By Jamie Reese
This semester, the lines at Late Nite have been unreasonably long. After dealing with hour-long lines on several occasions, I decided to record my wait times and compare them to one another as the semester went forward.
Between October 16 and October 30, I conducted a 13 day study in which I timed how long it took me to get from the back of the line up to the register. (This study did not take into account the wait times for food preparation.)
For the first seven days, I entered the Late Nite line at approximately 11:15 PM. It took me an average of about nine and a half minutes to place my order.
That time span, however, is including outliers. On Friday and Saturday nights, Late Nite was emptier, and very little time was necessary to place my order. If those outliers are tossed aside, and only weeknights (Monday-Friday) are considered in this equation, the average time spent in line jumps to nearly twelve and a half minutes.
For the next six days, (cut short a day due to Hurricane Sandy) I visited late night at 10:15 PM. The average time spent in line for all those days was about the same as the week before.
Some people, such as a Walmart cashier or DMV clerk, might consider a twelve-minute line to be reasonable, but many students have found this length disconcerting. As students have run out of money and attend Late Nite less, the lines have shortened, making my times less than what many students have already suffered.
“Many students stopped coming to Late Nite because they ran out of flex,” said Cory Wickward. According to Wickard and my own personal experience, the line has taken as long as half an hour. On three occasions, I entered the line before 11:30 PM and didn’t reach the front until midnight, when it was too late to use my meal plan.
“People come around midnight on the weekends after going to the bars,” said an anonymous source. At this time, the line is unbearable for the students and register workers. Since my study didn’t occur during this time, it didn’t reflect the midnight rush.
In case all of this evidence is not strong enough to conclude that the Late Nite line is too long, let me recount a single instance. On November 4, I stood in line for 21 minutes, and was over 30 people back when I entered the line.
After placing my order, there were 30 new people behind me. Assuming each of those 30 people had the same 21 minute wait, the collective individual times spent in line equates to ten and a half hours.
On a larger scale, if a person were to visit late night for an entire semester, assuming the fifteen week model, the time spent in line would be much more significant. A twelve and a half minute wait each school night for fifteen weeks equates to a total of about fifteen and a half hours. That is fifteen and a half hours of potential study and homework time.
Simply stating the problem, however, will not fix it. The root of the issue must be brought to light. Surely, if there is an issue, then there is a cause to the issue.
“The employees are the only things that consistently work,” said Armand Benincasa.
Benincasa’s words give both the problem and the solution. The issue with the Late Nite line is the lack of ingenuity in the process of moving people along.
One suggested solution is to fix the kiosk, which pulls a lot of the grunt work away from the register. Another solution is the addition of a second register, which would preferably be on a cart and capable of all register functions. I suggest a combination of both plans.
If the new register is on a cart, it can be brought out as soon as it’s needed and put away as soon as it is cumbersome. This will also allow for students not placing a prepared order to bypass the exceptionally long process. One register could handle orders and another register could handle quick grab-and-go style foods.
With the current employment, the Late Nite staff should be able to handle two registers. Considering there is always a manager on duty, he/she could work the second during hectic times.
If the kiosk were to be fixed in conjunction with the addition of the second register, there might be no wait time.
This would make a very happy student body, and hopefully a very happy and less-stressed cashier.
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