hates having to go to lunch at 12:35, but this is frequently unavoidable. What is so
critical about this specific time in the day?
As the clock approaches the hour of apocalypse, in a cafeteria of, say, 130 seats, there
are about 50 seats available. Assuming an average person requires 10 to 15 minutes to
finish his lunch, plus another 5 minutes to chat to a friend at the same table, by the
time the first 10 people in the queue have taken their trays and turned around, it should
be expected that, in addition to the 50 seats available at present, there would be at
least 10 to 15 more seats available.
However, is this really so? Not at 12:35. By the time the first person in the queue has
taken his tray, payed and turned around, lo and behold, there are no seats left. Table
tops are now strewn with coats, jackets, backpacks, handbags, umbrellas, books, notebooks,
and even sheets of paper hastily torn out of a notebook that have been placed down on the
tables so that the seats now count as occupied.
The person with his tray hesitates. Are there any more seats available? Isn't that one to
the far end near the window empty? Should he stop near the counter to add a bit of lemon
juice to his salad? He decides not to take the chance. He cautiously tries to get past the
queue of jostling people without spilling his soup. Will he finally manage it? No. By the
time he emerges on the other side of the queue, the 70th person in line has already dumped
a pile of books on that table, with a few of them neatly distributed over the table top in
favor of others who might like to sit with him.
This is not an engineering problem. It is the same sort of behavioral dilemma encountered
when someone finds an empty jug on his table. Not to worry. You only have to grab the jug
full of water on the table behind you. However, not to appear to be selfish with two jugs
on your table and none on the other, don't forget to put your empty jug on the table
I think that preventing "lunchtime chaos" at Bilkent is easy. Just a bit of
thought and care for others will do.
Chair / Department of Accounting