Service Workers are People, too!

How to treat service workers and why

https://www.flickr.com/photos/daniellemharms/4945549652

https://www.flickr.com/photos/daniellemharms/4945549652

Mike McQueen, Multimedia Specialist

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There has been much debate of late on whether the federal minimum wage should be raised to keep pace with the rise in cost of living. As documented on ncsl.org many states have already adopted a higher than the federal minimum wage, with the exception of Wyoming and Georgia both at $5.15/hr, though for most workers the federal would apply.
Without getting into a debate on the merits of a living wage, it is easy to forget that over 80% of workers in the United States are service workers per the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, and they are brought on if not only paid minimum wage. Service work is the only sector that is virtually immune to outsourcing because so much of it is done face to face, and therefore cannot be outsourced. A few examples of service workers include wait staff, hotel staff, drivers and cashiers.
Tipped workers like wait staff are a unique example, because as seen on illinois.gov they may be paid up to 40% less than the minimum wage or about $4.65/hr. This means that their tips are expected to cover the difference up to and in some cases over the minimum wage.
All of this is to say that the people you go to for your service needs are not rich money-grubbing monsters, but rather hardworking, poorly paid folks just trying to get by.
The person behind the service desk did not purposely leave an out-of-date item on the shelf. The waitress who is trying to juggle eight different tables because someone called out is not trying to make you sick by bringing you a regular instead of diet soda.
Actually it seems service workers are kind of like offensive lineman in football, because nobody talks about them unless they make a mistake. Meanwhile, the endless days and hours that they put in doing really taxing work correctly is not celebrated.
So the next time you go through the drive-thru, eat at a restaurant, return something to a store or call customer service, try and remember you are dealing with fellow human beings with a family and feelings just like you. Try saying “thank you,” and leaving a fair tip. Most importantly, leave your frustrations elsewhere, because these workers do not deserve you making their days worse. By the way what are the odds that you are part of the dwindling 20% who are not in the service industry, and do you really want your bad actions coming back to you in the near future.

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