Posted on Jan 6, 2023
In the past few years and amid the coronavirus pandemic, fast-food workers have had to deal with increased health risk and potential verbal and physical abuse at the hands of customers.
In a recent TikTok video, one user documented first-hand how some of that turmoil can unfold when a worker is berated by a customer over an order they had received and were dissatisfied with.
In the video, which has been viewed more than 500,000 times as of Friday, user Video Matt (@therealvideomattpresents) documents his experience at a Carl’s Jr. restaurant where he sees a woman yelling at an employee over some sauce.
“Look at that, that is like horrible,” the woman says to the employee, while handing the worker what appears to be sauce in a packet or small container. “…I don’t know who gave it to me, but you know that right? That’s disgusting.”
It’s not clear if something was in the sauce or if the sauce receptacle was already opened when the customer received it.
However, as the woman was critiquing the employee, Matt interjected in their conversation, sticking up for the worker.
“You know these guys have a hard job. It’s just some sauce, ma’am,” Matt says. “You need to show people respect, this is America, show him respect.”
The woman pushes back at Matt and says she’s had experience working in the fast-food industry and claims she was showing respect.
Matt then turns to the camera and emphasizes the importance of being courteous to fast-food workers.
“You guys be nice when you come out here,” Matt says as the woman and the employee continue talking back and forth behind him.
“Stop belittling these people. They’re under enough stress. The corporation is making all the money and letting these people have to deal with the front lines. This is horrible. This is not America, this [is] not how we treat our fellow brother and man,” he continues. “We walk over dead bodies on the sidewalk, people spun out and we just act like this is normal. This is not normal. Wake up, wake up, wake up. This is what we’re breeding. People that just don’t care. They just want to get their food, get their shit — live, buy, consume, die.”
According to a 2021 report from national labor group Fight For $15, 911 calls between 2017 and 2020 from more than 640 restaurants in California’s most populous cities found that fast-food restaurants were the site “of at least 77,000 violent or threatening accidents,” The Counter reports. Restaurants analyzed included McDonald’s, Jack in the Box, Carl’s Jr. and Burger King.
Concerning Matt’s video, commenters were quick to rally around the TikToker and applaud him for sticking up for the employee and confronting the woman who many labeled a “Karen,” which is a shorthand term for a white woman who usually demands things be done her way.
“Thank you for standing up for those workers,” one commenter said. “They deserve to be respected and treated with dignity.”
“It becomes everyone’s business when you make a scene!” another commenter wrote. “Good for speaking up! We can’t let that happen & sit quietly anymore.”
The Daily Dot has reached out to Matt via TikTok comment. Carl’s Jr. has not returned The Daily Dot’s request for comment via email.
Allyson Waller is freelance writer for the Daily Dot. She’s a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and has written for other publications such as the New York Times and the Miami Herald. Outside of the journalism world, some of her joys include delving into book recommendations from TikTok, listening to pop culture podcasts, and playing with her dog, Theo.
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