As the sun rises slowly over the Red Cedar, the Wells Hall Starbucks coddles sleep-deprived and tortured students with the promise of tasty caffeinated ephemera. Passersby ridicule, students meme it, and freshmen eagerly jump in thinking they have time to make it to their 10:20 classes. Does anyone really understand the line? MSU prides itself as a research university, yet one of the most puzzling aspects of MSU culture remains unchartered territory. The Black Sheep decided to once and for all engage in a full-on investigation of the Wells Hall Starbucks line.
A single croissant sits near us— us young and bushy-eyed reporters sit jammed between a wall and a table full of packaging majors. We don’t remember to bring a writing utensil, so we have to interrupt the cashier mid-transaction and ask for one. She helps us out, but reluctantly. We don’t like the cut of her jib.
The wait time has lowered considerably, the numbers as low as the amount of Michigan fans still thinking they are ‘playoff bound’. With students in class, the sweet rap-tap-tap of soft jazz juxtaposes oddly with the desolate wasteland of the chain coffeeshop before us. Only the occasional drifter or middle-aged white lady make their way through the maze of black polyester.
The energy in the room immediately shifts as an unexpectedly stout figure shuffles its way into the line. As we catch a quick glimpse of the curly hair, the iconic circular spectacles, and the air of greatness that one only wears by being the president of the university, we come to the realization that a walking legend has arrived among us: President Lou Anna K. Simon. She seems calm and collected as she waits in line among the proletariats, waiting for the cashier to turn their attention to her—just like a common pleb. A single bead of sweat drips down the cashier’s face and onto the counter, but Simon pays no attention. She grabs her grande mocha, and just like that, as mysteriously as she arrived, she was gone.
The number of customers steadily increases as we recover from the President Simon sighting, but it’s not the numbers we were expecting.
As we absolutely zone out on a piece of leftover bagel six tables over, the doors of B117 burst open like a pus-filled balloon. Students eager to spend their precious beer money on overpriced milk and sugar flood into the room as the line began to protrude out into the hallway and snake along the brick wall. For those on their way to their 10:20s stuck at back of the line, a nervous energy simmers. They shouldn’t worry though, at peak time it only takes, at most, 15 minutes from entrance to receiving an order.
The 10:20 classes started, and the line died faster than Michigan’s offense when the rain started to hit on Saturday. As we packed up our belongings and returned pens to the cashier, we left the Wells Hall Starbucks thrilled by our data, and to be honest, even more excited to have seen Prez Simon in person—a creature as rare and as beautiful as Loch Ness.
What We Discovered:
Pictured below are the results from the data we managed to collect. First, we graphed the average wait times for every 10-minute interval.
Next, we found the average wait times for both genders, then the time depending on if they were wearing a backpack.
Next, we calculated the statistical significance of men vs. women while wearing a backpack.
Finally, we provided a box plot with each gender and whether or not they had a backpack.
Each student has a different story, but when they make the fateful decision to jump into the Wells Hall Starbucks line, they become one. A self-aware organism that collectively yearns for the comfort of their homes and questions why they didn’t just go the easy route and attend GVSU. They try to avoid eye contact with fellow line-goers, but the overpriced squirt of caffeine attempting to compensate for those extra episodes of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia last night holds a sacred bond between them that will never be broken.
[Special thanks to Zac Fijolek for creating graphs.]