20 Jul

No Soup For You!

Hear that? It's the sound of emptiness coming from the eastern-most area of our building -- the cafeteria.

The once bustling cafeteria, serving a variety of flavorites that seemed to nearly please everyone, and at a reasonable price, is now being held hostage by corporate threats. Healthier options or else...

I remember having to wait in line, sometimes as much as 10-20 people long, simply to pay for the food. Food served piping hot was practically ice-cold by the time you got the chance to sit down. Favorites in our office such as Chicken Parmesean, Country Fried Steak, Pasta Bar, etc have all either been removed, or are only served once a year. And when they ARE served, they've been severely modified.

All this, to tout the "healthier lifestyle".

When I go down there now (to get my afternoon milk), I can almost walk up to the cashier and immediately get helped.

More examples of changes fascist in nature:

  1. A once edible pizza with limited flavor is now being made with a whole-wheat crust and now NO flavor. On top of that, the crust is extremely hard.
  2. Virtually all foods requiring frying have been practically eliminated from the "home" section of the cafe.
  3. Thinking about getting a hamburger? Not only have they made it smaller, but don't expect a white bun... only 900 grain wheat bread -- enough fiber content to wean the entire United States off Metamucil.
  4. Heaven forbid we ever serve red meat -- instead, we'll have at least one fish option every day, and sometimes (during the summer months) we'll have 2 -- salmon and tilapia! I thought we were supposed to eat fish in moderation? And how long before people will be tired of the fish option?

And if you think this Soup Nazi (Seinfeld reference) type "here's how we're serving it, and you'll like it" attitude is being taken lightly by the employees in our office, you've got another thing coming. Here's a few comments from colleagues:

I used to go down to the cafe every day. Now, I just bring my own lunch.

I don't even bother looking at the menu anymore, it's sad.

There's nobody down there anymore, so I don't go down there [to the cafeteria].

And what effect has this had on Aramark? Well, with the reduced revenue, they've had to increase prices everywhere. Baked potato bar for $5.95? Seriously? For a freakin' potato... one I can get at my local store for $.59? That's with no drink or any side item! No sanctuary for the healthy salad bar option either... increases there too! So now there's no variety and everything is as expensive as hell.

Want more examples of variety? There's little inventive skills at play here -- we've had/have taco bars on Monday and Friday weekly. We had outside vendors come in to serve their own food instead of our own. Where variety once stood, fish is served continuously. Now, the main portion of our cafe is closed on Fridays and some Thursdays because of a lack of demand!

Some are even now going out of the office for lunch, because it's cheaper! And it makes sense too. Convenience is being sacrificed because of price and a lack of variety!

For example, let's say you and a few others are in a pizza mood. You each can either get a slice of tasteless pizza, having to force yourself to eat a dried-up whole wheat crust (which doesn't sound like something that would satisfy one's mood) for $3.00 something (no drink or sides) or you can walk across the highway with your friends to the Little Caesar's (I'm not saying that's a choice establishment... but it's decent), get 2 slices of edible pizza, breadsticks and a drink, and still have it be LESS THAN $3.00/person.

Look, I get what the corporate directives are trying to do -- promote a healthy lifestyle. I will still maintain my stance on this point -- it's not solely about the foods we eat, but how much of it we eat. I will agree that things such as trans fat should be eliminated (actually, it's hard to argue that point with the slew of data out there regarding it). But what's the harm with bringing the variety back in lunchtime portions instead of full servings?

My stance toward lunch has always been "Tide me over until dinner". For example, when I was just at 5 Guys restaurant for lunch, I ordered a burger with no sides and a water. The cashier looked at me in near disbelief when my response to his "do you want a soda or fries with that" was "no".

It reminded me of the Super Troopers scene:
Dimpus Worker: Want me to dimpa-size your meal for 25 cents?
Farva: Want me to punch-a-size your face, for free?
Dimpus Worker: It's only 25 cents, and look how much more you get!

I DON'T NEED TO BE FILLED UP AT LUNCH. GIVE ME ENOUGH ENERGY TO MAKE IT THRU THE WORK DAY! It's not about the deals... it's about moderation!

As a colleague of mine said, the healthy options being served in the cafeteria are driving people toward eating fast food. How is that promoting a healthy lifestyle in the end? As analogous as the comparison can be made, it's like the Republicans touting "We did it without raising income taxes!" when in the end, property taxes, sales taxes, etc are increased because of the pledge. (unintended consequences) It's like the healthy option mindset is: We don't care if everyone complains... we just don't want "unhealthy" options on our property.

Really? Well then why do you still sell pop, cookies, deep-fried french fries, etc? Go ahead and get rid of those options too so that I can completely be independent of the cafeteria (full disclosure: I make a morning fountian pop run nearly every morning)

All this politically-correct crap can suck it, and I'm not just talking about the subject in this blog entry. I'm talking about ALL politically-correct garbage. We're becoming so sensitive that if one disagrees with the politically-correct view, they're labeled a bigot.

Categories: Gripe