I was struck by this hook on the front page of nytimes.com today:
Schools are shelving the once-ubiquitous trays in the hopes of conserving water, cutting food waste, softening the ambience and saving money.
Everything communicates. Clearly trays say a lot — like “pile on more than you really need” and they also say “this is a cafeteria vs. perhaps some place a little more elegant”.
Here’s the article by Lisa Foderaro.
BTW.. while searching for a photo to illustrate this post I found some trays that literally say something.
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Reading about trays reminded me of this fine book I read a few years back:
Ignore the fact that it’s been packaged as a diet thing– it’s really a communications and a psych book about food, full of great experiments that show over and over how susceptible we are to cues like wine bottle labels, menu pricing, and the like. It won’t rock your world, and you’ve probably seen much of it before, but if you’ve got some time on an airplane it’s worth a read.