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Please Don't Meme Overworked Popeyes Employees

Just eat your chicken and leave them alone.

by Leila Ettachfini
Aug 23 2019, 9:42pm

Photo (L) by Nick Kindelsperger via Getty Imagesphoto (R) by Luke Sharrett via Getty Images. 

The new Popeyes chicken sandwich has, as you may have heard, caused a chicken sandwich frenzy on and offline since its release on August 12. Ironically enough, the fast food chain known for its fried chicken had never sold a chicken sandwich before. While the new territory has been fun for food bloggers, chicken sandwich connoisseurs, and long-time lovers of the fast food chain, some Popeyes workers are not enjoying the madness as much. In fact, with Popeyes lines growing as everyone scurries to have a taste of the viral new sandwich, some workers say that it’s been overwhelming.

“I’ve worked at Popeyes for seven years and I’ve never seen shit like this, it’s fucking crazy, oh my fucking god,” said one Popeyes employee on Thursday at one of the chain’s Brooklyn locations.

“We’ve been packed nonstop, it’s every day with these fucking sandwiches,” said another employee at the same location.

As sandwich hysteria intensifies, with people questioning how the newcomer stands up against veteran chicken sandwiches like those of Chick-fil-A and Shake Shack, people have apparently been buying massive orders of the sandwiches to the point where some locations are running out of chicken. Meanwhile, at least one image of a Popeyes employee sitting on a bench looking tired is making the rounds on Twitter. While some have shown sympathy for employees like the person in the photo as their jobs become more demanding under the pull of the chicken sandwich, others have turned the image into a meme.

Naturally, some are upset about the photo, and understandably so. For one, despite the spike in business, Popeyes workers aren’t seeing any of these monetary gains in their own paychecks since they do not make tips or commission. According to PayScale, the average Popeyes employee makes $9.19. And on an ethical level, taking photos of an employee without their consent then posting them online to make fun of how overworked they must be is a pretty obviously a shitty thing to do.

As the initial discourse from the Popeyes chicken sandwich mania gets old, some are turning their attention to the people making the delectable sandwiches possible. At least one woman has suggested turning the frenzy into a Popeyes worker’s rights movement. If even half of the energy behind the sandwich is put towards fighting for a livable minimum wage, perhaps Popeyes latest creation could become as iconic as everyone is pretending it is.

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