Biscuit (Noun) : A person who is willfully ignorant and almost certainly incompetent

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It’s All Academic You See

There are times I run across an article that is so stupid that I have to save it in my bookmarks and come back to it when my brain is capable of processing nonsense.

Today’s offending (truly) article comes from Wayne State University Associate Professor of Sociology Zachary Brewster. And like colleges do for the well deserving by giving out honorary doctorate degrees I’d like to bestow on Mister Brewster the honorary degree of Doctor of Biscuitology.

His theory is this: Waiters and waitresses give black customers poor service not because they tip poorly, but because they are of course RACIST. He may not be completely wrong, in fact I’m sure it’s a factor – but to simply say it is the only factor is foolish at best. It’s just another person going to look for racism and predictably finding it and blaming the entire situation on it.

If you’d like to scratch your head a lot and perhaps chuckle here’s a link to the idiocy, err, article:

Now before we get too deep into this, I said above “black customers tip poorly.” You might say, whoa now Chance, that sounds like a prejudice statement. This has actually been studied on several levels and is well documented (Google it if you like). I read several articles about this. I was particularly amused by the one article that claimed this was because “black people are less familiar with US tipping norms.” I didn’t realize we imported most of our black population from Europe (apparently). It is so offensive to say shit like that I don’t know how they don’t see it. I mean seriously, you want me to believe that just because a person is black that they don’t know a standard tip is 15%? This is no different than the white liberal morons that believe things like “blacks don’t have the internet” and “they don’t know where the drivers license branch is.” Stop it.

Back to this ridiculous study. To reach his conclusion, Brewster recruited over 700 mostly (how many is mostly, anyway) white full-service restaurant servers and bartenders to review a hypothetical dining scenario that randomly involved either White or Black customers. They then asked them to predict the tip that the table would leave, the likelihood that the table would exhibit undesirable dining behaviors and the quality of service they would likely provide the table.

First problem – a “hypothetical dining scenario.” What the hell does that mean? They don’t give details (they wouldn’t) so we’ll never know. To his credit, sort of, he explains later that he’s relying on “other research” noting that using these hypothetical scenarios should be valid and have “real world application.” I’m sure most academics who are clueless feel the same way.

Second problem – they were asked to score the “likely quality of service they would provide the table.” Back to stupid hypothetical here – if a couple comes in of any race and is pleasant, smiles and is a pleasure to serve I think it’s LIKELY they are going to get a high “quality of service.” Server memes are funny because we know that some customers are terrors and that cannot be predicted by skin color whatsoever.

Last but not least – let’s talk reality and not academia here for a moment. Warranted or not there are certain types of customers, whether because their skin color, their attitude, their age or any host of factors that is going to weigh on the mind of a server. In the article Brewster argues that the servers they surveyed would likely (there’s that word again) give better service to a table where it was “perceived” that they were more likely to be compensated appropriately for their efforts.

Can you blame them? Is that racist? Misogynist? Ageist? Probably. But that’s life – trying to figure out how to change that – good luck my friend, I have no answers for you there. I’m pretty sure educating segments of the population on “US tipping norms” is not the answer. But there is a way to ensure that this NEVER happens to you regardless of your race/age/gender/religion.

Become a regular at a few local restaurants. Be nice. Say please and thank you. Tip generously, even on the night when they are “a little off their game.” Get known for being PLEASANT to wait on. Trust me, you’ll get great service every time.

2 thoughts on “It’s All Academic You See”

  1. Thomas “Pops” Petty

    Outstanding piece.

    I’ve a friend who is a full-time waiter at a very well known & high end (read pricier) restaurant in Indianapolis. He told me that he hates to close because they will inevitably get the “Thug life group” in at 15 minutes before close. They’ll order a large meal, complain the entire time their there & then either pay without tipping or … skip out all together.

    Society is riddled with bad examples of people from every demographic. We, as a society must strive to view them by the “content of their character.” It’s tough, but it’s the only solution.

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