Fast food employees work harder than we acknowledge

Bea Fields and Bea Fields

Have you ever driven in a Level 1 snowstorm to deliver food halfway across town, witness a car spin out in front of you and, upon arrival, realize that the customer did not leave a tip?

Sometimes at work, my coworkers and I underline the whopping $0.00 tip you left us before we give you your order because we all want you to know that we know you are either too broke to order out or supremely rude. Delivery drivers and waiters alike have the same problem, and it’s you.

You are our problem. Many of us in the food industry can barely stay afloat because our wages and hours are horrendous. We have more to do on the job than you realize: catering, customer service, cleaning your beer vomit in the bathroom every Saturday at 4 a.m., flushing the toilet you forgot to flush. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, stopping you from unbuckling your pants and urinating in the middle of the freaking lobby.

There is a common misconception that fast food workers are lazy, and our jobs aren’t that hard. That’s why you don’t see hit television dramas about Taco Bell or McDonald’s (I’d watch it though).

Many of us are deeply uninformed about the fast-food industry. Sure, there are benefits that come with the job. After one or two years, you store all the B.S. and every negative event that has transpired in some unfathomable place in the depths of your soul.

The reality is that some workers don’t even qualify for the benefits that are promised. Either they are too old, have something going on with their means-tested governmental aid or have families that depend on them. Fast food workers aren’t always teenagers at their first job!

It takes a certain kind of resilience to go into a grease bucket every day and know that the world around you just doesn’t really care that much about who is prepping gross and unhealthy food.

Hundreds of thousands of crew workers probably didn’t choose to work there. Yet, it seems to me that customers think most crew workers had some kind of choice.

If you work in food service and are reading this, I just want you to know you deserve better. Better wages, better tips and better benefits. Rent is getting harder to pay and student loan debt is a looming national issue that no one seems to really go into.

The world is getting pretty expensive, and literally everyone is feeling that heat, but no one person has the right to take that universal frustration out on you and your kitchen.