Paid His Burger Tax

| Working | February 17, 2015

(I am offered a job over the phone. The manager tells me to come in the next day. When I get there he tells me he will pay me under the table $9 an hour (min wage is $11) and tries to argue that he is paying more than minimum wage because there are no taxes. Even at $11 an hour, I would not be earning nearly enough to be taxable. About a half hour into me doing basically all grubby kitchen tasks (cleaning, washing dishes, taking out garbage, restocking fridge, etc):)

Manager: “Would you like something to eat? You can have anything on the menu for free.”

Me: “No, thanks. I’m not hungry right now.”

(The manager continues to offer at 10 minute increments for the next hour and a half, while I start to get very uncomfortable that this job is under the table for an exploitative wage doing gross work and therefore he doesn’t have any responsibility if I get hurt, which is very possible.)

Me: “I’m sorry, I don’t think this will work out. I have to leave now.”

Manager: “Oh, that’s okay. I can’t pay you for only two hours but come back for that meal anytime.”

(Two weeks later:)

Me: “Hey man.”

Manager: “Hey.” *recognizes me* “So, what can I get you?”

Me: “Just a burger, please.”

Manager: “$4.50, please.”

Me: “I thought you said I could have it for free because of those two hours of free work I did for you.”

Manager: “Do you know what food costs? I can’t just give it away for free.”

Me: “Do you know what my work costs if you bother to make it legal? I think I’m entitled to a burger. And, yeah, I’d ballpark the patty, bun, and toppings at about 1.50 tops.”

Manager: “Was this your plan? You respond to my ad, stay for less than a shift, all to try to get free food? This is a business here!”

Me: “Yeah, that’s what I do. I go around to restaurants and pretend I’m looking for a job all so I can get free hamburgers. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to get my lunch somewhere else!”

(I emptied his tip jar into my pocket to pay for my two hours and walked out the door.)

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