Opinion

Why publicly shaming low-paid workers is gross and needs to stop

Posted by
Sam Diss
Published
Why people who shame staff on social media are the worst

Nothing screams “share this now” quite like tearing into a minimum wage service worker for not doing their job with a spring in their step, a smile on their face, and a mint on their pillow.

Just last week, deadass television personality Dom Joly decided that, after ordering something from IKEA, he needed to exact his vitriol on the unwashed plebs who dared enter his tree-lined lair. It is, admittedly, annoying when rules and regulations get in the way of what you want, but after finding out that the drivers could not deliver his item because there was not a bay for them to park in, he took matters into his own - presumably extremely pappy - hands.

It was a barely quotable rant designed to embarrass those beneath him. Who was he doing this in aid of? IKEA? The third-party delivery service that employed the van-cowering everymen in question? The Great British Public, well known for despising the very notions of standing and waiting? Or was it for himself - sad, pillowy Dom Joly, phone in-hand, tapping at the window of bureaucracy and asking it to give him his new desk - and everyone else like him. I didn’t put a question mark there, because you know the answer.

The drivers accused of depriving Joly of his goods have been suspended, while they told the Daily Mail that Joly punched their van before screaming “I’m not fucking moving!” which led them to stay in the car, refuse to speak to the comic, and then drive away after telling him to go and get a ticket for a parking space. 

Nothing makes the blood rush to the balls of the entitled quite like punching down, and the British media gleefully indulged the folly of Joly, picking up his Facebook video with lurid headlines of support:

“AM I GONNA BE FAMOUS?”: WATCH DOM JOLY’S EPIC IKEA FACEBOOK RANT.

DOM JOLY JUST TORE INTO IKEA’S DELIVERY SERVICE AND THE RESULTS WERE EPIC.

TRIGGER HAPPY’S DOM JOLY DESTROYS PROLETARIAT WITH EXCORIATING FACEBOOK VIDEO.

COMEDY LEGEND DOM JOLY UNLEASHES HOLY FURY UPON DISGUSTING FLUNKIES OF SCANDI FURNITURE BRAND.

DOM JOLY HAD THE PERFECT RESPONSE TO AN IKEA DELIVERY DRIVER WHO REFUSED TO SPEAK TO HIM BECAUSE THE WASHED-UP TELEVISION COMIC WAS RUDE AND TRYING TO STITCH THEM UP, LOOKING TO POST THE WHOLE SORRY AFFAIR ONLINE, POSITIONING HIMSELF AS A SORT OF MAVERICK RENEGADE FOR ALL THOSE WHO WANTED ONE OF THOSE EKBY VALTER SHELVING UNITS AND WANTED IT RIGHT FUCKING NOW.

Auto Draft 9

Dom Joly on Good Morning Britain (Rex)

It is all par for the course, of course, for Joly - who was educated at two separate private, independent schools during his childhood. Just for balance, I CTRL+F’d the word “Sir” on the alum page of the first, Dragon Prep School, and 19 knighted ex-pupils popped up. 

In 2010, he created a show for Channel 5 called The Complainers which - in his words - “intend[ed] to try and get a little revenge for the ordinary Brit on the morons, bureaucrats, health and safety officers, traffic wardens, time wasters that make all our lives a daily hell”. Yes, I’ve never heard of it either, but in taking his clambering to publicly belittle staff online, Joly has helped fill a grubby little gap left in the psyche of the personality type I’m calling the Entitled Twat.

Posing as “sticking up for the little guy” by wielding their own status like a sword and chopping down whatever minion gets in their way, the Entitled Twat publicly @s brands who have disappointed them on Twitter. Brands large and small - Virgin Trains or a little tea shop in Camden Passage - simply must know that they have had a mildly unsatisfactory experience, and so must everyone who follows them. The giddy thrill of thrashing a prole is instant. How can they sleep at night unless someone knows that Daniel, the ‘snooty 19-year-old barista’ of Some Such Cafe in Clerkenwell, served their matcha tea lukewarm instead of piping hot?

In 2015, soft-spoken writer Jon Ronson released the book So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed about the effects of public humiliation in the internet age. The reviews were stellar but the public response was, ironically, poor - with many commenting that Ronson was ‘sticking up for’ people who deserved their criticism. That the subjects of the book were, by and large, ‘guilty’ of something. Nobody touched on the constant, pervasive criticism of the working class not meeting the expectations non-working class people have set for them. 

Even when staff are working for major multinational corporations, that doesn’t mean the customer reserves the right to publicly trash the worker’s reputation and possibly endanger their job if they decide work is not up to their standards.  Judge people by how they treat people they don’t have to be nice to. Think of the Waiter Rule: “If someone is nice to you but rude to the waiter, they are not a nice person.”

That there is sometimes just cause for a good old complain-up is obvious - abusive or offensive staff need their card pulled - but the bar seems destined to sit ever lower. The Entitled Twat - invariably middle-class, invariably white, invariably male - are usually the first to complain about Political Correctness and how it has Gone Mad, turning everyone into exceedingly precious lil’ whiny wimp babies, before directing their ire towards someone who hasn’t met the exceedingly precious standards they expect everyone to perform for them. 

“Never be annoyed with anyone you’d never swap lives with is a rule I like to follow,” wrote one person on Joly’s wall after news outlets reported that the driver(s) in question now likely face the sack. 

“I already posted at the time that I didn’t want him fired or anything- I just wanted my stuff,” replied Joly, who had NO IDEA that he would get these people in trouble. And maybe he did, maybe he didn’t, but that’s besides the point, isn’t it? The point is, he just didn’t care either way.  

Just like everyone else, he saw his shaming as a public service, keeping people in check for the greater good, but mostly, he saw it as a way to get some tasty likes on Facebook and a snatch a fleeting feeling of being relevant again - at the expense of people just trying to do their job.

(Main Image: Rex / Facebook)

Topics

Share this article

Author

Sam Diss

The Associate Editor of New Projects at ShortList, Sam enjoys making up words to annoy editors, writing features about sports, music, weird things, and cool people, and listening to Mark Morrison's 'Return Of The Mack'. He's also a fairly capable centreback. Follow Sam on Twitter: @SamDiss

Related Posts