So, that kid in the Awl wrote about getting fired for calling out a corporate food truck patron for not leaving a tip. Some thoughts, in no partcular order:
1) The headline is "Millennial Fired for Tweet." This seems unfortunate, in that "Millennial" is emerging as a designation that automatically trivializes the concerns of the person identified as such. Generational namecalling seems to be a persistent phenomenon, rather than something unique to this moment -- a generation or two ago it would have been something about storming the beaches of Normandy at your age, and you're sitting there watching WKRP.
2) The author, Brendan O'Conor's, response to getting zero tip on a check of $170 would be reasonable - in a restaurant. At a food truck, I am not sure. Once upon a time, you went to a restaurant, sat down, and someone performed the service of telling you about the specials, answering questions about the food, bringing you food and drinks, etc, and you compensated them for this service by tipping them 15% or more of the check total. Similarly, there is an understanding at bars that a tip is appropriate for having someone fix you a drink or pour you a beer. More recently, the range of services deemed tipworthy has expanded, to the degree that one sometimes sees a tip cup next to the register at some retail stores. (I was thinking about this over the weekend during my stops at Diesel cafe, where I tipped a dollar on my three dollar iced coffee, and wondered if that kind of outlay might warrant having the server put a lid on the drink -- evidently not, BTW.) It's not clear to me where a food truck fits on this continuum, but it seems like it might be a case where tipping would be appropriate, but not compulsory.
3) This is kind of terrifying:
One of the unusual things about this particular food service job was that the owner used customer comments and pictures on social media—especially Twitter and Instagram—to monitor his workers. Grilled cheese: gamified.
The Cod has been tussling w/ some social media questions elsewhere, but a) the Instagram Panopticon is a pretty terrible development. Also, the golden ring on this particular merry-go-round is a $25 iTunes gift card every month? I like music as much as the next person, but this does not seem like it would motivate me to pretend I was working for Danny Meyer.
4) Also, speaking of small potatoes and social media, the offending stiffers are Glass, Lewis, "The leading independent corporate governance and proxy adviser," evidently corporate governance and proxy advising is not so time-consuming that you don't have time to scan twitter for tweets about your employees' twitter practices. (It is not clear to me how a) Mr. O'Connor knew that his party was from Glass, Lewis, or how Glass, Lewis knew it was from this particular food truck that the Tweet had emanated.) And it's improbable that someone from Glass, Lewis would contact this food truck, and complain. Imagine making the call where you say "um, yeah, we bought $170 of grilled cheese sandwiches from you and didn't tip and your employee pointed that out, and we are mad about that."
5) More improbable still, the owner of the food truck, The Milk Truck, responded by firing the offending employee. I understand that the customer is always right, but if you don't back up your employees, you won't have customers, because you won't have a a business, because, you guessed it, you won't have employees. Perhaps, as we've seen in Boston, success in the food truck business brings out the despot in us all.