Stop Assuming Food Service Workers Are Stupid
After the mid-term elections a couple of weeks ago, I noticed a disturbing trend in the memes that were being tossed onto the world wide web. These memes were meant to insult the person in the photos, but they also kind of insulted a whole demographic of the workforce of this country at the same time.
When the Arizona gubernatorial race was called for Katie Hobbs, making Kari Lake the loser, I saw a meme that rubbed me the wrong way. It was of a Photoshopped Kari Lake working at a drive-thru window of a fast food restaurant asking a customer if they “want fries with that.” I saw a couple of other memes using the same tired premise that, if you lost your election, then you absolutely should just go work in the food service industry because, what else could you possibly do with your life.
Hilarious, right? I’m not debating that Kari Lake might be as dumb as box of hair plugs, but can’t we find a way to insult an idiot without also insulting the thousands of people who proudly ask customers if they do indeed want fries with something?
Far too many people think that anyone who works in a restaurant must only do it because they either have no other options or they’re too stupid do anything else. First off, they do have options and they choose to work there for reasons that only matter to them. Maybe they like the flexible schedule because it lets them be home with their kids more. Or maybe they like having a job they don’t have to take home with them.
Second of all, not everyone who works in food service is necessarily a member of the Mensa society, but that can be said about any profession. We all know someone who has multiple college degrees and still doesn’t know their ass from their elbow. I had a college professor who had his doctorate but still seemed like he couldn’t think his way out of a wet paper bag.
Food service workers are not stupid. They have an innate ability to practice patience and foresight, and they know how to multi-task. They make quick decisions, calculating in their brains what needs to happen before something else does so that a dinner service can go smoothly.
Some restaurants require servers to memorize every ingredient of every dish just in case a customer wants to know how much dried mustard is in the glaze for the honey-baked ham. Considering that the Cheesecake Factory has a menu that’s about as long as the Old Testament, that’s not an easy feat. It takes a certain level of intelligence to recite all of the ingredients in their Bang-Bang Chicken and Shrimp. Every food professional from a cashier at McDonald’s to a sommelier at a Michelin star restaurant has to be smart enough to know when to stop letting a customer take advantage of them. And that’s something that can’t be taught, but it will be be learned.
If someone wants to put down someone else because they think they’re stupid or a loser, have at it. Just find a new way to insult someone that doesn’t degrade food workers in the process. Photoshopping a paper hat onto someone and adding a speech bubble about french fries isn’t that creative. Try harder. Like, say they’re as dumb as box of hair plugs and call it a day. (You lost, Kari.)