Sodexo staff launch ID offensive

Ms. Erin Bryne next to the No ID line – photo by Sebastian Bilash ’20

 “What’s the deal with this new line?” students asked as they rushed past the registers in the dining hall. Over the past few weeks, the checkout process during lunchtime stampedes has quickened for those with IDs but slowed down for those without. The new two-line arrangement requires non-ID holders to wait in a separate line as their peers with IDs stream past with little delay. 

          This system is not the reflection of an administrative whim, but rather a deliberate attempt to address several concerns, such as secure cash-handling and inaccurate charges.

          “In the real world, when you make a purchase, there has to be some sort of identification or cash,” General Manager of Dining Services Ms. Kim Sprangers said. “We wanted to make sure we were responsible for how the cash that is coming to Haverford is handled.” 

          Additionally, parents have made multiple reports of other students making charges to their child’s account.

          “There’s always the uncertainty if a student is not using their [ID] badge of whether the student is really who they say they are,” Ms. Sprangers said. “It’s really just to make sure that we were accurately charging accounts and that the money was being transferred.”

          On the other hand, this new requirement reflects the school’s motto: “Preparing Boys for Life.” The ID requirement highlights the significance of carrying identification at all times. The checkout also reflects how transactions are made outside of the school community, where customers will seldom be able to rely on someone at the register like Ms. Erin Bryne, who can identify them by sight. 

          “I was thinking about our Sixth Form students who will be going to college and will need an ID to make a purchase,” Ms. Sprangers said. “Someone’s not going to say, ‘What’s your name?’  and type it in. It’s going to be a whole new world. I think this is a good opportunity to show students what they should expect in the real world.”

poll by Austin Zhuang ’22

          The idea for having separate lanes arose a few years ago when Ms. Sprangers learned from Ms. Tracy Nelson, Middle School Dean of Students, that a similar setup existed in the past. The swiftness of the lines for students with IDs was intended to encourage those without badges to use them. A system of identification is even more crucial for campus security.

          “If there was some sort of emergency where you didn’t have your ID, you couldn’t access shelter or get into a building. It’s just a whole other safety issue,” Ms. Sprangers said. 

          The dining hall’s effort has reportedly led to an increase in students applying for a badge. The lunch lines have also grown faster since the staff working the registers spends less time typing in names. 

          “Another piece I want the boys to understand is that it’s a lot of pressure on the cashiers to memorize names. That human factor [means] that we could accidentally—and this has recently happened—be charging items to the wrong student’s account because we have the wrong name memorized. Although it’s a nice thing and adds a personal touch, it allows for human error and for charges to get messed up where we then have to transfer money. It just allows for a much more streamlined system,” Ms. Sprangers said. 

          In regards to the cashiers, Ms. Erin Bryne, a member of the Sodexo team, is happy about the change, but she does not want people to think that it was because of her that the new lines were created; she worries that students will think that she does not want to learn their names.

          “I had a couple of boys say that if they had their cards, they would have done it all along if they knew they were supposed to. I was afraid that they thought that maybe I didn’t want to ring them up anymore because I don’t mind at all. I’d say I was the one who started it. “I like knowing all of you guys and I feel like I know you better if I know your name and what you like to eat every day,” Erin said.

          Even though the lunchtime rush is better, another aspect which Erin is not happy about is having to direct students away from her lane. 

          “It goes quicker during lunchtime. It was hard for me because I don’t like telling people to go away. I have to tell people that they have to go to another line,”Erin said. 

          In the future, Ms. Sprangers wishes to get the Lower School involved with having student ID codes that they could type in. Having such a system would further ensure payment security throughout the school-wide order. 

          Ms. Sprangers said, “If anyone has any other suggestions for the Upper School side, I would be open to hearing them.”

Author: Jeffrey Yang '22

News editor Jeffrey Yang has written for The Index since 2018. His feature "Fords immigrants under the spotlight: Mr. Kan's citizenship odyssey" earned a Gold Key from the 2020 Philadelphia-area Scholastic Writing Awards.