Restaurants are finally opening again, so head out to the local cantina and order up some fajitas, margaritas, and maybe even a Corona. Okay, skip the Corona; it’s still too soon. As the nation finally lurches back into motion, millions of Americans want to know if they can leave the house and eat out. HuffPost has the answer: yes, you inconsiderate oaf – but only if you’re a terrible human being who enjoys toying with the lives of the exploited.
Jen Rose Smith recently penned a piece for the left-wing “news” outlet titled “Yes, You Can Dine At Reopened Restaurants. But Is It Ethical?” You may be asking yourself if this is a real concern. Apparently, it is; the author took it seriously enough to contact an ethicist. Spoiler alert: The answer is no; it is not ethical – a conclusion Smith seems to have reached well before all the hemming and hawing of the ethicist, who refused to provide a definite answer to the question.
Stop Whining and Go to Work
Our story today begins with the harrowing tale of a confrontation between a true hero and, well, a true jackass. “On her second shift after Leunig’s Bistro and Café reopened in Burlington, Vermont, server Lyndsey Hobart asked a diner to wear a mask as he walked through the restaurant toward the restroom,” begins Smith’s story. Can you guess where this is going? The customer – who, it must be pointed out, was dining with his wife and small child – walked away, saying, “This is f***ing bull****.”
Hobart agreed, Smith tells us. You see, she doesn’t love being back at work. She was much happier staying at home, drawing whatever unemployment she got from her state (somewhere between Vermont’s minimum compensation of $68 and maximum of $498) plus $600 a week from the federal government. Gasp! What a shocker: a restaurant server would prefer not to go to work for a paycheck when she can sit at home for $668-$1,098 a week. As incomes go, that ain’t bad. Imagine drawing a middle-class income for not working. But you see, when restaurants across the state reopened for dining in June, “Hobart and other employees were faced with a stark choice.”
Why Do You Work?
Here’s the ethical issue: Hobart didn’t want to go back to work. Neither did her coworker, Stephanie Cohen, who calls it a “problem of consent.” Smith writes that there is “no way to know whether your server is reporting to work willingly, or out of fear of destitution.” Wrong, Jen. Most people don’t like their jobs. Of those who are lucky enough to enjoy what they do, how many would keep showing up to do the work if the paychecks stopped? Newsflash: Nearly every paid employee in the world works out of fear of destitution – and almost everyone would quickly find something more enjoyable to do with their time if the income miraculously became unnecessary and then disappeared.
This entire article – written, by the way, by an author who gets paid for content – reads like a demand for Universal Basic Income. Cohen evidently feels doomed. “I feel like it’s gone from hospitality to servitude,” she told Smith. “It’s like I’m looking at people eating on the top deck of the Titanic.” Oh, these poor oppressed servants who must go back to work or lose all their free stuff.
How Dare You?
Smith goes from this tragic story to an explanation of how people gathering in large numbers spreads Coronavirus. Crowded restaurants are, it appears, more dangerous than even more densely crowded grocery stores. Or do leftists think that all those people who’ve never cooked a meal in their lives opted for the breatharian diet during the pandemic? No, there was once a time when at any given point, you would find dozens of people in every grocery store in a town and, simultaneously, dozens of people in nearly every restaurant. Shut down the dozens of restaurants in every city and where must all those people go for food? Grocery stores, for a time, were the bottleneck – the one place that at least one person from every household had to go at least semi-regularly.
But you’re a lazy monster who values convenience over human life if you dare to relieve that congestion and dine out now that the restaurants are open once again.
The ethicist, Randy Cohen, refused to vilify these folks, though there was a good deal of back and forth. “People who go out to eat potentially put the servers at risk, but people have to live and people need jobs.” Instead, Cohen would rather blame the government. “What this shows is the utter futility of individual solutions,” he said. “We set national standards for workplace safety – even without a pandemic – so to leave this question to some individual who wants to go out and get a pizza seems like madness to me.”
“Are you writing to your congressperson demanding decent conditions for workers,” he asks. “You have to do that.” Oh, and don’t you dare think you can buy your way out of guilt by paying these servers more than they would normally make as a sort of hazard pay by leaving a bigger than usual tip. “It does not get you off the hook,” Cohen said. “It’s not a fee you pay to engage in antisocial behavior.”
So remember: You’re a terrible person profiting off slave labor if you dare dine out. But if you do, don’t try to make it better for the poor servants by paying them more. They don’t need your pity or your guilt money – just your tax-funded government benefits.
Read more from James Fite.