the Goliard
November, 2004

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Hey

  What's this BS we hear about you staging a fake contest to increase beer sales by promising the waitress who sold the most alcohol in a month a new Toyota and then rewarding her instead with a green toy Yoda doll? What kind of horse crap is that? We hear she's suing your asses and rightly so. What, it's not enough that you insist that women parade around in uncomfortably tight polyester outfits and behave like dingbats? Not enough that you discriminate against waitrons of the male gender, allow peepholes in dressing rooms, and secretly videotape job applicants? Now you've decided to also humiliate the girls still willing to work for you with bogus contests that result in even more public embarrassment? You're building up quite a reputation as a pimp-like employer. What's next, staging a "Piñata Party" where you let waitresses endure a long night of work before stringing them up by their ankles and inviting customers to poke and hit them with sticks for the chance to scoop up all the tip money that falls out of their aprons?

We can assure you from experience that waiting on the American businessman is bad enough without also having to degrade yourself further by suggestively selling crappy beer for the chance to win some prize which then subsequently ends up being a hoax. And we won't even get into to the matter of management brainstorming some plan that motivates employees to pour as much alcohol as they possibly can down their customer's gullets just before watching them waddle out to climb into their cars. When the now justifiably litigious waitress Jodee Berry (shown at right with her new unwanted Jedi friend) was told that if she sold more beer in a month than her chesty compadres, she would be entered in a drawing for the chance to win a new car, she probably thought, "OK, this job sucks bad enough already so I might as well grin and bear it and see if I can't win something while I'm schlepping this greasy slop and watered down swill out to these drooling slobs." Then, after a month of such truck and forcing herself to be even more artificially obsequious then usual, which, by the way, assumedly netted the restaurant some pretty good coin, she gets informed by some smirking bastard that probably looked much like Yoda himself, that she has won the contest. Excited that her dead end job is finally paying off, she is then led to the parking lot blindfolded where she is expecting to be handed the keys to a new Echo or RAV 4. Instead she finds herself looking down at a 24 dollar doll, all big eared and green, housed in a box and staring up at her. Gasping and glancing around in shame at the laughing faces, she realizes she has been punked by her employers and embarrassed further in front of co-workers and customers alike. We'd be pissed too.

Hooters doesn't have all that sterling of a track record already of course so most people probably weren't particularly shocked to hear about another case linking big eyed owl management to sleazy behavior. The fact that public response to this story has been mostly in the vein of "how stupid could she be to fall for that" or "how did she get a job at Hooters because she's so flat" speaks more to the very mentality that a place like Hooter's appeals to and is exactly the reason why we hope Jodee prevails in her attempts to seek restitution. We don't normally support piddling, trivial lawsuits but we would argue that cases like this one are far from frivolous and in fact, represent exactly what the courts were set up to address, that is, forcing companies to behave in a civilized way even if their employees themselves refuse to demand it. If society has reached a point where it collectively assumes that Hooter's girls, by the very definition of their employment, must be vapid and shameless ditzes with augmented chests who, for the chance to make decent tips, are expected to tolerate any scurrilous situation that those who exploit them can dream up, then where do we draw the line? By agreeing to work at Hooters, Jodee and her sisters of the orange short are already expected to deal on a daily basis with the type of conduct that would get patrons physically tossed through the doors of most respected dining establishments. This shouldn't mean however that they are fair game for any diabolical and exploitive scheme that management can hatch out of their reptilian, Floridian brains.

And by the way, we at the Goliard, and obviously Jodee herself, reject the argument that it was just a joke and we should lighten up. As one senior Goliard editor put it, 

"I am just not a fan of jokes that aim to humiliate or embarrass someone. I also don't like reality shows that aim to get people to behave like asses in front of millions of people or think that watching someone cry because they've been duped by a fake lover or voted off some supposed island are in good taste. I don't understand why all these people are so eager to air their dirty laundry on Judge Judy or Jerry Springer, and I can't imagine why anyone would watch it when they do. I also can't fathom why people submit movies of themselves getting slammed in the crotch and why anyone watches that either. Life is humiliating enough without manufacturing circumstances where people further compromise themselves and the type of people who revel in the discomfort and degradation of others are only demonstrating their own lack of self esteem."

The Hooter's patron in a nutshell.

So good luck Jodee and, just like the 40 some girls out in the West Covina store who were told they needed to change into a skimpy uniform in order to be interviewed for jobs and then spied on by Hooter's management through a peephole in their dressing room, we hope you prevail at trial and, at the very least, end up driving some sort of real Toyota around in the days to come. Maybe you could dress your new little green friend in orange shorts and a skimpy top and use him as a hood ornament or a tail pipe or something. In the meantime, your case serves as a well needed reminder to all of us former waitron units, and those that employ them currently, that just because someone is affable, likes making good tip money, and therefore has signed on to work in the service industry, that doesn't mean they have to put up with any and all further humiliations.

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