This article was last modified on December 12, 2004.

Is Time For Cookies Part of the Food Court?

In 1995, two minds came together to discuss a variety of issues from Kryptonite condoms to the Stinkpalm. These two gentlemen? Brodie Bruce and T. S. Quint, representative voices from the Y Generation. And from this same conference came the great mystery: is Time For Cookies part of the food court? While the debate was not conclusingly finished on that fateful day, the cookie conundrum will be conquered this time around.

Argument One (Quint’s Hypothesis)

Objecting to Bruce’s initial claim that Time For Cookies was not a part of the food court, Quint justified his position as follows: “The cookie stand is an eatery, an eatery is part of the food court.” Essentially, we can sum up his argument as a basic stance on wholes and parts. He feels that the food court as a whole is a collection of parts we call eateries. If the cookie stand is an eatery (and we will assume that it is), then it must be a part of the food court.

We can compare this to a classroom of third graders being taught by Miss Avery. The class as a whole is made up of twenty-five students. Each student is a part of this class, and the class is not complete without each of the students. In the event one student leaves the classroom to use the bathroom or calls in sick on a particular day, this does not make the child any less a part of the class. Regardless of location, the missing student is a part of the group we call “Miss Avery’s class.” By extension, Quint could argue regardless of location, Time For Cookies is part of the food court because it shares the same characteristics as the other parts of the food court that reside in the general “food court area.”

This reasoning, however, is incorrect. Although we could say this debate revolves around wholes and parts, that line of reasoning is merely flawed rhetoric to throw the audience off course. The real issue here is a matter of location. While we can say the missing student is still part of Miss Avery’s class even when outside the classroom, the question is not about being a part of a class, but rather something is in a set located area or not. By definition, a food court is “an area, such as a section of a mall or an alleyway, in which vendors sell food at stations about a common eating space.” Something cannot be a part of this greater whole unless it meets the requirements of sharing the common eating space of the other eateries. While we will return to this issue in a moment, we can clearly state the cookie stand does not share the common area as evidenced by the two young men enjoying their confectionary treats on a bench rather than at a cafeteria table.

A better parallel to the cookie stand than the class argument is an argument I call the Texans in Aspen argument. We start with the assertion that Texas is made up of Texans, which seems on the face of itself to be true. This is similar to saying that the food court is composed of eateries. However, we can not reverse this reasoning and assume that anywhere an eatery is that we are in an area of the food court. To demonstrate this, assume that the entire population of Texas is coincidentally in the city of Aspen, Colorado for an afternoon. Regardless of how many Texans are in Aspen, the city remains Aspen, Colorado. It does not become Texas simply because it is full of Texans. (Furthermore, Texas remains Texas even when empty.)

Quint’s argument for the cookie stand’s food court inclusion fails. Let us turn now to Bruce’s counter-argument.

Argument Two (Bruce’s Hypothesis)

Bruce argues for the same point as we have made above, although he does so in a more compact manner. Simply put, he asserts that “eateries that operate within the designated square downstairs qualify as food court. Anything operating outside the said designated square is considered an autonomous unit for mid-mall snacking.” This position is more or less in line with our following of the issues so far, although Bruce’s claims of a “designated square” are not literally accurate.

He further drives his point home by bringing to our attention the obvious fact that “the food court is downstairs, the cookie stand is upstairs. It’s not like we’re talking quantum physics here!” However, these points are really aside from the greater issue. He is on the mark to state the eatery known as Time For Cookies must be in the general region as other eateries. He goes too far, however, when he limits this region to a “designated square” or having to be “downstairs.” We will tackle these two clarifications separately.

First, to be in the food court, an eatery does not need to be in any designated square if by “square” we mean a clearly definable quadrilateral shape. While this author is willing to accept the premise that most food courts are square, rectangular or similar shape, the court may also include hallways (as are present in many malls) adjacent to this set square. If we take the typical food court, we will find it is connected the mall proper by a stretch of hallway. If this hallway contains any eateries within a few stores of the food court, this area shall also be considered the food court. Although this eatery is operating outside a set square, the restaurant is clearly within walking distance of the cafeteria and one would suppose it likely the customer might use this communal seating arrangement to dine.

Second, the upstairs and downstairs difference does not automatically rule out one eatery’s placement in the food court. Time For Cookies is upstairs, but this is not what makes it outside of the food court. Suppose, for example, a food court had an upper level where those eating upstairs could look down on the people dining below. Although the upstairs diners are not engaged in conversation with those below, they are still in the same cafeteria, are they not? So, “quantum physics” or not, the distinction is not as simple as upstairs and downstairs.


While Bruce may have had a few flaws in his system, his position was correct. Time For Cookies is not part of the food court at all, but rather the autonomous unit for mid-mall snacking. Quint’s arguments are founded upon false premises and while fairly convincing in the right light, do not hold up under closer scrutiny. With this new analysis finally putting the food court debate to an end, perhaps our two heroes can move on to bigger and better debates. For example, which is more important: breakfast or a once-in-a-lifetime Sega-simulated hockey game?

Also try another article under Miscellaneous, Philosophical
or another one of the writings of Gavin.

One Response to “Is Time For Cookies Part of the Food Court?”

  1. Your Reader Says:

    Good work! Thank you very much!
    I always wanted to write in my site something like that. Can I take part of your post to my blog?
    Of course, I will add backlink?

    Sincerely, Timur I.

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