September 11, 2019
From IWW West Virginia (USA)

My first jobs ever were in food service (and my second job now because who can survive in this economy with just one?). I was so excited at 16 to wait tables. Most places served alcohol so I was one of the few kids who made pretty decent money for a teen.

But, as we all know, sexism, harassment, and advantage taking happen with amazing frequency in the service industry and when you are a teen, you’re basically an abuse target. I did not understand worker’s rights and I always wanted to be a team player.

I felt uncomfortable asking my parents for money so I would frequently run out of gas in my car to avoid doing so. Having this job meant I could mostly avoid this and of course buy the things every teen thinks they need.

I don’t remember what started the exchange, but I remember a grown man, at least in his 30s, getting red in the face and yelling at me to “shut up ho (whore? slut?)” I was so upset but I didn’t tell anyone. After that I worked with a 3rd degree grease burn on my leg because we had to wear shorts.

I’ve told my own kid that any job that treats them this way, they should quit, tell me, and I’ll never allow someone to do this.