Opinions, Column, Featured Column

Save Late Night

Yes, the rumors are true. They are all true. Late night as we know it is gone. Lower is closing at 10 p.m. The menu includes only salads and grilled chicken so cold, so tough, Excalibur would stand nary a chance, never mind your flimsy plastic knife. Wilhelm screams galore. Snack attacks … gone.

OK, maybe only that last part is true. STILL, late night is irreversibly changed for the worst, right? It got up and left us for good, as if we’re Omelas or something. (I’m not saying we’ve imprisoned an involuntary martyr under the depths of Gasson to inherit the amalgamated ills of a community built on a utopian facade, but I’m not denying it.) Those soggy fries, breaded sticks with a hint of cheese, and half-baked tenders you drunkenly dream of while you stand motionless in a dimly lit Mod won’t be found upstairs at Addie’s.

Speaking of half-baked, how the hell is this whole operation going to function? Honestly, I’m not completely opposed to the new food options: pizza and meatballs sound fine to me. And who doesn’t want a nice iced mocha latte to push you through a procrastinated assignment or counter the built-up depressants? But I get the movement to “save late night”—there’s a lot of nostalgia and memories attached to the gustatory perception. Nevertheless, the food will be fine. I just don’t see how it’s going to work. I mean, I can’t navigate the Addie’s “lines” when it’s 7 p.m. on a Tuesday, never mind at 1 a.m. on a Friday with half the school packed in the building.

Cue Jon Snow gif.  

At this point, you may be wondering, “Rob, what could you possibly offer that Dining Services didn’t already think of?” Well, I got a B in my operations class and am highly opinionated about trivial things, thank you very much.

We could sit here and speculate how late night might handle this onslaught, but as all great op-ed columnists do, I went out in the field to investigate. The timing wasn’t perfect at 11 p.m. on a Thursday with only a few people in line, but it still gave one the idea that the setup would not survive the normal late night influx.

I could describe in great detail my mysterious and confused first experience at Late Night 2018, but I’ll save you the time. I’m sure you’ll experience the logistical blunt force trauma soon enough. Basically, it’s one line, with a single line divider through the middle. You go in on the right, PAY BEFORE YOU ORDER, then move through that classic Fordian late night assembly line. Imagine you’ve been waiting 30 minutes for late night. The cashier asks what you want, but there’s a full line of people blocking the food. There’s a menu, yes, but half the battle of late night is seeing the condition of all those carbs! Do you know how many times I shied away from a Mac attack because the mozz sticks looked undercooked? A few!

I was expecting the traditional Addie’s environment of several scattershot lines, but that wasn’t the case. It was a complete reversion. I thought I’d be criticizing the operational hazards of too many paths to an end (see Braess’s law), but they opted for the ol’ one liner. On an even more basic level outside of the logistics of it all, the large array of options at Addie’s slows down flow time because of sensory overload. Then, after all that, you can’t even take your food downstairs when the loft is inevitably packed.

The congested space, flipped line, daunting options… I’m beginning to see a pattern here. It’s almost as if BC IS TRYING TO DRIVE US AWAY FROM LATE NIGHT. It’s the exact inverse of Operations 101. The perfect formula for a terrible business. When this business (BC) already has your money, however, they don’t need you to spend it. They just don’t want a bunch of kids jumping on tables and breaking things just bordering a full on coup d’état if they did cancel late night entirely. Even then, the tighter spaces and confusing layout may provoke more of what the administration could be trying to prevent if the gambit failed. The plan is dumb, even if some secret group of operational saboteurs designed it.

MAYBE, maybe this is just a poorly planned idea along with a misguided attempt to work some healthier options into late night only those on a one-week New Year’s resolution diet might try. The addition of all these unnecessary steps to get to the restructured menu, however, doesn’t equate.

But I digress. Food is food, and we still get it passed Cinderella’s closing time. Other schools would be lucky to get heaping servings of meatballs this late at night! UNH, UMASS, they don’t have it lucky like we do! We should be grateful for our wonderful—no, wait. Screw that. All this writing is making me crave some chicken and fries. Bring back late night! SAVE LATE NIGHT!

Featured Graphic by Anna Tierney / Graphics Editor

September 9, 2018