A manager of a Texas restaurant thought she was giving a potential employee honest feedback about her appearance. The woman didn’t appreciate the advice, however, and accused the manager of not only spoiling the interview but also shaming her unnecessarily with her brutal honesty and the warning she issued.
Crystal Harrington, a 22-year-old single mother from Brazoria, Texas, was seeking a second job as a server at Baytown Seafood Restaurant in West Columbia. Any celebrations about landing the job were short-lived, however, after she says the manager began to make questionable comments about her weight when she issued a word of caution for the new hire.
Of course, this is a “she said, she said” situation, where no one really knows what transpired besides the two women who were in the room, but Harrington had no problem putting the establishment on blast. According to the single mom, her new boss had some words of warning that she didn’t much appreciate, and it led to her turning down the job, Fox 7 reported.
Harrington, a home health aide by day, was planning to waitress at night to help make ends meet. Much to her dismay, however, she claims the manager made “out of line” comments about her size and how it could affect her earnings. “She informed me that waitressing is $2.13/hr and what I make is SOLELY on tips, which I expected,” Harrington wrote on KHOU 11 News‘ Facebook page. “What I didn’t expect was what this lady said next,” she continued.
“She informed me that while a thin girl can do a really crappy job waitressing but still get tipped well … girls ‘my size’ don’t hardly make tips. Basically, since I’m not thin, I won’t get tipped well. She said that she thinks it’s this area but wanted to be ‘straight forward with me,'” Harrington alleged. “I seriously can’t believe this lady told me that. And, yes, I turned down the job,” she added, choosing to forgo the second means of income rather than feel uncomfortable in the workplace.
Assuming things happened as Harrington claimed, was this a case of body-shaming by her boss or brutal honesty and a word of caution? Harrington even acknowledges that the manager conducting the interview even included herself in her comments. “‘Big girls like us’ — and she did say us, and I don’t know why because she’s not my size, she’s not big to me — ‘big girls like us won’t get the tip,'” Harrington told Fox 7, reiterating what she claims the woman said to her.
Since a waitress’s earnings rely heavily on tips, is it unkind for an employer to warn a woman if they see something that might cause an issue with her potential income? Is it wrong to forewarn a potential employee about what they should expect when it comes to their pay so that they know what they are getting into? Even by Harrington’s own account, the manager was acknowledging an injustice she had noticed in the serving industry.
I doubt the manager intended to shame the soon-to-be employee over her weight but rather ensure she made an informed decision about the job offer. The entire ordeal brings an old saying to mind: Don’t shoot the messenger. Since a server’s pay is almost completely reliant on the generosity of what diners decide to leave, there’s a valid reason for telling waitresses how customers tend to tip and what to expect, as a word of warning so they don’t waste their time or end up disappointed.
Unfortunately, in this case, the manager allegedly believed appearance played a factor. If that’s true, Crystal Harrington had a beef with the wrong person. The manager wasn’t threatening to pay Harrington less based on her size. She was simply acknowledging a cold, hard truth, but Harrington didn’t see it that way. “It was over the line,” she said of the “insensitive” comment the manager allegedly made, adding that, “in a sense,” she felt discriminated against.
There’s another issue with Harrington’s allegations, though, and it has nothing to do with whether the remark was rude, honest, or a little of both. Mary Pruett, the manager who interviewed Crystal Harrington and allegedly made the comment, insisted that nothing of the sort was ever said. In fact, Pruett said not a single word was uttered about the woman’s weight or appearance. Instead, she claimed the entire ordeal was Harrington’s way of making a point online about an alleged injustice based on a contrived conversation that never actually happened.
Only the two women know what was said behind closed doors, but even if the Baytown Seafood boss did say it, Crystal Harrington took the unwanted advice way too personally. The alleged conversation was intended to be helpful, not hurtful. Sometimes the most helpful advice can be hurtful. Even so, wouldn’t you want to know if your time is better spent elsewhere, rather than running yourself ragged for pennies? Pointing out bad behavior doesn’t mean you condone it, and most would want to be warned before they are subjected to it.