Monday, November 2, 2015

News Briefs 11.2.15

Robin D.G. Kelley Visits Brooklyn College

My mother always told me "Anything that you want in this life, you must speak it into existence".  I had an opportunity to cross paths with Robin D.G. Kelley at this year's ASA conference in Toronto.  I didn't get a chance to speak to him but I saw him attend a couple of the panels that I did and I thought to myself We have similar interests.  I didn't get to speak to him because I always caught him in mid conversation with someone else and I didn't want to interrupt.   His book Freedom Dreams taught me that the mind is a a very powerful thing and I often wished (in my heart and in my mind) that he would come to Brooklyn College or to one of the CUNY campuses.  Everyone around me knows how much I love Kelley's work including my thesis advisor Professor Davis.  He was the one that informed me about this lovely event:

Mom, I spoke (or willed) this moment into existence.  So in the Penthouse of SUBO We will have the one and only Robin D.G. Kelley on our campus Tuesday November 17, 2015. I hope that I see ALL of you there.

We Finna Turn Up In Academia On A Tuesday

One Love,
Lisa Del Sol


No Tip!

As we are in work mode in this Boylan Blog week, I thought it was appropriate to add a bit of news on the restaurant business. I was a waitress many moons ago and I was miserable. Not only was I missing home, not only was my boss a jerk, not only did I find myself surprised whenever a costumer liked the food, not only was I being underpaid, I was also not getting any tips. The tip system is a sad system. Waiters, busboys, cooks, delivery men, the all depend partly on tips. It's shitty, that's what it is -- pay is low and you are dependent on the mercy of the customers.

Tipping started in the 17th Century by British aristocrats as a way to "sprinkle some change to social inferiors." How did a sprinkle of change became part of the pay? How was it acceptable for my boss to pay me 4 dollars the hour because I would be getting lots of tips? I didn't by the way. Not that customers didn't tip -- either they wouldn't tip enough, because they are students or tourists, or, the restaurant would rarely get busy. It's unfair, that's what it is.

But all of that is about to change!

...maybe! Hopefully! We'll see!

But at least some progress is being made. Danny Meyer, the founder of Shake Shack, has banned tips. Now, wait a minute, this is a good thing. He will add the service charge to the prices of the menu. I know, your burger might cost you a little more - but that will mean that someone who is working hard and under a lot of stress will get his or her tip.

Now, it might seem that you will have no guarantee of a good service experience if your ability to tip is taken away. But I believe that without the pressure of having to get a tip, restaurants will have a better service. At least, that's how I would feel if I still worked as a waitress. Tips are no longer a method of incentive for workers into doing their job better. Nothing, really, can guarantee that. An incentive is the way a customer talks, nicely, an incentive is in the politeness, of customers. An incentive, is not necessarily monetary, but has more to do with behavior.

There is a long way to go to improve the work system in restaurants. But I'm hoping that, since Shake Shack is a big business, it will set a domino effect on the fact that something needs to be done. And now.


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