How is it Still a (Midd) Thing?


By Charlie Ascher

Someone needs to invite the producers of “Hoarders” to this campus. The hoarders? Us. What we hoard? Dining hall dishes. Good luck in pinpointing which student has the most extensive collection, some of which are impressive, to say the least. Many students own a complete set of dishes from every dining hall, including the more obscure items like serving platters and soup ladles. Some true Middlebury hoarders also have sets of both Proctor’s old (think abnormally round bowls and exceptionally oval plates with China-like designs) and new dishes.

Yes, it is time to address this campus’s deep and never-ending love for industrial grade melamine dishware. How are we still not bringing dishes back? How are personal dining hall dish collections still a thing?

(Side note: I feel like I’ve basically become the official campus complainer and nitpicker. I swear I actually love it here. So much that I’m honestly running out of things to complain about.)

But anyway, back to complaining. While the purchase of new Proctor dishes did much to alleviate the great Proctor bowl shortage of 2015 (and 2014, and 2013 … ), the days of dish shortages are not over.

Seriously, how many times have you gone to get your third bowl of ice cream salad (apparently salads are healthy, so I’ve started to add the word ‘salad’ to everything I eat) of the day only to find out that Proc is out of bowls? Talk about a buzzkill. One moment you’re psyching yourself up for your upcoming recreation of Holes featuring an ice cream scoop and the half-empty bin of coffee heath bar crunch, and the next moment you’re disillusioned with the world and seriously considering transferring to some horrible place like Williams because you hear they have bowls.

But here’s the thing: the dish shortage is our fault. Using extensive research and my trusty abacus, I have calculated that the average Middlebury student has 1 mug, 1 glass, 2 bowls, 1 plate, 1 spoon, 3 forks and 1 knife in their room at a time.

I’m as big a fan of the Ross “Pizza-To-Go” strategy as anyone and fully get why you’d take dishes from the dining hall. Like any aspiring competitive eater, I realize that the secret to success is perseverance; the need to eat a disgusting amount of food can strike at any time, especially at the inconvenient 8:01 P.M. Taking a dish or two back to your room from dinner and then bringing them back in the next day is totally fine.

The problem arises when those plates start adding up in your room to the point where you have enough mediocre college-grade dishware to create a crusty shrine to your mediocre college GPA. Why do you have a set of dishes for a family of four in your single when the dining halls for the masses have nowhere near enough? I know you’ve started to form a real attachment to that one yellow bowl in particular, but even in high school I learned that “Nothing gold can stay.” We’re all clearly amazing at taking dishes to our room, but why can’t we be good at returning them? How hard can it be?

Seriously, how is dish hoarding still a thing? Let’s start taking things back so that we’re never forced to use a spoon as a fork again.