This receipt went viral earlier this week after Applebee’s waitress Chelsea Welch posted it to Reddit. The customer who wrote the note on the receipt called the Applebee’s location and demanded that people get fired—which is what happened to Welch. Welch has an editorial in the Guardian today explaining her predicament:
In light of the situation, I would like to make a statement on behalf of wait staff everywhere: We make $3.50 an hour. Most of my paychecks are less than pocket change because I have to pay taxes on the tips I make.
After sharing my tips with hosts, bussers, and bartenders, I make less than $9 an hour on average, before taxes. I am expected to skip bathroom breaks if we are busy. I go hungry all day if I have several busy tables to work. I am expected to work until 1:30am and then come in again at 10:30am to open the restaurant.
I have worked 12-hour double shifts without a chance to even sit down. I am expected to portray a canned personality that has been found to be least offensive to the greatest amount of people. And I am expected to do all of this, every day, and receive change, or even nothing, in return. After all that, I can be fired for “embarrassing” someone, who directly insults his or her server on religious grounds.
If the U.S. were to move to a “non-tip-dependent wage system for service workers like they have in other countries,” I’d be all for that. If that means higher menu prices, fine—I’d rather have that so it’s guaranteed that service workers are paid fairly than leave it up to individuals who each have their own definition of what “fair” is.