Whitmans’ food policy is over the top

I had gotten it into my head that, as we grow up, we gain responsibility and are able to decide for ourselves things like when we should go out, how much we should study and how much we should eat. Maybe it’s just me, but because of that there are certain things in life I never thought I would have to be told ever again: phrases like “Eat your vegetables!” or “Go to your room!” are relics from the past. This might be why I was totally flabbergasted last week when I heard the words, “You can only have one cookie.”

At first I thought it was an isolated incident, but as posts on WSO soon confirmed, I’m definitely not the only one to have noticed that Whitmans’ Marketplace in Paresky has re-enforced its “two sides, one dessert” policy in recent weeks. I didn’t realize the extent of the issue until I saw the posted sign “fruit is equal to a side” as I squeezed through the lines at dinner. I never thought I’d be upset at having been denied access to multiple pieces of fruit at the cost of my soup or side vegetables, but I am. Assuming no student has ever tried to walk out of Paresky with five-plus pieces of fruit in his or her hands, I would think that students’ access to vitamins in their diet should not be so limited.

I understand the recent move was probably an attempt to reduce the amount of wasted food, as platefuls of food seem to find their way into the compost heap, but I don’t think the appropriate response was to limit the amount of fruit and vegetables that students can take. I would hope that Whitmans’ would in fact be more interested in students’ healthy-living (after all, there are nutrition and eating disorder stickers on all the coffee cup sleeves) than in their bottom line. However, until something changes – that is, if something changes at all – all of us will have to be a bit more careful about what we choose: an apple a day to keep the doctor away, chicken noodle soup for the soul, or some vegetables for . . . for vegetables’ sake.

Andrei Baiu ’11