Like the other students at Mason, I’m well aware that the cafeteria meals aren’t free. What came as a surprise to me, though, is that the plastic utensils themselves cost money: 10 cents a piece.
I’ve had my share of days when I’ve brought my own lunch and needed a plastic utensil to eat it with. In those cases, I’ve simply gone and grabbed a utensil from where they’re placed in the lunch line. Not once have I been asked to pay.
But apparently, charging for utensils has always been the rule, according to Mr. Richard Kane, Mason Food Services Director. Still, Kane admitted, “[we] haven’t always enforced it.”
In the days after I talked with Mr. Kane, I saw several students – students who had brought their own lunch – go and get a utensil from the lunch line without having to pay for it. Yet I also saw several other students charged for their utensils. The lack of a system here is completely unfair. Making exceptions to a rule damages the integrity of the rule itself. If not everyone is asked to pay for their utensils, then no one should be.
We’re being charged for utensils because “they’re not free,” said Kane. He urges students who bring their own lunch to “bring your [their] own utensils, too.”
But napkins aren’t free either, and I don’t see the school charging anyone who uses one. The water in the water fountains must cost some money, as must the paper towels in the bathroom and almost everything else in the school that is provided to the students free of charge.
The utensils themselves only cost 10 cents each, and if the school can afford to sell them for that small of a price they don’t need to charge us at all.