Bear’s Den redux

| Staff Columnist

You may remember that I was boycotting Bear Lair (i.e., Bear Grill; so renamed because it has only one entrance and exit, which is at the end of a narrow passage, rhymes, continues the wordplay of Bear’s Den and is a much better name). At first, it was easy. I switched from getting a biscuit in the morning to getting a scone or croissant at the DUC Café. I ate lunch on campus anyway. I had early dinners at Subway or the DUC, or I ate at upstairs Bear’s Den or sometimes Ursa’s.

Weekends were tough. In defiance of all possible logic, Bear Lair is the only eatery open for most of the day on weekends.  I value my sleep and don’t like breakfast foods, so brunch was out of the question. I went on many a lonely walk to campus on Saturday or Sunday afternoons. Luckily, I could schedule many of my weekend meals around times I had to be on campus anyway, so I wasn’t going out of my way.

As time wore on, I got more and more used to my routine. I started eating less fried food and more vegetables. I was walking more. My cheeseburger consumption dropped to alarmingly low levels. My overall quality of life declined—not by much, but by enough. By the end of September, my craving for a Half and Half was palpable.

I decided I would give in. My boycott would end with the first full month of school. I reasoned that I’d already gotten my message out; I’d already made enough of a statement. Plus, I’d heard rumors of major changes to Bear Lair. The last week was very tough, but when I went to Bear Lair just after midnight on Oct. 1, I brought the best Half and Half I’ve ever had back to my suite.

Since then, I’ve returned a few times. I have yet to try a sandwich (the limited and avocado-filled menu is intimidating, and the panini press seems much less friendly than the toaster did), but I have not been entirely satisfied with the rest of my experiences.

Bear Lair’s only improvement over last year’s Bear’s Den is the addition of Tater Tots. Every other change is at best negligible but, far more often, drastically worse. The lack of seating, total absence of Bosco sticks, still-overpriced food and so on have all been talked about ad infinitum. It is highly unlikely that any of that will be changed anytime soon.

What can, should and—dare I say—must be changed, though, is the system of paying before receiving food. This system is highly inconvenient and leads to huge mistakes. It makes customizing orders much more difficult. It lengthens the time it takes to get food and encourages mix-ups. There is and can be no benefit to the student through this policy.

A few weeks ago, I overheard three freshman girls while walking to class. One was telling the other that she was constantly encouraged to steal food whenever she could because Bon Appétit steals from us. Perhaps they should try to protect themselves in a better way: one that does not foster these thoughts.