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The backlash has come back around to Popeyes.
Following the overwhelming success of its new chicken sandwich, the New Orleans-born company has faced resentment from the perceived treatment of its employees. A short, harrowing video of an employee, sitting doubled over in exhaustion outside a store has made the rounds in memes and across social media.
A few emotions when I watch this video. So many people work so hard and are paid so little. This sister just looks tired. pic.twitter.com/xFnOgmNLO6— Be A King (@BerniceKing) August 23, 2019
Once the video hit, some realities for service workers and the state of the American economy came to the fore.
“They’ve been on their feet all day. Have to deal with non-stop orders,” user @RVAReid tweeted.
Pics of Popeyes workers being worn out are not funny to me. They’ve been on their feet all day. Have to deal with non-stop orders & people trying to fight them over sauces. All that for pay that doesn’t match the work performed. I don’t want that for anybody.— Reid (@RVAReid) August 22, 2019
I know them Popeyes workers had a week from hell.— OG Jerè (@TripleEntendre) August 22, 2019
I’m so sorry for Popeyes workers. I know y’all wanna go HOME. They are not getting one cent extra from everyone being extra as fuck at their job. Damn.— Attack on Tidal (@bluekeyblade) August 22, 2019
Many have recommended Popeyes provide additional bonuses or raises for the employees who worked during the chicken sandwich rollout.
Popeyes needs to be giving all their employees a raise and a bonus for dealing with the craziness.— Mari Copeny (@LittleMissFlint) August 23, 2019
Give Popeyes Employees a Raise🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾 https://t.co/nx0uC26TWq— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) August 23, 2019
Black Twitter helped Popeyes make $23 million. I wonder if they will give their employees a bonus, vacation, raise..something or did we just help the CEO buy another yacht ?— Indy 🧜🏾♀️ (@IndiaAlmighty) August 23, 2019
Some also accused Popeyes of not being prepared for the demand.
It’s really dehumanizing. And the company in no way prepared their stores & franchisees for the demand. When I went the staff was clearly blindsided. And customers were not being understanding.— La Rana (@starfishncoffee) August 23, 2019
Popeyes had the most successful rollout of a food item since Dairy Queen dropped the Blizzard and only like 6 people are gonna get paid off of it while the workers are now trying to survive Thunderdome.— Joel D. Anderson (@byjoelanderson) August 22, 2019
Capitalism is terrible smh. https://t.co/0UtZOlgX04
In perhaps-related news, an employee at a Gainesville, Florida-area Popeyes was hospitalized Tuesday after apparently falling onto a greasy floor.
“The Popeyes in Gainesville, Florida just shut down because the manager got overwhelmed with the sammich orders and collapsed in some grease” https://t.co/66119pCl8g— ManSitChoAzzDown (@AngryManTV) August 21, 2019
Even with all of this, there have been some entertaining takes on the Popeyes explosion, putting the employees in a contrasting, hilarious light.
Kahron Spearman is a music and film critic whose work can also regularly be regularly found in the Austin Chronicle.