Fixing the Lunch Line Fiasco


Lillian Tullio

It is said the average American waits in line between five and ten years of their lifetime. If you’re keeping track of your line waiting experiences, be sure to log how many hours you’re waiting for pizza in our school cafeteria!
Initially, we described the wait in the pizza line like a “war zone.” The only goal was to get in and out as our lunch period is only 35 minutes and no one wanted to give up 10 minutes of lunch to wait for a piping hot slice! I consider this to be phase one of the evolution of the school cafeteria pizza line.
Phase one, back in September, is what I like to call “the blob line.” Everyone sprinted to the serving area and packed themselves in like tiny sardines in a can. We were shoulder to shoulder, foot on foot, breath to breath, anxiety ridden students ready to be served our slice of pizza. There was eye-rolling and comments like “can’t you walk” echoing from those unfortunate enough to be behind you.
Phase two launched in October. Instead of the blob line packed in the serving area we became an even bigger blob outside the doors of the serving area. During this phase there was massive cutting, large groups joining in, each time pushing the original people from the front of the line to the end. Their anxiety ridden faces told the story of how frustrated they were. The pizza line became a place of confrontation as we moved from a huge mass of people funneling down into one person walking through the doorway into the serving area. All this for a slice of pizza.
In December, phase three kicked in with the addition of a teacher monitor. The line wrapped around the outside of the cafeteria and certainly worked better but it required the “cutters and joiners” to perfect their strategies. Some attempted to quietly blend into the line while others tried to slip through the exit, directly into the serving area. Others reserved their spot in line through friends. However, anyone caught by the monitor was sentenced to the back of the line!
In early March, someone finally decided the pizza line was just not working! Phase four began in March with the addition of an elastic rope that narrowed the blob down into a single line. While waiting in line may seem lonelier and uneventful, it’s finally more civilized and feels more like waiting in line at the movies. While the line still wraps around the cafeteria and the wait does not seem to be any shorter, there most certainly is a fairness about it. We trust the line now as our place in line belongs to us.