Casino Cocktail Servers Not Thrilled With Torturous High Heel Mandate

Illustration for article titled Casino Cocktail Servers Not Thrilled With Torturous High Heel Mandate

Casino cocktail waitresses are like modern day geishas. Forced to dress in tight dresses with a constant smile glued to their faces, they, like many service workers, make their tips by being attractive and friendly to customers. But for the cocktail waitresses that have jammed their feet into ass-popping heels, wearing pumps isn't a matter of choice— it's a casino policy, and it's one that is forcing older cocktail waitresses out of a job. It's become enough of an issue that cocktail waitresses have unionized against the high heel policy, because it's 2013 and that's the kind of world we live in.

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Located in Connecticut, Foxwoods Resort Casino is a complex of six casinos, making it the second biggest casino in the U.S. The hundreds of cocktail waitresses that work there had been working under a 2-inch heel requirement, which was recently rescinded, but Foxwood's management still requires their cocktail waitresses to wear polishable black shoes, subject to approval. That's code for "we get to decide if it's sexy enough." If servers suffer from foot problems, they can be exempted from the uncomfortably sexy shoes, but if the issue persists after one year, they would have to resign or take another position, according to a union representative serving several hundred Foxwoods workers.

The repercussions of such a policy put older cocktail workers' jobs at risk. Cheryl Haase has been serving cocktails at Foxwoods for over 20 years, and she reports that walking miles in her heels has caused serious inflammation, with many visits to podiatrists and chiropractors. "Most of us girls have been here for 20 years, 15 years," said Haase. "This job has really done a number on our feet and they know it." With younger employees who have yet to suffer years of foot-pinching work more willing and able to wear heels, older workers like Haase are rightfully threatened by the casino's footwear policy.

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Haase and several other cocktail waitresses began speaking out against Foxwoods' shoe policy in 2009, especially after a consultant came to the casino and described the desired "look" of a Foxwoods cocktail waitress, which included the calf-sculpting, toe-pinching high heeled shoes that have caused Haase and her colleagues immense pain over the years.

But some cocktail waitresses who have suffered issues are reluctant to give up their heels, according to Connecticut podiatrist Dr. Eric Levine. Levine says despite his warnings to waitresses who wear heels to work, "several have told me they're not going to stop wearing them. 'The higher the heel, the larger the tip,'" he said.

So what if Foxwoods lets its cocktail waitresses wear shoes that don't cause permanent foot damage? No one is suggesting that casino-goers be forced to gaze at all-white Sketchers Shape Ups, but God forbid a customer sees a cocktail waitress in reasonable shoes. The horror! She can walk quickly AND isn't easily toppled over! Her center of balance is alarmingly close to the ground! That's enough for most slot-machine enthusiasts to get up and walk right out of the casino.

[Huffington Post]

Image via Shutterstock

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Rebecca "Burt" Rose

Cheryl Haase has been serving cocktails at Foxwoods for over 20 years...

There’s something about this sentence that makes me 100 percent certain that Cheryl is probably just, like, the most awesome fucking person on Earth. Like you’d go hang out with her at the beach and drink those cheap margaritas they sell in a plastic bag at the drugstore and talk about that time when her ex-husband won the Quick Pick and they bought snowmobiles ("Honey, he was a fun guy until he turned into an asshole.") .

Then Cheryl would split an order of Hush Puppies with you at Long John Silver’s and talk you into to hitting on the cute guy behind the counter and you’d be into until you found out he was in high school and Cheryl would be all “so what, honey, go for it!!! You’re only young once! If I was your age I would be all over him!” And you know she would, because Cheryl doesn’t hold back her real feelings, OK?

Then on the way back, she would buy a bottle of rum and talk her way into the Chuck E. Cheese that’s off the highway. (“Honey, my grandkids are inside. Can we just go in real quick so I can say hi?”) And then you’d get drunk and play skeeball for the rest of the evening and win enough tickets for Cheryl to get a Chuck E. Cheese wristwatch. You ask if she wants to hang out with you and your friends and go to this new wine bar, but Cheryl’s like “Oh, honey, no, I can’t I have to work tonight! My shift starts in an hour. I gotta get to work. My fuckin’ boss is gonna kill me if I’m late. He’s this little shit they brought down from corporate. I’ll tell you all about that mess some other time.”

And then as you’re saying goodbye BOOM she gives you the Chuck E. Cheese wristwatch.

I love you, Cheryl Hasse.