right now is correct. I have all the normal sized bowls from Atwater that are missing.

  8. No one likes to have to confront a gross, irresponsible habit; it can make us uncomfortable and defensive, as some of the comments here demonstrate. But I like the campy humor, which is better than the usual lecture about dishes. Good luck!

  9. Has anyone considered how this affects the people who work in the dorms and in the public buildings where dirty dishes are left? Is it the barely unvoiced assumption that “they” will clean up after you? And why is that something “they” should do rather than you? It sounds like a class issue to me. I sure wouldn’t appreciate it if my work day included clearing away somebody’s crustified bowl from a lecture at Mead.

  10. When I went to Midd between 2000 and 2004, the food service folks would put up signs every few months about missing dishes. Then my friends and I would bring back the cups and plates that had accumulated in our rooms over the weeks. I certainly didn’t expect the cleaning people to bring them for me. Why can’t current students just do this? Not that hard.

  11. Current students do do this. Don’t let the comments of a few posters tell you otherwise. They are missing the point and using this as another oppurtunity to say the same old thing about rich snobish midd kids who according to these posters don’t have a clue. I say, stop complaining that the world is not perfect and actually propose some solutions.

  12. Here’s a solution–stop leaving dishes around campus and expecting others to clean up after you. Or worse, having no expectation whatsoever.

    I don’t think Biette’s exaggerating. I see dishes everywhere. In the library, at the gym, sitting in the middle of Battell Beach. And these transgressions are far worse than the “piling up in the dorm room” type; in these cases, there’s no attempt to ever return the plates.

    If the problem was as limited as you maintain–“don’t let the comments of a few posters tell you otherwise”–then I doubt the school would have a $50,000 problem.

    And finally, please learn how to spell “anonymous.”

  13. This is obviously an important issue that should be resolved. If $50,000 worth of dishes goes missing every year, that’s $50,000 less that can go to a better cause. If students are taking dishes simply to supply their rooms with dishware, there may be a reasonable solution: when the school buys new dishware for the dining halls (as in last year, with the smaller, white replacement plates), stock rooms/suites with the previous dishes (i.e. the larger colored plates). If students are taking dishware from the dining hall because they need a container for the food and/or drink, try to think ahead next time and bring your own mug or to-go container. They cost 50 cents, weigh 6 ounces, and last forever. And I can’t believe you would take all the bowls from Atwater. That explains why I had to eat my cereal out of a teacup yesterday.

  14. I went to find a table to work at in Bihall last night, and there were multiple plates and dishes (some with food still in them) left on tables in the great hall.

    I am truly embarrassed for myself and for my peers every time I see dishes left anywhere and everywhere. We are adults and should be able to pick up after ourselves. If we can’t act like adults, why do we expect the school to treat us like them? (not having checkers at the dining hall doors, etc.).

    Biette has a point and I’m glad this video has raised some conversation. I hope that we will begin to take responsibility for ourselves (and for others, if we feel so inclined to clean up somebody else’s mess, if only for the sake of saving ourselves the embarrassment of others’ irresponsibility and ill manners.)

  15. First, I spell my name like this because there is already someone on here with the normally spelled version but I appreciate your effort of trying to make fun of me. Second, I do agree that students should not be doing this but I disagree that this video is the way to solve the problem or get people who are doing it to change. Those people are most likely not watching this video or talking about it here anyways. Third, I am more upset about the communications office using its funds and time to make such a video where instead they could be promoting our school. It also does not help that the communications office posted this on youtube for everyone to see, including prospective students, press, media, etc. Thats all Middlebury needs is an article in some other school newspaper about how Midd kids steal plates or to dissuade a new freshman from coming here because he/she thinks we all steal or don’t care. I hope someone from the communications office is reading this and rethinks future videos or at least the way in which they distribute them. I don’t appreciate the school where I am at getting made fun of by the vary office that is supposed to be promoting it. I’d rather have the time and energy spent on letting people know that our school even exists so that when I one day apply for a job I don’t have my employer asking what kind of school this is.

  16. I completely agree with Anomynous. Jay you sound like you are making this personal and are attacking anomynous rather than address what that person is saying about the idea of the video. I also would like to know what the communications office was thinking in making a public video about making fun of Middlebury students?

    And yes, people should stop stealing but ultimately something else like letting students use their own plates should be allowed.

  17. @Amomynous and @Bill

    Would you prefer that the College enforce Handbook policy instead?

    f. Dining Facilities: Removal of food, dishes, utensils, etc., from College dining facilities (including the Grille, Rehearsals Café, Golf Course, and Snow Bowl) may result in a $35 fine and disciplinary proceedings.

  18. You are missing the point! No one proposed that instead other solutions were given and your idea was shot down by people other than me early on. READ the posts commenting. Thanks for playing.

  19. Yeah except that its too bad that my name starts with a J. and that Bill’s starts with a B. I do not appreciate people who are here solely to instigate… synonymous. If you do not have anything to add that is constructive or some sort of solution to carry the conversation forward it is better to just not speak. What you are doing is known as trolling.

    We are all here to discuss the dining dish problem and what to come up with a way to fix it. Since having people check students for dishes as they leave is not practical we want to come up with a better way to do it. I proposed to let people bring food out in their own dishes (which has yet to be addressed by anyone else). Others simply wish to blame people for stealing and saying how bad people are rather than trying to fix the problem constructively.

  20. Given that Bill just walked up to me in the library after seeing me post and showed me who he really was I am going to have to apologize to both anomynous and Bill. MY BAD! Sorry anomynous whoever you are…

  21. No, I did not just apologize to Bill or Anomynous, whoever they are. I merely tried to present a viable solution in my earlier post, but being repudiated for creativity is dissapointing. Good luck, Matthew Biette, and keep the videos coming! Creative solutions are always warranted for difficult problems.

  22. Synonymous, I don’t think anyone repudiated you for being creative so I am not sure why you are disappointed.

    I think anomynous was just angry that you accused them of being me. Also it looks like they tried to steal your username which I do not approve but I still see their point. I was pretty upset about being accused of being someone else myself. Anyways cheers and have good night!

  23. I get really angry when people complain about videos that prospective students will see. (This is not so related to dishes, but by all means continue!) Anonymous or Anomynous, or however its spelled mentioned that the promotions office shouldn’t be releasing videos that portray the less than respectable side of middkids, well fuck that. I get it that we want to attract a certain type of kid, but I’m sick of Admissions First Mentality that so many colleges lose themselves in. By critiquing an office for making less than positive videos about Middlebury, we support a system that would rather bend the truth than confront actual issues. Also I doubt any one is going to dash Midd off their list because we take plates.

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  25. It is so disappointing to me that this would even be an issue. It is shameful.

    I would hope that my Middkid would have enough respect for the opportunity they are given not to cause damage to the college. This truly is no different than if you broke windows, put holes in the wall, etc… It is just vandalism my another means.

    The 50,000 that is spent on replacement cost is 50,000 that could be spent towards a grant for a less fortunate student to attend college at Midd. Or, sponsor activities, bring back oink, etc…

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