Third is the Worst: Lack of Food, Early Closings Leave Students Angry


Noel Berry

Students with the third lunch wave may leave the cafeteria frustrated and hungry due to early closings and shortages of certain foods.

After a tiresome 65 minutes of listening to your Spanish teacher ramble on about the uses of the preterite tense, all you can focus on is how you’re going to take to tame your hunger.

Siri Andrews ‘13 comes across this problem often as she faces the challenges of third lunch.

“I eat breakfast so early, so that by the time I get to third lunch, I’m starving. I’m a teenage girl, I need food,” said Andrews.

Many other students such as Georgia Nicklin ’16 agree with Andrews that food often runs short during the last lunch wave and students can’t always get into the kitchen to actually buy food.

When Nicklin has third lunch, she said she sees a shortage of bagels, fruit, salad, and chips compared to other lunch waves. This forces her to have to settle for available hot lunches or wait in an endless line for a sandwich.

Even the sandwich line doesn’t always guarantee happiness as students walk out of the cafeteria, students said. There too, students said, you’ll likely find a shortage, only this time it will be your favorite sandwich toppings: ciobatta rolls, salami and provolone.

Julia Tziolis ‘13 said she knows walking into third lunch that there will be no ciabotta rolls left.

“And it gets even worse when I see that empty tray with just a lonely chicken pesto sign sitting in the window,” said Tziolis.

Not everyone agrees that third lunch poses a problem for Staples students. According to Frank Rupp, director of Chartwells Dining Service, there is an adequate amount of food left during third lunch.

He said he spent the lunch period at Staples recently and observed a shortage of hummus cups but not much else. All of the hot lunch products were there, he said.

Principal John Dodig added that it’s important not to waste food; too many leftovers would not be good.

Students say it’s not just food shortage that’s the problem; the kitchen’s gates often close as many as 10-15 minutes before the end of lunch, meaning students can’t buy anything. Students rush to get food, but sometimes they’re just too late, or they realize they want something else when they’re finished with their main lunch.

“You don’t have as much time,” Nicklin lamented.

Cafeteria employees, including Rupp, disagreed that the doors close early during third lunch.

To cope with all the issues of what they consider to be third lunch chaos, Staples students have experimented and have found different ways to cope.

Some take the approach of Nicklin and pack lunch on days when they have third lunch. (Freshmen especially can take note of Nicklin’s approach because she has noticed that, “being a freshman, and getting pushed to the back of the line, just makes third lunch that much harder.”).

They can aim for simpler lunches more likely to still be available, like apples, chicken tender sandwiches, chocolate milks, “oh, and PB and J,” said Kevin Watt ’15.

Another option: they can follow Alec Maki’s ’13 third lunch style. What does he do? “Starve.”