My relationship with the cafeterias at Intel’s Jones Farm campus (where I work) has been declining for a while. Or, more specifically, with the company that runs them, Bon Appetit (warning: Flash crap and music on their site). I’m now officially boycotting them.
At first is was just the constant price increases – every few months, the price for everything would just creep up a little. Way faster than the rate of inflation. 90 cents for a bag of chips. A buck thirty for a Rice Krispie Treat. Eight bucks for a salad (as reported by Michael Brito).
Then there’s the guilt trip they try to put on you. There are always posters and table tents and all kinds of stuff all over the place about how you’re killing the Earth if you don’t eat the nice, sustainable, locally grown, Gaia-approved stuff that they serve. Maybe that’s why they keep raising prices – all that fancy organic local stuff must be more expensive. Nevermind the fact that I always felt like they were browbeating me for my eating habits. I don’t want a sermon from the cafe. I just want lunch.
Earth Day was the worst. It was one of the few days that I decided to go over to the JF5 cafe for lunch. They have a grill there, and I can get a cheeseburger and fries for lunch, without having to leave campus. It was a circus on Earth Day – they were charging extra for paper cups, had a big display showing “this is how much cardboard JF throws away every day!!!1!” It was a Big Deal(TM). I got in line for the grill, and when it came my turn, I asked for a cheeseburger. Only to be told that they weren’t serving beef that day. “Why not?” I asked. “Because it’s Earth Day” I was told.
What? What does beef have to do with Earth Day? I still don’t know. The best I can come up with is that cows contribute to global warming through their, um, methane gas emissions. But if that’s the case, wouldn’t it make sense to EAT MORE COWS?! That day, that’s what I decided to do. I jumped in my car, burned some gasoline to go to McDonald’s, and did my part to reduce greenhouse gases from cows by eating a Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese. I’m happy to do my part.
That was the last day I tried to eat a meal in an Intel cafeteria. Up until today, I’d still pop over there in the morning for an occasional bagel or a donut or something. But that’s been getting worse and worse, too. They’ve been stocking less and less stuff, with the end result being if you don’t get there bright and early (before, say, 8:30 AM), they’re probably going to be gone. I’d understand if they just occasionally sold out, but it’s pretty consistent, and I’ve corroborated it with others who have noticed the same thing.
The last straw came this morning. I was quite hungry, hadn’t had breakfast, and it was 9:30 AM or so before I got a chance to walk two buildings over to see about getting something to eat. When I got there, the donuts, bagels, and other breakfast items were completely gone. “No problem” I think. “I’ll just get a string cheese or something.” Nope – the cooler case was completely empty, too. I was pretty hungry, and didn’t want to waste the trip, so I ended up with a bag of chips and a Rice Krispie Treat, both priced about a quarter more than if I had bought them from the vending machines. sigh
So, I’ve decided to expand my cafeteria boycott, and just not go there anymore. I’ll go out for lunch, or just skip lunch (which I do half the time, anyway). Burn a little more gas, probably eat a little less healthy, but I’ve had it with them, and I’m voting with my wallet.
I realize I’m complaining about pretty petty stuff here. Please take this in the spirit it’s intended – I’m venting, ranting. Not expecting to change the world. On the other hand, I’d love to hear any “you think YOU’VE got it bad” stories in the comments. Let’s commiserate!