Let the Card Swipers Sit

By Aidan Callahan, Back Page Editor

Let me start by saying I have no interest in starting beef with Hoff Dining Commons. I love the Caf; it’s been feeding me for the better part of four years. I would probably starve without it, or simply only eat Hot Pockets and Pop-Tarts. So, I’m not here to criticize those in charge of Hoff — I just want to make a simple suggestion: Let the card swipers sit. 

Let me give some context for any readers who may be unfamiliar with the Caf. When you enter the Caf, you need to have your ALL Card swiped by an employee. This employee stands at a kiosk watching students swipe in and giving them a nod if they’re good to go. 

There’s one thing you may not notice about these card swipers: They are never sitting down. There’s not a chair anywhere near them. These people are on their feet for hours at a time, despite the fact their job does not require nor benefit from them being on their feet. As I said, their job mostly concerns nodding at people to confirm their card swiped correctly. It’s not like they need to be ready to make a run for it at any moment. 

Sitting isn’t the only thing the card swipers are barred from. Only a few years ago, you would walk in and find the card swipers doing a variety of activities. Sometimes they would be reading, sometimes they’d be doing their homework and a lot of the time they would just be chilling, playing a game on their phone. Not anymore. It seems at some point the Caf decided to put their foot down and ban swipers from doing anything, as you no longer see them doing anything ever. 

I respect the hell out of the card swipers for putting up with this. I could not just stand idly for four hours, nodding at random students going by without any distraction. I feel like I would turn into the Joker if I had to do that. 

To be fair, you do occasionally walk in and find the card swipers casually chatting with their coworkers or some passing students. But this is an exception rather than the rule. Most of the time, I look over at the card swiper and see some poor student worker, standing all alone without even a simple book to distract them. 

While these restrictions are unfortunate, they are not at all uncommon in America. In fact, Walmart was sued in 2018 for not providing adequate seating to its cashiers. They argued providing their cashiers stools would be a safety hazard and could make workers less productive. Walmart lost the case. 

Those are two of the most common reasons for a “no-sitting” policy, but there’s one more that may be motivating the Caf: Some companies believe standing workers look more alert and ready to receive customers. They believe that sitting workers will make the company look lazy and less hard-working than their competitors. 

Hoff management, if this is your reason, let me tell you: No one in the student body cares. I have not talked to every Xavier student about this, but I’m positive they would all say that they don’t care about the card swipers being alert at all times. We’re not a bunch of spoiled rich kids who think the Caf workers are our butlers or something. I think we all understand that, if we were card swipers ourselves, we would definitely want the liberty to go on our phones or do anything besides stare blankly forward.

So just give them a chair. Even a stool would suffice. And let them go on their phone, read a book or do whatever they want to do while swiping people in. I promise you the student body will understand. 

Aidan Callahan is a senior English major. He is the Back Page Editor for Newswire from Wilton, Conn.