People should be nicer to service industry workers

Jamie Bass, Staff Reporter

We’ve all heard people say that everyone should work a job in the service industry, whether it be retail or food service. My mother told me that I needed to because it would teach me how to work and that I didn’t want to be doing that for the rest of my life.

While working in the service industry still remains something that just isn’t for me, the biggest thing I learned was empathy towards people working in these professions. 

Granted, my previous job in food service was one of the worst work environments I’ve been in, and that wasn’t always the customer’s fault. That being said, during my time working at this establishment I experienced some rather dehumanizing treatment from the other side of the counter. 

In fact, after COVID-19 restrictions had been lifted, the Massachusetts Restaurant Association began a billboard campaign to serve as a reminder to the general public that restaurants are adjusting and may operate at a delayed speed. 

According to Time magazine in an article written by Belinda Luscombe, “people have been so rude that at least one restaurant in the area felt obliged to close for a day to give its employees time to recover from the impoliteness of the guests.” 

As someone who worked in food service during the heat of the pandemic, I would have appreciated the time to recover. However, I don’t think one day is nearly enough time with what me and many other service industry employees had to put up with. 

I once had a man yell at me for 20 minutes over a $1.30 side of gravy. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend it. But I needed the money. 

A lot of customer service workers are in similar situations too. In an article by CNN Business by Danielle Wiener-Bronner this is articulated through an interview with Ingrid Moody speaking on the “entitled” customers she’s come across. 

“We have less staff and less kitchen crew and people just don’t seem to care.” Said Moody in her interview with Wiener-Bronner. “They’re very demanding. And they take it out on your tips.” 

You never know what circumstances an employee is working under, the restaurant could be short staffed, busy, or the employee could just be having a bad day. Also, the thing upsetting the customer could be completely out of the employee’s control.

That being said, many service industry employees don’t or can’t receive tips. Retail employees for example, typically don’t get tipped even when the service they provide is good. And especially with the holiday season coming up there is extra pressure. 

So with this extra pressure in mind, please be nice to those working in the service industry. They’re just trying to do their job and they’re not getting paid to be yelled at.