Image by Lexie Boren

A tender tabling tableau: how to survive on samples

Today we are going to talk about those people you ignore profusely unless they are handing out free donuts or Yerba Mate. Tabling is a familiar concept to college students, and especially popular at activist centric schools like Lewis & Clark. Whether it is the Associated Students of Lewis & Clark (ASLC) and their fun-size candies or an off-campus group trying to get you to sign up for something sketchy like the Peace Corps, tabling is part of our everyday lives. 

What you may not know about tabling, like many things on this campus, is that some people take it more seriously than others. Legend has it alumnus Richard (Dick) Billiards ’08 sustained himself for an entire week off of tabling snacks and tidbits. The thrifty icon ended up developing a sensitivity to maple donuts and having to go off of his South Bastendorff Beach diet but became an LC legend in the process. The Pioneer Log reached out to Billiards, now 33, for comment.

“It started to get to the point where the tablers would hang up a photo of me that said ‘do not engage with this man,’” Billiards said. “Yeah, I guess they got a little fed up with me walking in and out of J.R. Howard with different hats on each time.”

Despite the life-sustaining haul, one can gather from the consistent current of tablers at LC, not all bait is created equal. Below is a guide to the value and importance of various tabling hot goods. Tablers, take note.9

A definitive ranking of tabling spoils:

1) Caffeine

2) PioLog Hats 😉 

3) Census? (I think it’s kind of really important, maybe).

4) Donuts/Candy

5) Stickers

6) Job opportunities

7) Pamphlets

8) Thank you notes to rich benefactors probably named Archibald

9) Emails you cannot unsubscribe to

10) Getting your crap opinion heard

11) Insurmountable guilt for ignoring the person tabling despite being the only one walking by and them calling out to you. I am sorry. Not sorry enough to stop and talk to you, but still.

12) Religion

Now is time to ask: why do people table? Is it for a deserving charity? A student organization? A world-class college newspaper with incredibly attractive and talented writers? No. Most of the time, it is because the tablers like to feel important and like to see the discomfort on people’s faces when they get handed things. 

We talked to two frequent tablers, Elena Coffee ’21 and Theresa Tennis ’20 about why they table. 

“I just had to email someone in events about how I was starting a petition to provide those frogs in the reflecting pool with little hats and I was set,” Coffee said.

Her acquaintance had a different idea. 

“Actually, I hate frogs. I am just really good at guilting people into caring about things,” Tennis said.

 “Yeah, I am Catholic,” Tennis said in a later statement. “Why do you ask?”

Despite some nefarious tablers, many are organized by good people who support good causes. And on that note, The Pioneer Log will be tabling from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today.

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