Macalester students order cheap, overstay, and Grand Avenue businesses…like it?

By Alison Hoyer

When the ranks of diligent, focused students and the still silence of the Dewitt Wallace Library impair one’s own studying abilities, many students choose to relocate their study sessions to one of the many cafs and restaurants near campus.As soon as Macalester students walk into a local establishment, the workers recognize us by our learned Minnesotan charm, our book-laden bags and our tendency to order the cheapest items on their menus.

The people in these businesses presume that we will order little and overextend our stay in their vinyl booths, straight-backed chairs, and overstuffed loungers. Buried deep in our textbooks and intently typing on our laptops, we may not notice that a line has formed at the register and that our studious demeanor might be crimping the business of beloved Coffee News, or the quirky Italian Pie Shoppe.

When we walk into The Tea Garden, craving bubble tea on a night of inebriation, we may not understand that our loud voices and clumsy endeavors are not the last images the workers want to witness before heading home after a long day.

Here’s the weird part: despite just reasons to hate us, Grand Avenue…doesn’t.

In fact, they adore us. Which leads one to wonder: what makes us Macalester students do darn appealing?

For one, the Macalester student body is generally recognized as a group of polite individuals, conscious of others and aware of their feelings.

“I think Macalester students are really nice and friendly, and they are a big contributor to our business,” Breadsmith employee and St. Thomas student Mary Foley said.

Our constant presence at these local establishments results in a sense of endearment for our fidelity to certain products. The Tea Garden manager Tiarr Behrens claims to have many loyal customers who come in daily to satisfy their bubble tea addiction.

“There is a group of girls who come in and always get either Thai or Royal tea,”?Behrens said. “At this point, I know each of their drinks and can start making it as soon as I see them outside our door.”

Shish waitress Anna Goldberg ’08 recounts a friendship that is the product of many interactions with a regular Mac customer.

“This girl used to come in once or twice a week and she would always look at the menu forever, think about ordering something different, but then eventually always order chicken shawarma,” Goldberg said. “We just became friends because we saw each other so often.

Another significant reason that Macalester students have a strong bond with the nearby community is that many students are employed at the businesses on Grand Avenue.

Most of the managers of nearby businesses spoke highly of their Macalester employees, indicating that this relationship positively influences their perceptions of the Macalester student body. However, the employees at these businesses need not know Mac students personally in order to appreciate what we give to the surrounding community.

“I live in the neighborhood and when Macalester students are out, it has a good energy,” said Leo Judeh, Shish owner. “It’s really a blessing to live and work near Macalester.”

“I love Macalester students,” Coffee News manager Stephen Schwecicendieck said. “We wouldn’t be here if they weren’t here, too.”

Whether it be our amiable personas, our endearing ignorance to outworn welcomes or our habits of getting addicted to some of the best products Grand Avenue has to offer, local businesses can’t get enough of the Fighting Scots.

(Then again, our appeal might just be in our ridiculously good looks.)