Sick People Are Touching Your Food!


My word!

I saw this the other day.  I can’t let it go.  The picture is a clever little way of using humor to make any counter argument seem silly and stupid.

“You don’t think food workers should get paid sick time?  Wow, not only are you a jerk for not caring about the lack of benefits they receive, but you’re also an idiot for pretty much wanting your food to be covered in germs!”

Is that how this should be viewed?  I don’t think so.  Let’s go about this a little bit differently.  Instead of my normal prose, I’m just going to attack this in bullet points…

  • First of all, what is considered a “food worker?”  The picture makes it seem as though it’s a waiter, or by extension a cook, but is that really the case?  Does stat include people who handle food that is already in sealed containers?  Does it include accountants who work at food companies?
  • What is considered sick by these people?  Is it some sniffles?  Or is it uncontrollable vomiting?  I know some people who will complain about being “sick” when they have something slightly worse than a headache.  I know others who won’t say anything until they cough up their lung.
  • On that same point, how was the question asked?  “Have you ever gone to work not feeling 100%?” is wide open for interpretation.
  • Would these people take the sick time if they had it?  Most people go to work when they’re sick because they either want to save up their sick/vacation/personal time or they’re worried about how it will affect their performance.
  • Do some people come in because they can’t find someone to take their place on the shift?  Maybe they would take the day off but they were unable to find a replacement so in order to overload their coworkers, they come in.
  • Do managers actually allow sick people to handle food?  They are certainly taking a risk if they do—a risk that would have terrible effects on their business if people got sick because their waiter had the flu.  Do they ever simply send these sick people home when they show up?
  • Does it actually have a negative effect on the health of the patrons?  Are people actually getting sick as a result of this?
  • How would getting paid sick days affect the rest of their pay and benefits?  Paying someone to not come into work puts an expense on the business.

If I sat down and thought about it for longer, I’m sure I could come up with plenty more points, but that’s not the point I’m trying to make.  I don’t want people sneezing into my food and I’m not sure there are that many people out there who do want that.  That does not, however, excuse cherry picking a statistic with no context, no explanations, and no sources (as far as I can see) to drive home a point.

It’s simple a cheap way to ridicule the opposition in the argument.  And while it may make it appear to some that you win the debate, ridiculing a position does not render it incorrect.

Don’t be fooled by a simple appeal to ridicule.