“Ugly People Are Not A Protected Class, Legally," And Other Service-Industry Gems

Illustration for article titled “Ugly People Are Not A Protected Class, Legally, And Other Service-Industry Gems

It's true! In fact, "it is not in fact illegal to hire only attractive waitresses." We should clarify that "ugly" here translates to "not blond, pneumatic and slender." This was all part of a serious academic study, you see.


Michael Lynn, a professor of marketing and tourism at the Cornell School of Hotel Management, "surveyed 374 waitresses about their perceived 'sexiness,' breast size and other physical characteristics and correlated these results with the amount of tips the waitresses received," the Cornell Daily Sun tells us. His findings? Skinny blonds with big breasts make more money. Or, as the professor puts it, "evolutionary instinct trumps the ideals many patrons profess."

In case you're wondering about the utility of these staggering findings, well, Lynn has some ideas:

[The findings] also informs management decisions about who to hire," Lynn added, explaining that servers who earn higher tips are more desirable employees because they are likely to stay at their job longer. Higher tips also indicate higher customer approval of the server, and by association, the establishment in general."[Restaurants] might very well want to hire waitresses who will earn larger tips," Lynn said. "[These employees] can largely be identified through their physical characteristics."


In other words, a restaurant manager reading this should take note and only hire big-busted blonds from now on — it's not illegal, after all! Nor, apparently, is it "illegal" to define "attractive" along such normative and socially influenced lines. But that doesn't make it right. A colleague of Lynn's quoted in the piece has another take on these so-called findings: "Like the employer who fails to promote an employee because she does not sufficiently conform to the feminine stereotype, restaurant owners share in the blame for utilizing a pay structure that turns unenlightened customers into the ‘boss' in charge of determining a server's take-home pay."

A commenter on the original article going by Larry '66 was right on the money when he asked, "Is it possible that this is actually a reflection of hiring practices at higher-end restaurants? More expensive restaurants pay more and generate larger tips and the hiring managers, still more men than women, are selecting the more attractive and buxom servers?" Commenter Lisa has a slightly different take: "Seriously sounds like this dork was using his "survey" as an excuse to talk to women. 'I was at Hooters doing research sir, honest.'"

Of coursing, an enterprising businessperson could save some time with the new and inglorious Beautiful JobSeekers.com, which apparently provides all the attractive narcissists a boss could want. Hey: It's legal.

Larger Breasts Pay Off For Waitresses, Study By Hotel Professor Finds [Cornell Daily Sun]


Does Beauty Slay The Job-Hunting Beast? [Excelle.com]

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I made a shitload of money as a waitress in my day, and I did it as a rather amply sized non-blonde. How? Well, for starters, I knew the menu and the wine list inside and out. I had an almost perfect ESP for sussing out who needed me to be an actress and who needed to be left alone. I was funny, charming, aloof - whatever chameleon a particular table needed. I was good at it. A skilled waitress with a good personality will make good money, no matter what she looks like.