Finally, someone has found the answer to a question academics and non-academics have pondered for a long time: does research grant money cover trips to Hooters?
Cornell University’s Prof. Michael Lynn spoke to the Cornell Daily Sun about a survey of 374 waitresses, their perceived “sexiness,” and how it relates to the gratuities they receive at work. Not surprisingly, the small study revealed, tits equal tips. Lynn, who is not exactly the most eloquent man, explains:
“…it’s always important to test what seems like obvious cultural wisdom.”
“It also informs management decisions about who to hire,” Lynn added, explaining that servers who earn higher tips are more desirable employees because they are likely to stay at their job longer. Higher tips also indicate higher customer approval of the server, and by association, the establishment in general.
“[Restaurants] might very well want to hire waitresses who will earn larger tips,” Lynn said. “[These employees] can largely be identified through their physical characteristics.”
Lynn’s suggestion of reinforcing the looks-based tipping culture may not go over well with thinking people, who might balk at his comment that “ugly people are not a protected class, legally.” Lynn’s remarks didn’t seem to sit well with fellow Cornell staff member, Prof. Sherry F. Colb (the article says Colb “studies sexual equality”), who suggests that tip pooling might be a better option than just insinuating ugly people or those with “droopy breasts” are doomed to lower incomes:
“Like the employer who fails to promote an employee because she does not sufficiently conform to the feminine stereotype, restaurant owners share in the blame for utilizing a pay structure that turns unenlightened customers into the ‘boss’ in charge of determining a server’s take-home pay,” she said.
You can read the entirety of Lynn’s comments here.