Hampshire is better
Hampshire Dining Commons is undoubtedly the best DC on campus, although it certainly doesn’t have that reputation. Particularly during lunch, the food at Hampshire is not at all comparable to Berkshire. The burritos made at Hampshire might be the best item made anywhere on campus. The sandwich line, although sometimes slow, is always worth the wait because the sandwiches are well made and you get the clutch option to toast your sandwich. I find the staff at Hampshire to be generally friendlier and they seem happier to serve you, while at Berkshire, you’re just another number. The best part of Hampshire are the lack of lines. You can simply walk up and get your food whenever you want it. Unlike Berkshire, there is not a constant battle to get through lines, find a table or walk around in general. At Berkshire, you may find yourself roaming around, holding your multi-colored plates and looking for a table in the middle of a big crowd. It’s annoying. Half the battle at Berkshire is finding a table without dropping your stuff. This is never the case at Hampshire. The crowds and noise at Berkshire make one feel as though they are on a crowded subway car at all times, but at Hampshire, it is calm. You feel more like you’re relaxing at the beach than eating at a DC. And when you have got all your food and are finally seated, one can actually watch and hear the TV. It’s truly a great experience.
So why then, do I even have to write this? Shouldn’t this be obvious to everyone? I am pretty sure I know why Berkshire has the reputation for being the best DC, and that is of course “Berkshire Fan.” Berkshire Fan is the stereotypical person that comes to mind when one thinks of the people who love to go to Berkshire. It’s important to note I am not talking about all people who go to Berkshire, just specifically, Berkshire Fan.
We have all met Berkshire Fan and there are a few things everyone should know about Berkshire Fan before arguing with them about which DC is better.
First and foremost, Berkshire Fans are mostly freshmen who have the perception that they were cool in high school (although sometimes Berkshire Fan extends to older students). Berkshire Fan thinks Berkshire is the end-all-be-all of eating because it is their last chance to maintain their status from high school. Berkshire reminds them so much of the stereotypical high school cafeteria because of the large crowds and the large cross-section of cliques you see at Berkshire dinner tables. Let me give an example of how to spot a Berkshire Fan. Berkshire Fan never travels alone at the DC. You never see people eating alone at Berkshire during peak hours, because that’s just not what Berkshire Fan uses Berkshire for. Berkshire Fan needs to be surrounded by friends at all times, because their friends are their existence on top of the fact that they are really cool and they want you to know that. The athletes sit together. The girls who think they are auditioning for roles in “Mean Girls 2” sit together. You all know what I’m talking about. For this reason, Berkshire Fan loves the fact that the dining areas are always packed during peak hours, particularly at dinner time. Berkshire Fan thrives when this is the case because when they go and sit with their cool friends, they will be seen by lots of other people and, in an ideal world for Berkshire Fan, these people will be less cool and less attractive than them. This builds up Berkshire Fan’s confidence and re-confirms just how cool they were in high school. At Hampshire, getting this satisfaction would be impossible on the same scale because not enough people go and the setting is much more laid back.
The most threatening thing you can do to Berkshire Fan is tell them how not cool it is to go to Berkshire. They despise this because if going to Berkshire is not cool, that means that they, in turn, are not cool. If you ever threatened Berkshire fan with this, they would get extremely defensive and tell you a lot of stuff about how much cooler the scenery at Berkshire is, or how there is trendy food such as sushi and tofu at Berkshire. They may even criticize Hampshire, saying “Nobody goes there.” These three things, of course, just re-confirm to non-Berkshire Fan just how messed up Berkshire Fan really is. Berkshire Fan knows deep down Berkshire isn’t better then Hampshire, but Berkshire Fan is made up of followers. Berkshire Fan needs to do what the crowd does in order to feel as though they fit in and are therefore cool. We all know the true motive of Berkshire Fan going to Berkshire over Hampshire – it’s being seen at Berkshire. That’s the difference between Berkshire Fan and Hampshire Fan. Hampshire Fans are looking for the best DC, Berkshire Fans are looking for the best place to recreate the high school lunch room.
On top of all of this, I don’t even think the “scenery” is better at Berkshire. Berkshire’s scenery is overrated and it starts from the second you walk in. There is a series of vertical blue lights that go up the side of a yellow wall. What kind of scenery is that? It looks more like the entrance to a space station in a cheesy futuristic 1980s movie than an entrance to a popular dining facility. I half expect to get greeted by someone telling me to make sure I strap in before we make the jump to light speed every time I walk in. Oh, and don’t forget the romantic view through the glass on the right hand side of the entrance. You can see pavement, the horseshoe and the Pita Pit all at once! What a joke.
If you are looking for a friendly service, a consistently good meal – in relative DC terms – and you don’t want to wait in long lines during peak hours to find out fried steak is the main entree on the menu, you go to Hampshire. It’s a simple choice for all of us who have already had our first beer. It’s time to grow up and see the DC battle for what it is; no contest.
Alex Perry is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.