There is a lawmaker in California who wanted to impose a $1000 fine on waiters and waitresses who serve a drink with an unrequested straw. Oh, and a possibly 6 months in jail. The genius behind this idea is Ian Calderon, the Democratic majority leader in California’s lower house. The reasoning is that straws are bad for the environment, they end up in waterways, blah, blah, blah. I don’t deny that we should use fewer straws each year. I also don’t think it’s a bad idea to make customers request them instead of automatically giving one to every person who orders a drink. It’s no different from when there is a water shortage and customers have to ask for water to be served at the table. But to suggest that a waiter should be fined $1000 for giving out an unsolicited straw is bullshit. Fining the server is like punishing literally the lowest man on the straw totem pole, Mr. Calderon. If you’re itching to fine someone, why not fine the customer who uses the straw even though they didn’t ask for it? Or how about the restaurant itself for even having these instruments of Satan? Or better yet, why not aim at the manufacturer of the straws and make them pay a certain amount of their profits to an eco-friendly organization or require them to recycle a percentage of the plastic they use? Don’t try to fine a server $1000 or send his ass to jail because he has a handful of straws in his apron and he gave one to a six-year old kid who didn’t ask for it with their Shirley Temple.
After this story hit the media, Mr. Calderon probably got bitch slapped by every waiter and waitress in California because it was soon announced that the fines were to be removed from the bill. I tweeted to him about the $1000 fine and he replied, “The penalties are attached to the code section the bill is currently in. That will change. Amendments are part of the legislative process.”
No, not really. The penalties are attached to the code section the bill is currently in. That will change. Amendments are part of the legislative process.
— Ian C. Calderon (@IanCalderon) January 26, 2018
You know what else is part of the legislative process, Mr. Calderon? The opinions of the people in this country who will be affected by the laws that you create. My opinion is that you came up with this “$1000 fine for waiters” bullshit just to get some headlines and attention for your otherwise good idea. Congratulations, it worked. Dozens of servers have sent me links about your proposed bill and you probably got a political boner every time someone shared it. You got the attention you wanted and now you have agreed to take out the most ridiculous part of the bill. I hope you do come up with a way to save the environment by cutting back on the usage of straws. While you’re at it, why not do something about the plastic to-go utensils restaurants throw into every bag of food that gets wrapped up? Most of that food is going to a home where I presume there is actual silverware meaning the plastic ones get tossed into the garbage. Keep up the good fight. Just don’t suggest that it’s a server’s responsibility to dig into an apron in order to pay a penalty for distributing a straw. Very few servers I know have an apron deep enough to find $1000.
You can find Ian Calderon on Twitter by clicking here. Tell him I said hello.