Well, this is a huge bummer. The fast food industry is catching a lot of flak for their role in America’s obesity epidemic–but it seems to be the employees who work the drive-thru that are internalizing the criticism. According to a survey by PayScale.com, nearly 40% of fast food employees think their job is making the world a worse place. But it’s not the people who work in fast food who are the problem–it’s the forces above them, who continue to invent and market unhealthy crap.
Working in fast food already comes with a heaping pile of unfair social stigma. Most often filled by individuals in the lowest income brackets, fast food jobs are seen as some of the least respectable–which is pretty unfair, considering most fast food employees work pretty hard to support their families. So it’s upsetting to learn that employees of fast food restaurants–people who are just doing a job because they need a job because that’s how capitalism works–are feeling extra shame about their line of work because of choices their employers make.
Even PayScale seems to think that the employees are doing the wrong thing by performing their job duties. From the survey:
“A lot of fast food isn’t healthy for you, and [fast food workers] are continuing to feed it to people even though they know that it’s not,” a lead economist told CNN. But it’s not really the fault of the people who are just trying to pull down a paycheck.
After all, it isn’t the woman working the register or the guy stacking burgers who is coming up with things like the bacon milkshake, the Loaded Breakfast Sandwich, or First Meal. They’re not the ones coming up with marketing schemes like charging just a dollar for 20 ounces of sugary, highly-caloric sweet tea. However, they are more likely to be the ones living in food deserts and insecure food climates than, say, the marketing execs and higher-ups at the company they work for.
There’s a lot of finger-pointing going on, as we collectively scramble to figure out solutions to the myriad problems which have lead to American obesity. But what’s especially upsetting is that very few fast food companies seem all that concerned about the health of their consumers. The employees, instead, appear to be the ones shouldering the burden of our country’s fight to get healthy again–a fight that they, themselves, are fighting, too.
Image by Flickr user ebruli