Outcry over restaurant ‘snowflake’ sign
A restaurant has urged customers to "please not presume the gender of our staff" and instead use gender-neutral terms "until you know the person's pronouns".
A photo posted to social media shows a sign in the restaurant's window asking customers to avoid saying things like "she is already helping me", "the guy over there is grabbing my donut", "thanks miss" or "hey man".
Instead, customers are asked to use "they/them" if they are unsure what pronouns staff prefer, as in "they already took my order" or "I think they forgot my dip".
"Please use neutral terms, so you aren't mistakenly referring to someone as a gender they are not," the sign says.
"Folks, pals, buds, champ, friend are all great ways to address others without presuming their gender. Greetings and goodbyes can be as simple as saying 'hello everyone' or 'thanks buddy'."
The sign concludes by reminding customers that "it's okay to ask people which pronouns they use" and that "it is always helpful when you share yours, in an Instagram bio, or when asking someone else".
"Little things like this can go a long way to make people feel seen and safe to be themselves. Thank you for helping us build a positive environment for our staff and our patrons alike!"
It's not clear where the photo of the sign was taken.
It first appeared on Reddit yesterday and went viral after being tweeted out by Human Events managing editor Ian Miles Cheong. "When snowflakes run a restaurant and get triggered by customers. Yeah, no thanks," he wrote.
This is one way to announce 'TBH, we're just a money laundering operation, and don't actually want any real-life customers. Thnx ok bye.'— Geoffrey Miller (@primalpoly) November 4, 2019
One person replied, "I remember an old phrase from my days working in retail, 'The customer is always right.' Apparently, in 2019, that is no longer the case. Wonder how this is gonna work out for this place."
Another asked, "Is being misgendered really worse than being called 'champ' or 'buddy' by another adult?"
Another person said they "understand people want to feel safe" but "forcing me to speak a certain way just because people might be offended is just dumb".
"Life isn't safe, reality is always a shock, from the moment we exit the womb. Inner security comes through going out there and knowing the real word," they wrote.
Some didn't see the problem. One person described the replies to Cheong's tweet as "legitimately disgusting". "The fact that people actually think like this hurt me. Respect other people, please," they wrote.
Another said, "Just one more example of why right-wingers don't give a f**k about the wellbeing of workers."
It's not the first example of a restaurant asking customers to use gender-neutral language when speaking to staff. In 2017, City Pages reported on a number of Minneapolis restaurants adopting the practice.
A cafe worker said the signs were meant to "broaden the context in which the staff felt comfortable, not just with their co-workers, but with everybody, so they didn't have to repeatedly correct people or feel it was a personal burden they had to bear".
One "bearded, burly, non-binary" taco restaurant staff member named "Q" who uses "xie/xem pronouns" told the publication that "before adding the sign, xie got 'duded and bro'd all day'".