On Friday, I hopped over to Yahoo To check my email. I have used Yahoo as my primary search engine and for my personal email account for as long as I can remember. This time the screen pictured above greeted me. The picture caught my eye. It looked like a guest handing a customer a credit card at a restaurant. The title stated, “”Who not to trust with your credit card.” Reading down further confirmed my suspicions. “A waiter is one of eight types of people who could use your credit card in dangerous ways.” This is where my blood started to boil.
When I clicked on the article, I discovered the actual content was from a website called www.creditcards.com. The article can be found in its entirety by clicking here. I didn’t link to its original link because I do not want to encourage Yahoo to post more articles like this due to elevated traffic. The article warns of numerous scams and how to avoid them. It also points out that your loved ones, children, and even yourself cannot be trusted with this information. It is the mischaracterization of servers as potential scammers that had me most concerned. Knowing that this was going to make it to my blog this week, I fired off this email to the folks at creditcards.com
Your recent article “8 people you trust with your credit card, but shouldn’t” featured on the front page of Yahoo was one of the most offensive pieces I have ever seen passed off as fake journalism. There are over 2.3 million tipped waiters and waitress in the United States. This accounts for 1 out of 80 employed Americans and is the 8th largest employment classification according to the BLS. To say that because a handful of bad apples have committed fraud, you cannot trust a waiter with your credit card is absurd. That is comparable to saying that because there are fraudulent websites, your website should be placed in doubt as well. There are good and bad people in every profession. Calling into question the integrity of over two million servers because of the misdeeds of a minute fraction of a percent is at best sensationalistic and at worst an assault on the integrity of those who proudly hold this job.
This is a job where the bond between a server and their guest directly determines the income of a hard working person. To damage this very directly harms those who carry out this job with class and professionalism. The job is difficult enough without companies like yours trying to make a quick buck by spreading sensationalistic stories to gain quick publicity.
Ms Sandberg and your entire company should be ashamed of this story. The hard working servers of America deserve better than to be spoken of like this. I believe your company and Ms Sandberg owe an apology to the servers who potentially face a loss of income over this publicity attempt.
On Monday, I will be printing this letter on my website www.hospitalityformula.com. I hope to be able to include a response from your company. Serving is a proud profession and servers do not take lightly others besmirching it for their own self-interests. Please consider a retraction or apology. I feel it is appropriate and hope you agree.
I received this response from the Editor in Chief of the website a few hours later:
We stand by what we said. You have mischaracterized our words as besmirching all the hardworking wait staff in America. We did not do so. Please re-read what we did say:
6. The disappearing waiter. Anytime your plastic is swept away by another person, you have reason for pause. Unfortunately, some restaurant staff may be especially dangerous. “Many skimming networks operate using wait staff,” warns Steve Rhode of GetOutOfDebt.org. “They will pay $50 or more for credit card information that can be swiped off your card using a small electronic device that reads the magnetic strip on the card. Skimming only takes two seconds.” While you can’t always control where they take the card, it’s important to check your receipts and statements immediately.
We pointed out a fact: Some waiters and waiters, and as you point out, some websites, can be dangerous to your finances. We pointed to a remedy, and it wasn’t to stop eating out, but to check your receipts and statements.
Daniel P. Ray
Editor in Chief
On the surface, I have to agree with Mr Ray’s statement. Standing alone, there is nothing untrue about the statements made in the article. In the context of the article, and particularly in the context Yahoo placed it, there is a lot more to be said about the way servers are classified. Tomorrow, I will take a closer look at why this article is so offensive and the contextual reasons why it is so damaging to servers. There is far more to the story than can be summed up in this one paragraph.
In the meantime, I wanted to give you an opportunity to express your opinions. Are you offended by this? Did anyone receive any odd requests from guests regarding their credit card this weekend? Is this an issue anyone has dealt with in the past? I have spent some time researching the topic and what was left out of the article is far scarier than what they included. Let me know what you think. Tomorrow, I will give you my read on the article.
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