By Owen Heh
During a brisk November evening at Lewis & Clark, a group of students gather at Maggie’s for a nice hot latte and settle in for a productive, stress-free and relaxed study session. If only this were a reality. From unprofessionalism to undercooked food, Maggie’s has a long way to go in becoming a great hang out and study spot for students on campus.
Perhaps the most frustrating characteristic of Maggie’s is the lack of professionalism exhibited by its employees which is not conducive to a welcoming environment. Allow me to elaborate with some recurring themes which I and many others have encountered. You sit, attempting to focus on your Exploration and Discovery reading when your train of thought is rudely interrupted by music played at an inappropriate volume — I can not imagine wanting to study to a tracklist selection of eerie lo-fi beats, heavy EDM, and obscure rap. You sit with your friends when you are distracted by some taboo conversation between employees. I have heard everything from sexual topics to smoking marijuana. You attempt to enjoy a mediocre sandwich a couple chairs down from the employee rolling her own cigarettes at the counter, which is prohibited on our tobacco-free campus. What is more, these frequent experiences are accompanied by smaller frustrations such as the trash can frequently overflowing, the tendency of employees to use profanities and occasionally bicker with each other and having to sit on old and partially stained couches, which I will admit is better than all metal furniture.
Unfortunately, this unprofessionalism is far from the end of fixable problems that plague Maggie’s reputation. In fact, many of these issues are up to its management to correct. Many times, I have been told wildly different policies regarding how and when individuals with meal plans can use their swipes at Maggie’s. Many times, I have been greatly disappointed by the meals served at Maggie’s; even the employees occasionally concede that their food is “disgusting” — no one wants their lettuce toasted with their ham sandwich. Many times, I have encountered snack items that literally cost twice as much as they would at the grocery or convenience store. This, I presume, is because Bon Appétit knows that they hold a monopoly on students who need to buy some late-night food without leaving campus, and because it feels like you are spending less when you use flex points because they have been preloaded to your account. This is incredibly frustrating because Bon Appétit knows that they do not have to charge more — I assume that their wholesale costs are marginally greater than those of a normal convenience store — but they can because Maggie’s is the only place for students to get non-vending machine food once dinner closes.
Maggie’s has the potential to be a great on-campus spot for studying, hanging out and getting a late-night bite. Unfortunately, this potential is unrealized due to the fixable problems of unprofessionalism, less than mediocre food and unnecessarily inflated prices which destroy its standing in comparison to any other generic cafe.