Friday, February 29, 2008

Incarceration in America - no wonder my tips suck!

I saw a reference to the following study on the news today. The Pew Charitable Trust found that more than 1 in 100 adults is behind bars. For details on the collection of this data go here.

According to the research:

  • 1 in 54 men ages 18 or older are incarcerated
    >> 1 in 106 white men
    >> 1 in 36 Hispanic men
    >> 1 in 15 black men
  • 1 in 265 women ages 35-39 are incarcerated
    >> 1 in 355 white women
    >> 1 in 297 Hispanic women
    >> 1 in 100 black women

Now you may be saying to yourself, Lobster Boy, what does this have to do with the restaurant biz? That answer is longer than I'm willing to fully flesh out (outside of it simply being interesting), but I'll give a couple of examples.

1) These are the people I'm waiting on, and those statistics are scary, especially for the men.
2) These are the people I often work with. Restaurants are generally places that hire unskilled laborer. If you are a social reject or don't speak the language they bury you in the kitchen. If you have a pulse and can carry a conversation they'll hire you to serve.
3) I've been impacted by co-workers who've had to serve time. DUI is the common one, but there have been others in my years.
4) Stereotypes exist for a reason. You might not like that, but the reality is still there.
5) The cops patrol near my restaurant with an abnormally high regularity. This might be the case with all retail areas, but it seems out of the ordinary.

I've seen a number of take downs in our parking lot or on the streets adjacent to our building. It always makes for good viewing when the restaurant is slow. I've had customers cheering for guys to "make a break for it" and run from the cops. I've seen co-workers hauled off from our parking lot.

Anyone have some good stories? Probably the most interesting one I have witnessed was a van getting pulled over about half a block down from our restaurant. I watched the tail end of this from our parking lot, and only later heard more of the story. The cops pulled a van over for an unknown offense. Come to find out there were something like 18 people crammed into the back of the van, all illegals. I missed everyone getting out, but a co-worker who was watching said it was like a clown car, that people just kept getting out of the van. I saw only the very last few moments (I had gone inside so I wouldn't be late for my shift), but saw (through our windows) something like 8 or 9 cop cars all loaded with people driving away from the scene as the van was being impounded. It was a bizarre scene to observe just before starting a shift. It creates a strange sort of buzz in a restaurant. Especially in an area with a sizable Latino population.

Another interesting one is I watched a couple of cops dismantle a Cadillac on the road in front of our store. Car gets pulled over, driver arrested, and the cops start in with screw drivers taking door panels off and emptying out the trunk, glove compartment, counsel and such. Apparently the driver had stuck a bag of weed or something in the door. I'm not sure what tipped the cops off, but they made short work of taking the door apart. I don't think they found anything but the bag in the door. We got to see the cops pull it out and lay it on the hood of the car (thus our guess that it was weed, the zip lock bag had something dark in it). This all provided us at least 45 minutes of entertainment that day. I was glad I wasn't serving the sections that could see all this going on, as I'm sure it slowed down the table turns.

1 comment:

Jess said...

At my Red Lob we don't get good viewing of cop take downs but instead we get to witness sexual activities in cars in the parking lot...yes, once one lady even when down on a guy in the car which was parked right in front of a window to the restaurant. At least it got the servers to stop talking about their own sexual activities for a little bit.