I am offloading my Article of The Week journal entries from my Freshman English blog.
In an article, written by Alana Semuels and Malcolm Burnley, the author detail the horrible conditions that waitresses must endure and work through.
Waitresses work very hard and barely get any recognition. Their pay and hours are very tentative, mostly dependent on tips, and there’s no guarantee that they’ll even be needed in the restaurant every day. In Alabama, all “tipped employees” have a base pay of $2.13/hr, one of the lowest in the US. The other $5.12/hr that makes up the $7.25/hr minimum wage is expected to come from tips. What gets me- is that some of these waitresses are trying to provide for their families, and work their butts off and try to show fortitude and must guise through their shifts, are treated with lackluster pay, rude customers who gibe at them, overwork, and general mistreatment.
In this article, the authors use pathos to get an emotional connection from the reader and “controls the mood” of the article to achieve their goals. According to Jay Heinrichs, as outlined in Thank You For Arguing, calls controlling the mood “The most persuasive emotions at your service” (Ch 9, page 84). They start by demonstrating the story of a single mother, working as a waitress, to better her family. This is intended to “grab” the reader and pull them in emotionally. Then, the author proceeds to get to “the meat” and main points of their article, which includes pointing out minimum wage and other workplace issues, such as sexual assault. Ending the article, we go back to the waitress, and her hopes to give her daughter a better life, and the authors reiterate their thoughts on tips and minimum wage. This is a near-textbook definition of writing a pathetic article.
Their approaches make this a very effective of pathos and genuinely made me reevaluate how I personally treat waitresses. It makes me feel bad for them, almost. Most people don’t want pity, so I don’t give it to them. They’re trying, and it’s tough for them, but it’s better than doing nothing. Waitresses deserve better treatment, and if I can help contribute to that, so be it. But, a singular person like me can’t do much. Our generation needs to step in, as a whole, because we’ll probably be in a waitress’ position at some point or another. Show them some kindness, tip them well, and be a good person. It might make their day.