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comment by veen
veen  ·  1154 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: When Harassment Is the Price of a Job

    These kinds of incidents are “so normalized; we experience them so much, and so much more when you work in this kind of industry,” Frank continued. “None of this is about sex, necessarily—it’s all about power. They’re not necessarily getting off on it; they’re showing us how small and insignificant we are and how our bodies aren’t ours. Even our ear canals aren’t ours.”

My housemate and I are going through all episodes of The Office (US) chronologically. Just this week we watched the season 2 episode on sexual harassment. The plot is that Michael Scott, who was an absolute jerk the first two seasons, is not allowed to make sexist comments anymore because of new policy, which he hates because it means he can’t be a jerk all the time anymore.

That was 2005 - it was about power back then, it’s about power now. I know a lot has changed since then, with a lot of inappropriate behavior being addressed in many fields, but pieces like this also make me feel like there is a lot to still be done. A livable wage to me represents the power dynamic change that’s needed, although that doesn’t solve the problem of shitty coworkers.


oyster  ·  1154 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Unfortunately in this industry a big problem is just what kind of place the owners want their restaurant to be. The story were the server told her boss about a shitty customer and he was only kicked out after a fight ? A good manager who didn’t want to manage a dive bar would have kicked him out long before that because they knew he would be a liability and cause problems in the future. It’s not just servers giving up power, it’s management doing the same and letting the customer dictate what kind of bar they’re running to sell drinks.

I’ve worked in to many customer facing positions to think changing wages will change anything. Even if I don’t make tips/make a good wage (which we do in Canada) I would still be expected to brush most of this stuff off. I get hit on more but I get treated better as a server than I did when I worked in a grocery store. The problem with how we don’t respect people who serve us goes way beyond our wages. Honestly, I’ve been harassed in every industry I’ve worked in, at least wth serving I’m not doing it for shitty pay.

kleinbl00  ·  1154 days ago  ·  link  ·  

In TV, I've worked with a lot of restauranteurs/chefs/line service folx. Not doing their jobs, but watching them doing their jobs, listening talk about how they do their jobs, hearing their stories about how they do their jobs.

A stunning number of them suck at doing their jobs.

Most small businesses fail. This is due to the fact that most people who start a business never have before and you don't get a do-over. Generally, people who start small businesses do so in no small part because they don't want anyone telling them what to do. A policy and procedure on sexual harassment is basically letting someone tell you what to do... except it's a faceless bureaucrat who is doing so via canned memos that you're required to post in the breakroom (by the way, you're required to have a breakroom). The businesses that succeed do so by being good at their core mission: ribs, or martinis, or tax prep. They don't succeed by being good at HR.

Restaurants are worse than most because there's a lot of unskilled labor involved. Or, more poignantly, there's a lot of labor where the skill can be cajoling more money out of customers through unctuousness and supplication. Your star chef may have no people skills whatsoever and your manager may be much better at scheduling than they are at conflict resolution and at the scale independent restaurants operate at the likelihood of any blowback from simply shining the problem on is effectively zero.

I do think that moving to an hourly paradigm, rather than a tip paradigm, would improve the situation. For one thing it would improve the stability of employees' lives. For another it would disincentivize putting up with sleazebags because they give you more money. For still another it would reduce the shadiness many restaurant owners employ in hiding tips from employees and make the relationship less adversarial.

But then, I fukk'n hate tipping. How long has Canada had a viable wage for servers? Because if I could say one negative thing about Vancouver, it would be "holy hell East Hastings sure turned into a shithole when heroin came in." If I could say two, the second would be "and restaurant servers there suck an amazing amount." The worst service I've ever experienced has been in Canada.

oyster  ·  1154 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Most restaurants don’t care about the dynamic between staff, but not being able to stand up to customers who are being shitheads will ensure their restaurant is always full of shitheads and they won’t get anywhere. They’ll just be a dive bar. I can’t speak to the situation in America but I haven’t experienced anything in a tipped job that I wasn’t expected to put up with for my hourly wage as well.

Sure, I might not have obvious reason in the form of the tip I want to deal with shitty customers instead of tell them off but I still need to keep my job. That means dealing with shitty customers. I straight up cried I think 3 times when I was a cashier, and dealt with creepy men constantly. When I was a gardener literally covered in dirt I got harassed all the time by men who couldn’t contain their excitement over a female labourer out in the wild and that job interview where I was told I should be able to handle sexual harassment at work if I want this job was an hourly pay. Tipping is something that sort of makes it all “okay” in my mind like at least I’m not putting up with it all for minimum wage anymore.

I don’t know the wages in BC very well, it has never in the time I’ve been working been okay to pay a server what they are paid in some states. Having said that, when I started working 10 years ago I made more on minimum wage than your federal minimum wage is now.