Struggling for soft pretzels

Rachel Cichon and Rachel Cichon

A student’s perspective on lunch line productivityalmost-famous-preztel_s4x3_lg

By Staff Writer: Rachel Cichon

The option to purchase a soft pretzel at lunch has been available to students at Howell High for the last two years. Until recently, they were only available in the Kilt Shack, where the purchase of both pretzel and tub of hot cheese costs only a dollar.

Affordable as that may be, I never found it a very convenient method to get lunch. The Kilt Shack cannot use any form of lunch accounts or down payments, and to get a pretzel or any other products, the student must have cash money.

I’ve always felt that it’s a pain to bring separate bills to the cafeteria, especially because I have a keen ability to lose things and can sadly say that I have had the misfortune of losing my lunch money. Perhaps the reason that in so many movies and television shows, bullies have to steal lunch money from other kids is because they lost their own. Bringing cash into the cafeteria just never felt worth the effort, especially when I had a full lunch account available to me.

Because of this, I seldom enjoyed the Kilt Shack’s offer of pretzels, even though I’ll admit that I sincerely craved them, as I have never been a fan of the cafeteria classics, greasy Bosco sticks, suspiciously moist pizza and equally disappointing burgers. Instead, I usually ordered a few things from the snack line, consuming a daily mix of unhealthy snacks that I labeled a meal.

One day, as I waited in the snack line to order my small water, vegetable sticks and nutty bar, a trio of items that essentially became my food groups, I noticed a new addition, a light of hope even brighter than the school’s blindingly fluorescent ceiling lights.

Soft pretzels and hot cheese.

I immediately and happily betrayed my diet of chips and Little Debbie snacks and bought myself a pretzel, declaring it to be an omen that I was going to have an excellent week.

Well, it was maybe half of an excellent week, because after several days of wondrous soft pretzels, their location was unexpectedly changed. Suddenly, instead of being in the snack line, they were moved to a regular lunch line.

Presumably, they did this because they wanted to count the pretzels as a full meal, and now sell them with a side of fries. I personally preferred it when I could buy a warm cookie or pack of Cheese-its with my lunch, and always decline when asked if I want fries. Still, even though it’s an inconvenience to me, I can admonish that there is no reason the pretzels shouldn’t be sold in the lunch line. Unfortunately, however, the pretzels are in the worst line they could possibly be in:

The sub line.

I’ve heard students exclaim that the sub line is “just like Subway!” and perhaps it is. It is full of a variety of toppings and enables students to essentially build their own subs. I think it’s a great addition to the cafeteria – it’s healthy and really gives students some prerogative. I have no qualms with the sub line, although I do have an issue with the pretzels being sold there.

The ability for students to make their own subs is fun and healthy and can be described with an abundance of positive adjectives. Because of this, many students flock to the line. Well, building a sub takes time. Asking for a pretzel and cheese and having one handed to you on a plate takes just a few seconds.

Standing in the sub line for what must be ten minutes at a time while I watch dozens of kids spending precious minutes building subs as I wait to quickly snatch up a pretzel is one of the most arduous tasks I have ever encountered. Waiting in the sub line is more aggravating than bringing in separate cash every day to make a purchase in the Kilt Shack. Pretzels, like Bosco sticks, pizza, burgers, mashed potato bowls, are a grab-and-go food. Their position in the lunch line should reflect this.

A simple solution would be to move pretzels back to the snack line, or to put them in a line such as the pizza line where they could quickly be taken and bought would suffice. Even if they were kept in the same place, but students with pretzels could skip the sub section and form a smaller and quicker line behind the pretzel stand, it would make an impressive increase in lunch productivity. So far, whenever a student has tried this, they are met with complaints of favoritism and cutting – although to be fair, the kids who line up to buy subs every day are probably so frustrated with the time it takes to get their food that they would fight their mother for a better position in line.

A change in the way pretzels are sold at lunch would make the line go must faster for both students ordering pretzels and students ordering subs. Unless or until this problem is solved, I’m thinking of having a change of heart and just going to get my pretzels from the Kilt Shack.