Today, in Treating Our Workers Badly

Workers who subsist on tips have to deal with an unacceptable level of sexual harassment in order to get those pennies. This is the kind of thing we don’t need a study to tell us but hey, here’s a study anyway! Also, some intriguing facts about the part uniforms play:

servers appear to report significantly more harassment (and a greater willingness to tolerate sexual harassment) in the 43 states using a tipped sub-minimum wage than in the seven states that don’t have one. While employees are (slightly) more likely to experience harassment from co-workers than from customers, in those instances, they also reported feeling more like they were able to tell the offending party to stop. This confirms what we’ve heard from overwhelming anecdotal evidence for quite a while: servers are far more likely to tolerate intolerable behavior if their ability to pay the rent is on the line.

The study also goes into the way uniforms contribute to sexual harassment. Thirty percent of workers reported that male and female employees are required to wear different uniforms. The study’s findings seem to indicate* that workers were twice as likely to report suffering sexual harassment if the uniforms were different than if they were the same. Women in states with a tipped minimum wage also reported that they were three times more likely to be told to “dress sexy” by management in order to get better tips.

Not angry enough? Read this: Wal-Mart has decided to cut benefits for PT workers, even though the Wal-Mart empire has produced so much money that individual Waltons take up four spots on the list of Top 10 Richest People in America. Christy Walton is the 6th richest American with a fortune of $38 billion, Jim is 7th with a fortune of $36 billion, Alice is 9th with $34.9B, and S. Robert is 10th with $34.8. Come on guys. You’ll never make it onto our list of Our Favorite Rich People, or into heaven, if you don’t get it together.

Red Lobster Waitress Receives a Racial Slur on a Receipt—And then $10,000

Workers in the food service industry don't always get treated all that well, and if you ask servers to tell you about a time when they got cheated out of a tip, they'll have plenty of anecdotes to choose from. Toni Jenkins, a waitress at a Red Lobster in Tennessee, was not only cheated out of a tip—she also received a receipt that had a racial slur written on the "total" line directed at her. She posted the receipt online and got some praise for taking a stand, and some criticism from people who accused her of fabricating the receipt (the customer denied writing the slur). But Jenkins is coming out on top—a California man was able to raise $10,000 for Jenkins through a fund called "Tips for Toni."

Quitting in a Blaze of Glory, NYC Waitress Edition

A waitress’s open letter to the oh-so-seductive customer who manhandled her has gone viral. I should excerpt it but the whole thing is so fantastic, I’m reprinting it here in full:

Dear Brian, You came into the restaurant where I work and ordered a Stoli on the rocks. When I asked you and your companion if you’d be eating, or needing anything else from me, you put your hand – ever so gently – ON MY ASS and asked if you could take me “to go”. When I immediately stepped away and said “Sorry, what?” you probably gathered that I was and am not receptive of such advances from customers. We were in a family-friendly restaurant, around 6:30pm, and I was wearing a loose-fitting, long sleeve shirt, jeans, and no makeup…so I’m not sure where the confusion arose as to what kind of service you were being provided. You left soon after, leaving a signed credit card slip and a two dollar tip (see picture included!). Your name is Brian Lederman. I found you, instantly, via a quick Google search online. I looked at your face on Linked In, the World’s Largest Professional Network. You work at Swiss Performance Management and Truehand AG, in Investment Management. Of course you do. 

I work as a bartender, and have for more than five years now. I graduated NYU with honors, and have at some point held down every conceivable part time type job including but not limited to food service, administration, and even temp work at firms such as yours. So far, bartending allows me the most flexibility to pursue my artistic career, while comfortably covering my basic living expenses, including my outrageously high student loan payments. I have a good job that I’m grateful for. The environment is low key, I have incredibly supportive coworkers and managers, and – in general – the clientele is nice. But I still hate being a bartender. 

4 Famous People I Served Brunch to And How They Tipped

Famous people and you (no, famous people and ME).

When Waitressing Pays More Than Publishing

In the restaurant industry, “I’m so broke,” was a constant server/bartender lament. Frequently, I good-naturedly nodded my head in agreement. “I know,” I said, pretending to be worried about making rent or having enough money to fly home for the holidays. “Me too.”