Whole Phil
The podcast where I talk about whatever I want with whomever I want.

S1E6 - Uber drivers! Amirite?!?

...some thoughts on service workers and why we all need to chill out.

a year ago

Episode Notes

Welcome to The Whole Phil podcast, I am your host, Phil Reese, the DJ, that's my Facebook name, Really Phil Reese, that's my Twitter, Phillip J Reese, that's my Instagram, my dot com and my real life. This is the podcast where you get your whole Phil. I talk about whatever I want, with whomever I want, and do whatever I want, because there's no rules, no format, and no fucking censors (sorry Mom).

Thanks for joining me today, Sunday, December 15. Let me tell you a little about me, I'm a loving, lovable, fat, hairy, queer, inked, sober, spiritual, vegetarian, feminist radical leftist web developer, video producer and deejay in DC. Now that you know a little about me and where we are, let me know a little about you. Tweet me, at reallyphilreese, I'd love to meet you. Let's start the show.


Today's show is about some of the most common people you encounter every day. Service workers. At the coffee shop, at the door of your office building, at the diner, the pharmacy, the grocery store, the 7-11. Bus conductors, Uber drivers, door people, coat checks, receptionists, bank tellers: we usually encounter service workers multiple times every day. Though they are usually paid not much more than minimum wage, and have little to no power, these people are the public faces of the institutions and systems they work for, the sentries at the gates. Because of this, all the feelings that the public has about their employers gets aimed squarely at these people. More than that, many people pile their own personal shit on service workers. Having a bad day, and feeling powerless? Maybe a few minutes of talking down to a McDonald's cashier because the second nugget sauce isn't free will make you feel like a big man.

Service work is incredibly hard, unrewarding and underappreciated. Things amp up at the holidays. This is an incredibly stressful time for all people, but many of us forget service workers are people and pile our anxieties right on them instead of going to get some badly needed therapy for our control and self esteem issues.

People who have worked in service in the past, but no longer do, can be some of the worst. They seem to fantasize that despite being fired as a busser from four questionable quality diners, and a short six month stint as a bank teller who conveniently forgot how to math, that they were the paragon of the customer service workers, and therefore are justified in having impeccable standards. Just yuck.

Food service provided the absolute worst situation for these workers. Because they are beholden to tips to be able to earn a living wage, they are forced to put up with absolutely inhumane treatment or risk homelessness.

People who know this and sadistically take advantage of it have their own special circle in hell, trust.

While tip culture should be banished, as everyone deserves a living wage REGARDLESS of how slow you perceive they brought you your triple espresso, I'm not so naive to think it's going anywhere anytime soon. So if you live somewhere where servers are paid differently than cooks, it doesn't matter how bad you perceive your service to have been, that 20% minimum tip is part of the cost of that meal you bought. Leave it every time.

But even non-tip workers get shit on. It's important when we're interacting with the customer-facing component of an institution, that worker has no power over the rules of that institution. No matter how frustrated you are with whatever situation you are in, do not take it out on the service worker. Even at places as perennially as frustrating as the DMV -- hell especially in places as perennially frustrating as the DMV -- never take out your frustration on the customer service worker.

Also keep in mind service workers don't owe you a smile, don't owe you pithy conversation, and DEFINITELY don't need your flirting or innuendo. Keep things business, because this is business. If you want affection, get a pet.

Remember the last 50 people that the server just talked to were probably pretty shitty to them. Be different and don't expect anything more than what they're there to do: to perform a transaction with you and answer your questions. And even if you don't get the answers you want, don't take that out on the service worker.

Be polite, say please and thank you, don't pry into their personal life, don't try to be charming and don't make their day worse than it already is. And be reasonable

And as for ride shares, this is where I need to take my own advice. I can have incredibly unreasonable expectations for ride share drivers. I have no idea where this came from, and I'm working on it. But they are letting me ride in their car for under minimum wage in what we've come to learn is an incredibly shitty occupation. I have no business judging what they play on the radio, I have no business getting surly about talkativeness, or the temperature of the car. And if I know how to get where I am going better than anyone else, I should just get my own car and drive myself.

Be kind, professional and patient to service workers all the time no matter what. Unless they assault or demean you unprevoked, I have no reason to do anything else.


That's it for today. I want to give a late birthday shout out to my dad. Happy birthday. I hope you're enjoying the show. If you like what you hear, please subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts, just search Whole Phil or go to bit.ly/findwholephil, and do please drop me a rating on Apple podcasts or Google podcasts if you want me to keep this going. Tweet me at reallyphilreese with topic ideas you think I should cover. [Upcoming DJ gigs, JR's: Monday Dec 16, Thursday, Dec 19] Learn more about my upcoming DJ gigs at my website phillipjreese.com. And remember, be good to yourself, love yourself, and we're all in this together.

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