Chelsea Welch, a waitress at an Applebees restaurant in Saint Louis, was fired after posting a customer’s receipt, with handwritten message, on Reddit. The customer wrote on the receipt “I give God 10%, why do you get 18.”
Intended to make fun of the customer’s confused logic, the Reddit posting backfired when the customer caught wind of the posting, was embarrassed, and complained to Applebees, resulting in the waitress being terminated.
Even though the receipt was posted without exposing anyone’s identity and no laws were broken, because the customer was embarrassed and complained, the woman was fired, on principle.
Now the waitress has made a statement via The Guardian, pointing out the facts of working in the service industry.
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.
The waitress also mentions that, in other countries, servers are guaranteed adequate money, unlike in the U.S.
In this economy, $3.50 an hour doesn’t cut it. I can’t pay half my bills. Like many, I would love to see a reasonable, non-tip-dependent wage system for service workers like they have in other countries. But the system being flawed is not an excuse for not paying for services rendered.
The customer’s attitude and Applebees response to the event are both illogical and dismaying to me. Religious tithes have no bearing on taking care of a good server who needs to be tipped to survive.
As Welch puts it:
Things like this happen to servers all the time. People seem to think that the easiest way to save money on a night out is to skip the tip.
This is not fair to servers who work hard. And it is shortsighted on Applebees’ part to value an irate, rude customer over a quality employee. Welch took care not to expose anyone’s identity. She was trying to make a joke and also make a point, and what has ended up being demonstrated are flawed attitudes toward servers and tipping.
Do you think the restaurant overreacted? Was the waitress wrong to post the receipt on Reddit? To me neither of these issues is as important as increased respect for service industry workers.