Here’s a challenge for the thoughtful whether liberal or conservative, seems to me. Marylou’s Coffee is a local (Boston, suburbs and Connecticut) little challenger to mighty Starbucks that has been doing so well it has continued growing. That may be what drew Federal attention; Starbucks is reputedly a consistent donor to the Left. But I may be too cynical. Mary Lou’s Coffee Investigated for Discrimination explains, Mary Lou’s Investigation explains in greater detail. In short: the Feds’ Equal Employment Opportunity Commision is investigating Marylou’s for discrimination in hiring. In practice, this has all the appeal of a SWAT team raid on an alleged meth lab.
Now, let’s get thoughtful. Hooters was put through the same wringer not too far back for its policy of hiring waitresses who all turned out to be young, attractive and positively endowed with Hooters’ attributes. Which is to say, none were elderly, ugly or too boyish to be readily identifed as female from at least 50 feet. What would one expect from a place named “Hooters?” The initial news of that investigation sort of slid away; I never heard of its denoument. But the last time a Hooters came into sight, it still had the same waitresses. Perhaps the company increased its political contributions or something…but there I go again.
It seems notable that Starbucks baristas share similar characteristics with those at little Marylou’s, the main difference being the lack of EEOC investigation. But Marylou’s girls all wear bright pink (and tight) T shirts and (tight) dark slacks; maybe that’s the difference? Dunno.
Let’s get a bit more thoughtful: Does anyone nowadays really believe it’s ok to exclude folks from work for religion, skin color, age, sex or such as a general proposition? Seems doubtful, to me. But the elderly are routinely excluded from hire as pilots or combat soldiers, right? And nary a peep from EEOC, either. Pretty obvious.
Now, turn it around; you’re an entrepeneur aiming to compete with say, Starbucks. You imitate its pattern and add your own shtick. You succeed. That creates jobs, creates new wealth and challenges the giant Starbucks to improve…all good, right? Don’t we want that sort of thing? Well, no, if we’re going to sick the government dogs onto it while ignoring the big guy. And extending the idea, is using the old “sex sells” idea in providing waitresses an evil that government should prevent? If we want commercial prohibition of ‘sex sells’, it’s going to take a lot bigger enforcement program than was ever whomped up for booze or drugs, seems to me. Sounds Quixotic, even. It would have to start with taking all those ‘mad men’ out and shooting them, wouldn’t it? And if we don’t pursue that except in the single case of Marylou’s after giving Hooters a pass and ignoring Starbucks, what does that say? Anything good?
We need new employers and more jobs now; it seems the worst possible time for this sort of shenanigans. And it leads to questioning whether our leading politicians mean what they’re telling us. (I think I know, but have already admitted my biases.) If the government is going to foreclose hiring physically appealing retail salesfolk as a policy, then land on Starbucks and Hooters first and make the stupidity clear. If government is going to let such policies be, then don’t stomp on little Marylous’. Seems clear to me, am I missing something?