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Newspaper Page Text
WHAT SOME WAITRESSES PUT UP WITH IN;
ORDER TO GET THEIR LIVING BY JANE WHITAKER r -How -would you like to have to endure listening to a man tell you an in-1 decent story until you felt you wanted to horsewhip him, and yet have to smile and ignore it, or have him squeeze your hand or touch you suggestive- ly and yet pay nri heed to it merely because you knew if you dared to re-1 sent the familiarity he would not give you the ten or fifteen cents that you -absolutely depended upon to pay your living expenses? Yet that is what girls endure who work at Henrici's and other res- taurants of the kind where starvation -wages are paid by their employers, and the difference between this wage and the amount it costs to live must I be supplemented by tips from customers. When I read of the extent of this evil in a report of an investigation of v girls employed in hotels and restaurants, which was conducted .by the Juvenile Protective Association, I was sure it must be exaggerated, so, I visited Carrie Alexander of the Waitresses' Union. . "I want you to tell me from your own experience and the experiences of other girls to whom you have listened if- the following is an exaggera tion," I said to her, and then I let her read this: "One girl said: 'People think they can say anything to a waitress. If I took all the men said to me the way they meant I wouldn.'t be here long.' i Another said she would rather not i take the tips than have to listen to the remarks of the young men who gave them. "The investigator saw. two young men who were served by a pretty girl trying to .flirt with her. .Before they left one of the men handed the girl .a bill and said something. She shook her head and her face turned scarlet and the investigator heard the man say; 'Oh, very'-weltf if'ybu' feel-that way about if." In another place the investigator saw a man put his- arm around a yoyng waitress in a sug gestive manner. She looked appeal ingly at the' manager, but no protest was made.. "The giving, of tips should be abol ished because of their pernicious ef fect. A young- girl who under' any other circumstances would not dream of acceptingmohey from a man will accept it .hi the guise of a tip. In the hands of a vicious man this tip establishes between him and the girl a relation of subserviency and pa tronage which may be easily the -beginning of improper attentions. "The most conscientious girl, de pendent upon tips to eke out her slen der wage, finds it difficult to deter mine just where the line of propriety , is crossed. Thus, in addition to the other dangers surrounding the girls employed in hotels and restaurants, , they encounter that lack of respect which curiously attaches itself to one who accepts a gratuity." ; "It is all true," Miss Alexander said, emphatically. "That is why I so strongly object to tips, because they force a girl to submit to such insults. That is why we are demanding that restaurant keepers pay waitresses a living wage, so they need not depend t on tips in' order to live. Then they will be in a position to. resent insults which now. they must endure or lose I the tip which is vitally necessary to i them if they are to live at all." If, therefore, we ignored every oth- r er reason why Henrici's and other i restaurants- of their kind should be ) forced to pay girls a living wage, if we ignored the fact that their ardu-C ous labor entitles the girls to a living wage, if we ignored the fact that res-1 taurant keepers profit so greatly ons labor that they are wen able to pay a living wage, we would not dare, if we MifriiiiiiiAriiff'fii-ht'