143 Comments

This is a lot like the episode John Oliver did about Dollar General a few weeks ago. Treating employees like utter garbage seems to be a point of pride among companies like these. No one should have to work under these conditions.

Expand full comment

Almost O/T, I saw a glamorous-looking parody ad for a jewelry collection endorsed by Ivanka Trump, available _exclusively_ at Dollar General!

Expand full comment

went to food lion during a hurricane for paper towels? and food lion was open too???

Expand full comment
founding

another non-union shop, of course.

Expand full comment

I frequently travel and Waffle House is a frequent stop for me. I know the pay sucks so I tip high, like percentages don't even enter into the equation, I figure if I'm there 30 minutes they're getting at least 7 bucks. I'm glad to see them organizing. And I'll definitely be signing on to their petition.

We need to address our whole attitude toward tipping and reduced minimum wage for service jobs. An institution rooted in classism and racism that much of the rest of the world has moved away from.

Expand full comment

I thought the line 'Pay mill owner sixpence a week for privilege of working there' was a joke. Not an actual labour practice.

Expand full comment

There are no horrors imagined that do not have real world counterparts. Yeah, even in science fiction and fantasy.

Expand full comment

“However, because there’s so much turnover in that industry, it’s been difficult to get that going.”

Corporate plan is working!

Expand full comment

One of my kids was working at a restaurant in our city (which is not in the South) when a woman OD'd in the bathroom. The young folk tried to revive her (Narcan, CPR) she came to briefly and then died. Needless to say, it was traumatic. There was NO support, they were just expected to get back to work.

Expand full comment

"Nobody wants to work anymore!"

Anytime anyone whines this to me in person I tell them that retail is a cesspit and people have rightly realized that it's not worth sticking it out in a field with the absolute worst, entitled customers when you can make more money not dealing with them.

I've been to a Waffle House exactly once, in Doraville, GA. It was 'okay.' Thankfully no violence happened.

Expand full comment

Maybe if we charge them more for the opportunity to work, they'll consider it to be more valuable, and therefore more desirable!

Expand full comment

Mels' Diner? I'm getting here late today, I assume all the "Kiss Ma' Grits!" jokes have already been made?

Expand full comment

I defy anyone to claim with a straight face that what Waffle House serves qualifies as food.

Expand full comment

Going to Waffle House to pick fights with employees is some kind of TikTok thing? WTAF? Of all the ridiculous, abhorrent, utterly repulsive bullying...(Although I admit it requires some balls to pick fights with people who have access to things like sharp knives, boiling water and scorching hot grease.)

Would I be a hypocrite to sign that petition even though I have never poked my nose in a Waffle House and never plan to?

Expand full comment

New trend because of social media, people posting their crimes online. WorldStarHipHop is known for this shameful practice too. Does make the investigation easy for the police!

Expand full comment

I worked at a place in the 80's in MA, but corporate was HQ'd in CT. They always took out a small amount of money out of our paychecks for "meals". (Paychecks at $2.21 per hour, BTW.) Our place got bought out by a MA company and the practice stopped. They new peeps told me that the practice was illegal...

Expand full comment

I was very disappointed when Mel's- not the one on Alice but yours, with the waterfall windows and the DID YOU PAY? sign over the exit- got torn down.

Expand full comment

𝑰 𝒉𝒂𝒗𝒆 𝒘𝒐𝒓𝒌𝒆𝒅 𝒊𝒏 𝒎𝒖𝒍𝒕𝒊𝒑𝒍𝒆 𝒓𝒆𝒔𝒕𝒂𝒖𝒓𝒂𝒏𝒕𝒔 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒉𝒂𝒗𝒆 𝒂𝒃𝒔𝒐𝒍𝒖𝒕𝒆𝒍𝒚 𝒏𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒓 𝒉𝒆𝒂𝒓𝒅 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒔 𝒑𝒓𝒂𝒄𝒕𝒊𝒄𝒆 𝒃𝒆𝒇𝒐𝒓𝒆. 𝑰𝒕’𝒔 𝒏𝒐𝒕 𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒏 𝒄𝒍𝒆𝒂𝒓 𝒘𝒉𝒚 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒚 𝒘𝒐𝒖𝒍𝒅 𝒅𝒐 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒕, 𝒈𝒊𝒗𝒆𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒔𝒉𝒊𝒇𝒕 𝒎𝒆𝒂𝒍𝒔 𝒂𝒓𝒆 𝒕𝒂𝒙 𝒅𝒆𝒅𝒖𝒄𝒕𝒊𝒃𝒍𝒆 𝒂𝒏𝒚𝒘𝒂𝒚.

I've never heard of that either. Over 40 years ago, I worked at Shoney's in Charlotte, and our meals were free. That is my only experience working in a restaurant. Friends and family who have worked in a variety of restaurants, report the same - free meals, or discounted meals. None ever mentioned deductions for meals.

Expand full comment

One of my first jobs was in a fast food chain, not so chic as McDonald's. They would deduct from our pitiful pay for meals and you could not just order a large fries, you had to get a pre-ordained menu. I hated that place, the walk in freezer terrified me, and after I recharged the milkshake machine, I never bought another fast food milkshake again

Expand full comment

Hell at a gas station I used to work at we got free fountain drinks and could take home the end-of-day baked goods from the embedded Tim Hortons counter.

Expand full comment

I remember eating so much on my Free Lunch that I was chastised, but never charged...

Expand full comment

The Shoney’s near UNCC?

I’ve worked in probably a dozen restaurants, including Bojangles, where meals were discounted and certainly you didn’t get charged for food you didn’t eat. Pretty sure at every other restaurant where I’ve worked, food was free within limits (don’t eat all the shrimp, for example). It’s one of the few perks.

Expand full comment

The Shoney's on Freedom Drive.

Expand full comment

The wypippo are encroaching on that part of Charlotte, since it’s close to uptown. I don’t recall where the Shoney’s is or was, but I bet it’s a craft brewery / yoga studio / farm-to-table, small plates restaurant now.

Expand full comment

Yes. Charlotte is even more soulless and $$$$ now. Who thought it possible?

Expand full comment

Probably. I rarely go to Charlotte anymore, just by or through it, on my way to someplace else.

Expand full comment

“On the way to somewhere else” is actually Charlotte’s motto.

Expand full comment

Hell, everything outside the Triangle is "on the way to somewhere else"...

Expand full comment

Yep. Any place I ever worked, you work a meal (shift), you get a meal. Where my kid works - swanky hotel chain - they actually have an employee cafeteria to provide meals; but if you miss that, you can get something from the main kitchen.

Expand full comment

Even Leslie Knope would refuse to be served waffles at such a price.

Expand full comment

I don't think we have Waffle House in New England. He have The International House of Pancakes.

Expand full comment

They are all over the place in the South. The Waffle House closest to me has an IHOP right next to it.

Expand full comment
Dec 4, 2023·edited Dec 4, 2023

The closest Waffle House to New England is in Scranton, PA. They have two of them. I know because a friend and I were out drinking and she was jonesing for waffle house so we looked it up. Didn't drive the 6 hours though, but it's still a bucket list item.

Edit: I'm wrong. I just looked and now there's a waffle house in Tewksbury and one in Boston. Didn't know that.

Re-edit: I was right. The places in Tewksbury and Boston are houses with waffle in their names and bad listings on an aggregating site. Stupid aggregators. Scranton is the right answer.

Expand full comment
Dec 4, 2023·edited Dec 4, 2023

I've been to the Waffle House in Clarks Summit, PA (just north of Scranton). Meh. It's a Waffle House. No different than any others I've been in in the South - right next to making sure that you order your scrambles eggs "firm" and not runny as they seem to like their eggs down there.

Funny thing is that there are so many diners in that region that serve much better food than Waffle House (or it's mediocre cousin, Denny's) that I'm shocked that they're still around. Then again, there are chain pizza locations in Northeastern PA that are ALL worse than even the worst local pizza joint.

Expand full comment

According to their website, the farthest north Waffle House has spread is in the Scranton/Allentown PA area.

Expand full comment

IHOP is nationwide. Waffle House is predominantly in the South, though I believe a friend mentioned on in upstate NY, near the PA border.

Expand full comment

I was in one in State College, PA, in the mid-80's. There were two in town and they both seem to still be there.

Expand full comment

Those were Waffle Shops, not Waffle House. At least that I recall. There was one downtown and two a little further out.

Expand full comment

We Are!

(I'm not, actually; but most of my SIL's family went to Happy Valley.)

Expand full comment

*whispers*

I have enjoyed a Waffle House, and before you come after me, sometimes there aren't a lot of bitchin' diners around, and sometimes you are hungry and don't want to make anything in the middle of the night.

In addition, I've always found the staff incredibly fantastic.

Last, some people who want to work and...can't get hired right away...get hired there, and it's terrible and criminal that they're being taken advantage of.

Maybe one thing could be having more employers willing to hire people who don't check all the boxes but who would like to work and do a good job?

Expand full comment

I too enjoy Waffle House. The staff are usually excellent. I've never been served bad food at one, and the worst I've seen out of patrons are the drunks that roll in after last call at the club.

There was a Waffle House in Nashville that we'd hit sometimes after concerts at Starwood, (late 90's) it was a little more sketchy, it got robbed often but never when the crowds were there.

My local waffle House had a night shift cook in the early 2000's that would play chess or backgammon for money between orders when the orders slowed down.

Expand full comment
founding

I've found the food to be good. My theory is they serve so much of it it's gotta be fresh.

Expand full comment