How to actually get a seat in Free Speech Movement Cafe

It’s a Wednesday afternoon, and you just got out of class. You go over to Free Speech Movement Cafe to see if there are any seats available, which, unsurprisingly, there aren’t. Of course, you’re stubborn and you think you deserve a comfortable seat in FSM because there’s really nowhere else on our 1,232 acres of campus soil to hit the books. Here are some tips to help you out, ranked in order of increasing desperation:

1. Don’t go during peak hours. Peak hours begin five minutes after opening and prolong until five minutes before closing. It is strongly advised that you wake up early and arrive at the cafe at least an hour prior to opening to secure a spot.

2. Nothing says “you” better than a little personalization. Bring your own seat and table into the cafe and make a bold statement about how little you care about conformity. Your sociology professor would be proud.

3. Play hookie and wait diligently for someone to give up a seat. Remember to bring a razor and a stash of canned fruits in case the wait takes more than five days. What can be more important than that indoor spot in FSM, anyway?

4. Create minor disturbances. Sit at someone’s table, take your phone out and start talking as loud as you can until he or she leaves. Pretend you don’t understand English if asked to leave.

5. Breaking: money can buy happiness. Any bribe given to FSM employees upwards of $500 should reserve you a seat for at least a day. This is way better than other services you might receive for the same price.

6. Pitch a tent outside the cafe. Better, make it your permanent residence. Not only will you save on the cost of rent, you’ll drastically improve your chances of getting a seat. Heck, you might even become a UC Berkeley legend.

7. Sometimes your own ideas of right and wrong may trump the importance of cooperating with the law. Buy a lock pick set and get there before anyone else can. The arrest record is definitely worth the cozy indoor chair and table.

8. Make your mark in Berkeley history by buying out the cafe. Since the environment is conducive to your studying, effective studying cultivates good grades and good grades pretty much translate into career paths and salaries, why not? We already see you as the next Steve Jobs or Carl Icahn.

Or just accept the fact that it is virtually impossible to get a seat in FSM. The people you always see sitting inside aren’t who you think they are. They were hired by Chancellor Dirks to occupy those tables, reaping in the benefits of an hourly wage of $10.75 per hour and the promise of a lifetime supply of espresso brownies. You just can’t fight the system.

Contact Raymond Yang at [email protected].

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