middle brow | citizen how

nobody haves. everybody have nots. 

we lost our bathrooms this week. like, a laborer purposefully destroyed the bathroom in our space. and i felt... sad. honestly. our really drab, basic, below-average bathroom. that i only used, like, 11 times ever. was destroyed to make way for all of the shit we've been designing for 9 months, and dreaming about for 9 years. and i almost wanted it back. 


and that made me think about servers. and the restaurant tipping model generally. ... hear me out.

you might not know it. but when you dine in a restaurant, the tip you leave doesn't just go to the man or woman serving you. a healthy portion (just how healthy depends on the restaurant, and the service philosophy) goes to the bussers and food runners and hosts and barbacks. and that makes for an interesting dynamic. 

on the one hand: servers have a really difficult job. people are by and large nice. but every server knows that even 2-3 surly, condescending customers. who believe restaurant workers are below them on some priority list somewhere. and who therefore scoff and flick and command and chortle against the service-oriented human being standing before them. they can ruin a whole night. and several days thereafter. ... serving takes major psychological and physical toll.

but so does food running. and so does bussing. because assholes tend not to understand the restaurant hierarchy. and so they don't discriminate in their assholery. 

so, on the other hand: servers and bartenders tend to make massively more money per hour than any other restaurant employee. and since that's sort of the tradition, they feel entitled to that money. and that entitlement (coupled with the customers refusal to pay a realistic price for the food they're eating) is what makes the system impossible to change. and what threatens to future of the restaurant industry.

and what's at the core of that entitlement, and customers refusal to pay higher prices? loss aversion. if we only knew how better to value the things put in front of us. the world would be a more sustainable place. and we aren't doomed! the more you know about loss aversion, the easier it is to combat it. in your own decision-making.

so please read all about it here.

in brief: loss aversion describes the idea that you value something more if you have it than you do if you don't. so, if someone offered me a snickers blizzard on a hot day, i'd pay not a cent more than $3 for it. but, if i was the one with the milkshake. and i had the long, glorious, shapely plastic spoon in my wretched, nervous hand. ready to dig into the first big, frozen chunk'a dat snick. and someone offered me $10 of the shake, i'd refuse. in other words: we're more afraid of losing something we already have than of not gaining that very same thing. it's a totally and beautifully irrational behavior. but it causes all sorts of problems in group dynamics and social organization.

anyway. our donating 50% of our profits to charity has helped us fight our own loss aversion. we feel less entitled to our profits, and so it's easier to give them away. despite how hard we work to make them. ... 

and we hope this ethic is reflected in our upcoming brewpub. where we plan to create piles of experiential wealth. every inch for the taking. all we ask is that you never feel entitled to any fun you have. and that you treat our employees like the human beings they are.