Chartwells adopts 'Ratatouille kinda situation' in response to understaffing

“I don’t think we’ll ever go back,” said Chartwells Carnegie Mellon location supervisor Jim Jerries. It should come as no surprise that food service all over the country is suffering from severe understaffing, and even the esteemed Carnegie Mellon has fallen victim. Although n-dimensional hyper-real Farnham androids are in the works below the Gates dungeons, Carnegie Mellon for the time being needs living, breathing employees. But thanks to loopholes found in the early 2000s, Myspace bio of founder Charles “Chuck” Chartwell, and company charter documents, the requirements stop there. As long as the employees are sentient and “capable of receiving payment,” they are eligible for hire. So they’re rats. Rats work in the UC now.

“I suppose it came to me while I was watching that old Pixar flick with my step-daughter Zoe,” said Jerries. When asked if he was alluding to Ratatouille, he actually corrected me. “No, I’m talkin' about Bug’s Life. You know that hot caterpillar? From Bugs Life? I thought maybe we could start dressing up like sexy insects just to make work a little more palatable. But my district manager told me to take a half-step and just try hiring rats.” Anyone who has dropped some brie, tossed gouda, or chucked a slice of swiss within squeaking distance of the UC knows that we share the space with rodents. Even after several weeks of protest in 2011 (apparently students wanted to accelerate extermination efforts by pointing out that rats do not pay tuition), they have remained a furry fixture in university life. Obviously rats pose a very real threat to human life in the form of diseases, but it is also worth placing our ears against the walls of rat perspective.

When asked about how he feels his kind has been represented in human media, Head Rat and new Tartan Minister of Food Health Lief Ratatoskr had this to say: “Take the Black Death. Yes, we showed up in boats from Central Asia, and yes, we had fleas that carried the disease, but has anyone ever asked themselves why no one ever pays attention to all the OTHER animals that carry fleas? I know the word scape-'goat' gets thrown around a lot, but my ex was a Capricorn and gave me the clap. Connect the fucking dots.” Ratatoskr says he thanks the film Ratatouille for opening the door for rats to enter the kitchen. Well, they were already in kitchens, but do so now with impunity.

Despite concerns, current employees are welcoming their new coworkers. “Did you know rats actually don’t need to take as long of a smoke break, because their bodies are so small? The downside is that all the rats that can cook are French, so they end up taking seven times the number of smoke breaks anyways. No free lunch, eh?” said Gallo Assistant Manager and Vice Steward to the Rat Prince, Thalia Urban.

Most importantly, these new hires have opened up a serious dialogue about labor. While not strictly part of the human economy, rats have learned how to advocate for themselves for equitable pay far better than people. It helps that when they unionize they look like a silky, writhing, squeaking demon from the Fifth Circle of Usurpers and Thieves, but one must acknowledge their gumption. And as the problem of understaffing is still present, I can put it no better than Ratatoskr: “Sure, maybe we rats like the real thing, but I think we can all agree that the way you get more employees is by offering more cheddar.”