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Low Pay, No Benefits, Rude Customers: Restaurant Workers Quit At Record Rate

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A wooden spoon gliding over cast iron. Barely tall enough to see over the stove, Lamar Cornett watched his mother, a cook, make his favorite dish of scrambled eggs.

That first cooking lesson launched a lifelong journey in food. Cornett has spent over 20 years in Kentucky restaurants, doing every job short of being the owner. The work is grueling and tense but rewarding and rowdy, and so fast-paced that the pandemic shutdown was like lightning on a cloudy day.

“It was almost like there was this unplanned, unorganized general strike,” Cornett said.

In those rare quiet moments, millions of restaurant workers like Cornett found themselves thinking about the realities of their work. Breaks barely long enough to use the restroom or smoke a cigarette. Meals inhaled on the go. Hostile bosses, crazy schedules, and paltry, stagnant pay.

To top it off: rude customers, whose abuses restaurant staff are often obligated to tolerate. And lately, testy diners have only gotten more impatient as they emerge from the pandemic shutdowns.

Cornett, off work for a few weeks, realized he received enough money through unemployment benefits to start saving — for the first time. He wondered if the work he loves would ever entail a job that came with health insurance or paid leave.

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Lamar Cornett has worked in restaurants for more than 20 years. During the pandemic, he began thinking about leaving that career behind.

Courtesy of Lamar Cornett

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Click the link below for the article:

https://www.npr.org/2021/07/20/1016081936/low-pay-no-benefits-rude-customers-restaurant-workers-quit-at-record-rate?utm_source=pocket_discover

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