A Student’s Guide to Sneaking into Bartlett

If you’re going to obtain food on the sly, do it like a well-seasoned fourth-year.

By Liam Leddy

 We’ve all been hungry on campus and low on funds, repulsed by the University’s overpriced off-campus meal plans but tantalized by the prospect of all-you-can eat shrimp po’ boys. To those of us in that predicament, we turn to the church of endless delicatessen delights and Kosher pita: Bartlett Dining Hall. To be clear, I cannot confirm if I’ve ever eaten at Bartlett without swiping in, and I certainly don’t condone stealing food from an organization with a track record of serving subpar food to inmates. That is certainly not okay, and all of what follows is hearsay. But for those with a certain moral flexibility, here I provide a handy guide to getting into Bartlett without paying and without getting caught.

Before we begin the guide, there’s one rule that must be followed:

1. Do not fuck with Tammy.

If Tammy is working the door, don’t even try it. Just walk away. It’s not worth it. She will find you, and she will kick you out. And you’ll feel awful about yourself when she does. If Bartlett is a church, Tammy’s the priest. She sees all, everywhere and always. Don’t fuck with Tammy.

There are several avenues by which one can enter Bartlett, each of which has its risks and advantages, its strengths and weaknesses. They are:

1. The Elevator

A time-honored classic, kids have been entering Bartlett through the elevator since it became a dining hall. It’s reported to be largely risk-free, as there’s hardly ever anyone at the counter on that side. Entering this way is a largely stress-free ordeal, albeit time-consuming, as the elevator is apparently quite slow. I have a friend who uses what’s probably my favorite Bartlett-entry method, a variation on the elevator tactic: He goes up to the third floor, comes down in the elevator, and, if questioned, says that he went upstairs to poop. He makes sure to say “poop,” so that whoever is questioning him gets uncomfortable and ends the conversation. Seems like overkill to me, but to each their own. Although this is probably the easiest tactic, keep in mind that it’s difficult to scope out the scene before entering; if there happens to be a worker near that entrance and you don’t have an inside contact, you might get caught. And if you can’t talk your way out of it, you might get bounced.

2. The Snag-a-plate

This is something of a higher-effort tactic, as it requires you to either steal a Bartlett plate and keep it with you, or shamelessly ask someone on the third floor for their dirty dishes. I know people who engage in both these activities. Once you have your plate, or bowl, or cup, in hand, simply walk in through whichever entrance you please. You have a plate, so how could you have snuck in? This is probably best used in tandem with the elevator, simply as a backup in case you get caught.

3. The Snag-a-Frosh

Know a first-year who isn’t using their ID right now? Take it. As long as you do it with confidence and swipe your ID with it face-down, you’ll probably be okay. This is reportedly the main reason frats have pledges. It’s important to be aware that if you get caught once doing this, you may never be able to do it again, at least not on the same front-counter worker; they might know your face.

Also, it’s possible this loophole has been closed, but in the past, most front-counter workers reportedly didn’t scan guest swipes properly—they just scanned them as another meal swipe, meaning that those on unlimited meal plans had unlimited guest swipes, too. That may be worth looking into if you have a first-year to piggyback on.

4. The Back Door

Maybe the riskiest of all possible methods, but also the most thrilling. Wait until someone walks out the exit, the one on the opposite side of the counter from the main entrance, and just grab the door before it closes and walk in. When using this method, it’s essential to walk up the staircase on the same side as the exit; if you walk up the one on the same side as the entrance, the front desk worker might see you. The same goes if you linger too long on the back stairs; it’s really better to just be decisive and go for it quick.

5. Just Get a Meal Plan

But who wants to do that?

Liam Leddy is a fourth-year in the College majoring in economics.