Non-Diane Actor From ‘Cheers’ ANGRY Poor Folk Won't Literally Die To Serve Her Chicken Wings
MAGA-loving former actor Kirstie Alley, whom you may remember from "Veronica's Closet," has thoughts about other people's employment status. She shared the following white entitlement treatise on Twitter Wednesday:
It's time to stop collecting unemployment and stop working ... just had FIVE places in the last two days apologize for bad service because they can't staff their businesses. So hope we're not hearing “there are no jobs available."
So, Alley's been to at least five (upper case) places in the past two days? I haven't been to five places in the past five months. And these are just the places that pissed her off enough that she complained. You've probably noticed that it's always assholes who consistently receive what they consider bad service.
Alley's regurgitating the rightwing lie that generous (as in any) unemployment benefits are keeping lazy deadbeats at home binging the Look Who's Talking trilogy. Last week, Florida Senator Marco Rubio whined that "Florida small business owners are all telling me the same thing. They can't find people to fill available jobs. You can come up with all kinds of reasons and wave around all the Ivy League studies you want, but what does common sense tell you is the reason?"
Business owners are commiserating with spoiled actors and spineless politicians about how the help won't pull up their bootstraps and report back to work, risking death from COVID-19 for $7.65 an hour. Governor Ron DeSantis never enforced a mask mandate in Florida, while keeping most businesses open despite spikes in COVID-19 cases. Working conditions are overtly more dangerous for workers than they were prior to the pandemic. Republicans want people so desperate they'd jeopardize their health for a paycheck. COVID-19 was the new black lung, just the price working people pay to maintain the affluent's preferred standard of living. God forbid Rebecca Howe wait an extra 10 minutes for her next Mai Tai.
It's also not like these businesses complaining about a labor shortage offer free day care or anything. It's hard to fill the lunch rush when schools aren't fully open and parents have to stay home with their kids. People who worked in the service industry aren't lazy. They're struggling to survive, yet the people, like Alley, who protest most bitterly about how inconvenienced they are have coasted safely through a pandemic that's killed 560,000 Americans.
Restaurant workers in Florida have been on the “pandemic frontlines" for months now. Business is slow, and if Rubio bothered to talk to anyone but his donors, he'd know how hard people are working and how little they have to show for it. Florida hasn't prioritized making restaurant workers eligible for the vaccine, despite DeSantis reopening them at 100 percent capacity.
The Fort Myers News-Press recently profiled Shannon Soffian, a server at Cristof's on McGregor in Fort Myers, Florida. When she was interviewed, she was on her 34th straight day of work (she'd work another six before getting a day off). She was exhausted, physically and mentally.
The 44-year-old is her family's primary breadwinner. Her husband is a former journalist for this news outlet who was laid off in early 2019. They have a 10-year-old son who is home-schooled. Soffian also has four adult children who float into and out of their house.
She added up her tips and wages from the past seven days. It was what she'd make in three days during a typical February. She took out rent, groceries, $150 for the respiratory medicines she still needs after contracting COVID in July.
She sank into her turquoise sheets and cried.
"It was not a slow week. It was a week where we got our asses handed to us every single day," Soffian said. "I have cried my way through entire shifts, where the tears are just streaking down my face, getting caught in my mask. It's still good money, I'm aware of that, and I know whining about it is absurd.
No, she's not the one who should apologize for whining. Soffian has endured yelling, cursing customers but she still can't afford health care.
Although it's easy for awful people to scapegoat restaurant workers, there's not a proven link between current unemployment benefits and the challenges the industry currently has filling vacancies. Carlos Trejo, kitchen manager at Dixie Fish Co. on Fort Myers Beach, said many of his cooks and dishwashers couldn't afford to wait for the restaurant to reopen after the first shutdown. They moved on to other jobs in fields such as construction or retail that provided steadier, less risky work, with less direct exposure to total assholes.
At Cristof's in Fort Myers, Soffian said mask fights have played out almost daily: customers begging staff to take them off; customers refusing to wear theirs on the short walk from the host stand to a table; customers walking in with mesh masks riddled with holes.
Kirstie Alley sold her six-bedroom, seven-bathroom home in Los Angeles for $7.8 million early this year. She'd unloaded her Islesboro, Maine, “cottage" in 2020. Wherever she lives now, we pity anyone who works in the local service industry.
I leave you now with non-MAGA creep Shelley Long being funny on “Cheers."
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."