By now, we’ve all experienced the ways both big and small that Covid-19 has disrupted our daily lives. From closures to petty arguments over face masks all the way to figuring out how to cook with whatever weird ingredients you happen to have in your pantry thanks to wiped out grocery store shelves.
Now there’s a new annoyance that has people on Twitter losing their damn minds. It turns out, some restaurants are tacking on a Covid-19 surcharge to the final bill.
On May 11th, Twitter user @talialikeitis posted an image of a receipt for a take out order with the caption, “‘Scuse me….what? A covid surcharge?” At the bottom, in red, she circled something that reads, “Covid 19 surcharge $2.19.”
Her tweet has attracted 592 retweets, 793 reactions, and countless comments (literally, I couldn’t count them all).
In the era of outrage, Twitter really stepped up with the instant-read hot takes on this image. Everything in this image from the surcharge, to her order, and even a bizarre sub-thread questioning her nail hygiene has been dissected in minute detail.
But if we step back for a second and think about what is happening in this picture that makes people so upset, we can actually see a weird little microcosm of what’s happening in our country at the moment.
The “‘Scuse me” heard round Twitter brought up two camps of commenters.
The folks who are outraged that they should have pay one extra red cent for anything ever.
And those who were quick to point out that we’re in the middle of a serious meat shortage in this country thanks to COVID making meatpacking workers sick.
For the folks who felt outraged by a Cover surcharge, many accused restaurants of trying to nickel dime their own customers in order to make more money during a crisis.
One person wrote:
If I ever see this on a bill I wld not pay it. Complete bullshit. I’m tryin to recoup too. Who am I suppose to bill ??? Is this evn legal ?
— RC&M’s Mia (@maof4boysplus1) May 11, 2020
Another commenter shot back with:
It's economics pure and simple. They can charge whatever people are willing to pay. It's probably not the smartest way to do it. They could just up the price of every item on their menu. If people don't like it, either way, they can exercise their God given right to eat elsewhere
— Stephen Weiss (@Stephen13881022) May 19, 2020
And still, others had more choice words like this guy:
Fine, more food for us – if you can't afford $2, don't bother to eat out.
— joe belkin (@jbelkin800) May 16, 2020
But back to economics for a second and the commenters who point fingers at the economy.
Not only have meat prices soared but the requirements that states have put on restaurants to keep them clean and safe have required huge costs to cover PPE and cleaning supplies that go above and beyond what they typically use.
Many restaurants are folding under the restrictions and as a result, some are trying anything — including a surcharge — to keep their doors open and their staffs employed.
In the last three months, restaurants in the US lost a staggering $120 billion in sales causing many chains and independently owned places to permanently close. When you think about it that way, paying an extra $2 seems like a childish thing to complain about in public.
As this commenter pointed out, the surcharge isn’t steep and it is to keep people safe.
They are being transparent instead of just doing a full menu price increase. It’s for PPE they are now required to have to keep you (and them) safe. PPE vendors have greatly increased the price of over the past 3 months…supply & demand.
— Elle R (@InspireMePhoto) May 15, 2020
And this person who pointed out the idiocy of Twitter outrage and how it might actually be putting this business under.
This is so sad. From the article written about them, it sounds like the owner made his customers very aware of the surcharge. Now he is facing backlash from around the country for trying to stay open. https://t.co/8825skpjYi
— sierra (@Sierra_K_Ross) May 15, 2020
Listen, everyone has a right to get bent over whatever they want.
But can we at least all agree to try and be adults and use some common sense before sending the armchair warriors to ruin the lives of real people?
And honestly, if you can’t handle a $2 fee to help keep the eatery that you like to eat at open then perhaps it’s time for you to learn how to cook for your damn self.