Star trek 

Why are there still servers in the canteen? Wouldn't it be a serve yourself kind of deal with a replicator?

Star trek 

@acdw Same reason they have a ship psychiatrist. A good bartender is there to listen, maybe over advice. It’s an excuse for a social work point of contact for the person keen enough to know they should leave the replicator in their cabin and maybe socialize. Guinan helped a lot of people. It’s kind of weird that the role didn’t appear to roll up directly under Troi, but perhaps a Civilian social worker was an intentional concession for Starfleet client privilege responsibilities.

Star trek 

@max oh, I didn't mean Guinan; you're absolutely right about her role. I'm talking about the service staff, who just go to get banana splits and bus tables. That seems like menial work that few would be willing to do. But maybe I've misunderstood Star Trek economics.

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Star trek 

@acdw I’d imagine it fits the same role/remit of social touch points for a social species confined to cramped spaces. TNG missed a chance to explore any of those characters that deeply, but for instance DS9’s varied takes on the dabo girls and ROM’s involvement in the bar.

Star trek 

@acdw Though you are right that having them do menial tasks while doing it might be a last reflection of something like the Protestant Work Ethic, that it is better to “work” on something than nothing.

Or it might be necessary social theater, a lubricant for the primal brain that those folks have a reason to be in your space before you engage them outside of your regular peer group.

I bet Starfleet psych is full of weird experiments.

Star trek 

@acdw Also, outside of Guinan, most of them seem to be Ensigns. Maybe the “fetch the coffee” internship survived into Starfleet as a required networking and apprenticeship step. Maybe it’s something like military kp or a jury duty of sorts to keep junior officers fresh and disciplined.

Star trek 

@max these are all really good points, thank you! And I'm further convinced that the next thing to watch is DS9. I especially like the KP take you've given. It makes a lot of sense. I'd assume that Star Fleet would be a job in great demand, so they'd need something for low ranking ensigns to do

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