No Living Wage? Here’s a toonie

Why we should all be tipping well.

Fifteen percent is the bare minimum. No seriously, it is.

Have you ever gone out to eat and found yourself wondering why the tip ends up costing you maybe as much as an appetizer? Well, that’s because, in Quebec, servers are not paid a living wage.

A living wage is basically a fair amount that allows you to afford the cost of living in your area. While I believe that the required minimum wage isn’t even a living wage nowadays, that’s for another article. 

As someone who works in a restaurant, I know for a fact that servers are paid below the minimum wage. The average hourly salary of a server in Quebec is $12.20 while the minimum wage is currently $15.25. Except, it’s not just servers, it’s most tippable jobs. I don’t mean the cashier with a tip jar (we’ll talk about that later) but any job where a tip is expected.

So, with inflation and the cost of living constantly on the rise, shouldn’t the people being paid less than a living wage be given a little more consideration? 

With that said, here’s my guide to tipping:

As I mentioned, 15 percent is the bare minimum. The rule I go by is, that if you can’t afford to tip at a place, you can’t afford to eat there. If you’re budgeting yourself ahead of time, the tip should be factored in. If you don’t tip, servers quite literally end up paying to have served you. It’s messed up, but it’s true. Servers are required at the end of the night, to “tip out.”

If you don’t know, “tipping out” is when the server pays out a percentage of their sales to “the house” (the house is just the restaurant). That percentage then goes to helping pay the salaries of the kitchen, bussers, and hostesses, as well as going to the manager’s and owner’s pockets. 

To recap, if you don’t tip, servers are still required to tip out to the house as if you did tip— so it ends up being money out of their own pockets. 

Now, how do you tip properly? Well, cash is usually the best way to tip because they don’t have to declare as much of it in sales. That means they won’t be as taxed on it, and they won’t have to tip out as much of it at the end of the night.

In a world where nobody carries cash anymore though, just tip well. 

Moreover, you shouldn’t only be tipping at restaurants. A general rule I follow is if I pay cash, I tip all the small change I get back. If you’ve ever worked in the service industry you know it can be soul-sucking and draining. The people in these industries deserve some love and appreciation too, especially since tips are scarce and usually split among staff.

Really, we should all be conscious of the fact that these people are running around to serve us while barely being paid fairly. Everyone deserves a living wage, and while it shouldn’t be our responsibility to compensate for unfair salaries, we do it (or at least should).


Dreams Struck Down By Strikes?

Concordia film production students talk WGA/SAG strikes

In case you’re unaware, the WGA (Writers Guild Association) and SAG (Screen Actors Guild) are simultaneously on strike for the first time in 60 years. Both writers and actors are demanding fair compensation and better working conditions, standing toe-to-toe with Hollywood’s powerhouse studios. 

These strikes are now exposing some of the working conditions in Hollywood, and just how awful they are. On top of this, they’ve exposed how studios are cutting costs by not paying any residuals for content on streaming services. 

Does this sound like the kind of work environment you’d aspire to have? Well for some of Concordia’s film production students, it is. So how have they been reacting to these strikes?

Talking with Alvaro Gomez, a second year film production student, he explained the need for these strikes saying, “Action needs to be taken right now.” 

So, if you were to ask me these strikes have been a long time coming. Netflix began its streaming service in 2007. Since then, writers and actors have not received any residuals for their work in content shown on streaming platforms. For any of you non-math majors that’s 16 years of not being fairly paid for your work. 

I believe we can all agree that that’s outrageous and unacceptable, no?

Yet, there’s still talk online of strikers’ demands being greedy— to which Ellie Charette, a second-year film production student, says: “If they’re willing to pump $200 million into weekly blockbusters, I think they can afford to pay their actors and writers fairly.” This just showing how studios are more than capable of paying fair wages, they’re just choosing not to. 

“I don’t see how that is even remotely selfish… I’m not even asking for 1% of the revenue” said Gomez. Now, in a post pandemic world nobody would take issue if say, nurses were asking to be fairly compensated, but as Gomez pointed out ‘Everyone knows the industry is completely rotten with the most horrible people.’” 

On top of this, studios like Disney have been completely unwilling to budge. Instead of agreeing to the terms and taking a less-than-one-per-cent pay cut, studios are now pushing release dates for highly anticipated films, hoping to wait out the strikes so actors will return to do press.

However, through all this there’s been a shining light at the end of the tunnel. Strikers today are fighting not only for themselves, but the aspiring filmmakers, writers, directors and actors of tomorrow. Mingus Ferreira, a second year film production student, actually visited the picket line outside of Netflix offices in New York.

Ferreira spoke to the camaraderie and witnessed heartwarming solidarity. “It was raining, it wasn’t a very nice day but people were still out there,” he recalled. 

Gomez spoke to the same thing as he pointed out how, despite studios cutting down trees in LA to get rid of any shade in the sun, strikers still showed up. “You could hear them from far away,” Ferreira added.

So how come these awful working conditions haven’t deterred our film production students from the industry? It comes down to one thing— the love of film.

In speaking with these three film production students, one thing was made glaringly clear. The fact is that these strikes need to be happening now, because these young passionate and talented filmmakers deserve to be treated with respect.

Pay your actors and writers, that’s all. 


“Girl Dinner” or Disordered Eating?

How a Playful Trend Turned Sour

I’m sure we’ve all heard the viral Tiktok audio “Girl Dinner.” In case you haven’t, it’s an audio accompanied by videos of women showing off their mismatched dinners consisting of non-nutritious ingredients and/or snacks.

It started out as a way to make fun of the chaotic snack dinners women tend to gravitate towards, poking fun at how these dinners are sometimes deemed as more satisfying than cooking an actual meal.

This trend started out as one of my favourite trends of the year on Tiktok, because I felt seen. However, watching it unravel made me seriously think about the ramifications of taking trends like this too far. 

Working in a restaurant, I am no stranger to girl dinners. Coming from work having just had a slice of birthday cake, fries, half a salad and a comically large Shirley Temple, I’d say I’m a near expert. Not the healthiest, I know. It is, however, healthier than what this playful trend has morphed into.

Showing off handfuls of fruit to a single glass of wine, it quickly went from showing off full plates of mismatched foods and snacks, to glorifying disordered eating. 

According to Healthline, disordered eating is defined as: “food- and diet-related behaviours that don’t meet diagnostic criteria for recognized eating disorders (EDs) but may still negatively affect someone’s physical, mental, or emotional health.” 

Usually disordered eating manifests itself in seemingly harmless ways that are actually precursors to full-developed eating disorders.Examples of disordered eating include binge eating, fasting for weight loss, fad diets, obsessive calorie counting, etc. 

Now I get it, why does it matter? It’s just a trend online that’ll disappear within two weeks, it’s not that big of a deal. The issue, however, is that it is. As I’m sure you’re aware, eating disorders have been a serious issue on the rise since the dawn of social media. Trends like this only encourage it further. 

Young girls are now seeing the older girls that they look up to, seemingly bragging about eating nothing but a handful of chips all day. Think of how you looked up to the young adults in your life. 

My boyfriend has sent me girl dinner videos that imply the only thing I’ve had in my system all day is an iced coffee, and there are days where that’s not wrong. At the end of the day we’re all (at least for the most part) broke university students. We can’t exactly always afford to make the healthiest nutritional choices.

I just ask that we don’t share it on social media as if we’re winning some sort of award for barely eating. The issue has only grown as social media has become more intertwined with the fabric of culture and society. I understand that eating disorders are painfully normalised and joked about, I only worry about the influence we hold. 

If you have little siblings, cousins or even nephews or nieces, would you want to see a video where they joke about the fact that they’re borderline starving themselves? 

Because at the end of the day, Tiktok’s demographic is split between young adults and easily influenced children/teens, and now they’re being inadvertently influenced to not eat. Shouldn’t we care more or be more conscious of what we post?

Now, if you don’t exactly love the constant girl dinners but money is the issue, we do have resources open to you on campus. Places like People’s Potato at Sir George Williams (SGW) campus provide healthy, sustainable meals at low prices.

Other options include The Hive’s free lunches on the Loyola campus everyday from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. The Hive on SGW also has a pay it forward program where you can get meals that were prepaid by fellow students or faculty. Concordia also has more information on off-campus food resources on their site. 

The occasional real girl dinner dinner aside, let’s all be healthier for ourselves and for the younger generation watching and learning from us. Let’s not instil our own bad habits in them too. 


Can mental illness be an addiction?

Finding comfort in anxiety

Mental illness can be addictive. I know that is a loaded, very serious statement, but allow me to explain. Ever since I was a kid, I have struggled with generalized anxiety disorder. It usually manifested itself in very normal stressful situations and everyone figured it was just a part of growing up.

Though overtime, it worsened. In high school, I’d feel nauseous before hanging out with friends or I’d spend hours crying because I felt overwhelmed and overstimulated. I started to avoid going out, gaining a reputation for being “anti-social.” 

At the height of my anxiety I developed an intense fear of being murdered, which still lingers today. I spent nearly a year constantly looking over my shoulder and imagining different violent scenarios to see if I could plan a way to get out of them. 

I barely slept. I’d cry over every single assignment I’d submit because I knew I could barely manage to get it done in the first place. I didn’t go out unless it was to my best friend’s place where we’d just stay in. 

My mental health was at its lowest. The problem, though, was I didn’t want to change. 

I knew my fears were irrational. I knew I should’ve forced myself to try harder at school. I knew getting out of the house would make me feel better. But I had no interest in doing that. 

According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, the definition of addiction is “a compulsive, chronic, physiological or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, behaviour, or activity having harmful physical, psychological, or social effects.”

Looking back, I’d say I was addicted to my anxiety. Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way saying that mental illness is addictive, or that this applies to every mental illness. However, in my experience, it did — and it’s come to my attention that I’m not the only one who has felt this way. 

I found comfort in my anxiety, I was so deep in it for so long that it became what I centred my life around. My anxiety felt like that childhood stuffed animal, the one you couldn’t sleep without as a kid. I saw no reason to change.

The prospect of trying to fight my way out of my worst episode, just to fall back into another potentially even worse episode, was terrifying. 

In an interview with CBC, psychiatrist Dr. Judson Brewer said that humans can become addicted to worry and anxiety, and just like any other addiction our brain can learn to crave the sensation of worry.

I am only comfortable enough in saying this because of those lovely, deep 3 a.m. talks with friends. Those conversations were part of what helped me realize I was not alone in this experience. 

That’s the good news: You’re not alone.

There are places you can turn to for help.

If you’re struggling, please consider reaching out to Concordia’s Counselling and Psychological services.


Let’s talk about Justin Bieber, not Selena and Hailey

How about we don’t pit women against each other over a man yet again?

In the aftermath of popular media’s latest example of pitting women against each other, let’s talk about Selena Gomez and Hailey Bieber. In case you’re lucky enough to have not had this media firestorm cross your feed, let me catch you up. 

Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber were an on-and-off again pop culture power couple from 2010 to 2018. Commonly referred to as “Jelena,” the couple was beloved by their separate (though mostly intersecting) young fanbases.

Both very successful young artists, they had a very public, difficult romance as they grew up together in the spotlight. However, six months after their final split, Justin announced his engagement to Hailey Baldwin. 

Since then, Hailey has been labelled a mean, petty, obsessive, and crazed fangirl, while Selena has been picked apart all the same. Both women have had every social media post over-analyzed and have been accused of being shady towards the other.

Why, though? Why has the media hurled insult after insult at these women?

It all stems from two Instagram stories. Selena Gomez poked fun at herself over an Instagram story for accidentally over-laminating her eyebrows. Then, Kylie Jenner posted a close-up selfie captioned: “This was an accident??” followed by a screenshot of her and Hailey Bieber on FaceTime, showing only their eyebrows. This sparked outrage online and people quickly began to throw both Hailey and Selena in the ring. 

Now, while there might be some validity to claims of Hailey Bieber being mean or petty towards her husband’s ex, it does not justify the onslaught of hate she’s received. Don’t get me wrong, when this drama initially surfaced, I was team Selena (who took a brief break from social media following this fiasco) all the way… that is until I saw just how awful people were treating Hailey, who took the brunt of it. 

I myself got caught up in the TikTok edits and story after story, the rehashing of old posts that could’ve potentially been shade. But why is it that both Selena and Hailey were the ones being picked apart in the media? Aren’t we all forgetting the common denominator? Justin Bieber himself. 

Now, Justin went through a notorious “bad boy” stage, collecting a fascinating range of crimes for his record. From drunk driving, resisting arrest and egging a neighbour’s house, to losing custody of an illegal pet monkey, it’s clear that he’s not the most mature partner to have. Obviously this is blatant immaturity, but easy to overlook in the grand scheme of things. What shouldn’t be overlooked though is Selena’s claim of emotional abuse. Selena admitted in an NPR interview that she was emotionally abused in her past relationship. “I think that it’s something that — I had to find a way to understand it as an adult,” she said. 

Selena has spoken openly about her struggles with mental health since cutting her Revival tour short due to both medical and psychological reasons in 2016. She now runs a highly successful company, Rare Beauty, as well as being both an executive producer and lead actress in the hit show Only Murders In The Building.  So, clearly she came out the other side for the better.

Hailey is also a success in her own right. Previous to her marriage, she had a booked and busy modelling career, working on campaigns for major labels like Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren and more. She now owns her own skincare company Rhode and has recently premiered her new cooking show What’s In My Kitchen? So again, she is an independently successful woman being dragged down by her husband. 

Also, a quick question: when was the last time Justin did anything noteworthy?

Hailey, however, is now the next victim to the “Peaches” singer’s immaturity, with video after video surfacing of Justin either being annoyed by or completely indifferent to his wife’s presence. For example, there’s a video of him closing a car door in her face as they both try to get out on the same side of the car.  He may have matured, just not that much. When being asked by a fan what he does on a regular day he answered: “When I’m with my wife, we like to… You guys can guess what we do. It gets pretty crazy… that’s pretty much all we do,” revealing details of their intimate life. 

Neither woman has openly attacked the other; still, we pit them against each other because of the one thing they have in common: a man.

Selena recently stepped in, posting to her Instagram story saying “Hailey Bieber reached out to me and let me know that she has been receiving death threats and such hateful negativity. This isn’t what I stand for. Nobody should have to experience hate of bullying.” 

So, here we are, right after Women’s History Month, continuing to judge women because of their association with a man, instead of judging the man himself. So, if you ask me, I’d say I’m not team Selena or team Hailey, but rather team not absolving men of responsibility.


Stop posting your Shein hauls

The rise of Shein through TikTok and its place in fast fashion today

From try-on hauls to unpacking videos, Shein has been fast fashion’s latest social media star. During the pandemic, Shein had a major rise in popularity as everyone looked for affordable places to shop online, and TikTok is to thank for that.

Seemingly overnight, the app was flooded with videos highlighting customers’ recent hauls from the cheap clothing site. Not only that, it also became oh so meme-worthy, with people posting videos of strange items they found on the site (fried chicken necklace, anyone?) and cringy product reviews.

On TikTok, the hashtag “#shein” currently has an accumulated 44.4 BILLION views, to give you an idea of just how massively popular it is.

As a brand, Shein is problematic to begin with, and that’s without delving into the complexity of Shein’s treatment of workers. It identifies itself as a “real time” fashion company, meaning instead of the average three week process brands like H&M and Zara use to release new items, Shein takes five to seven days. Because of this shorter rollout period, they also use cheap fabrics and their clothing is known for its low quality, which contributes to consumers regularly buying clothing in bulk from the site. 

Shein’s massive popularity has made over-consumption trendy. Shein’s popularity has also brought with it a deeper discussion on fast fashion. Can fast fashion be ethical? Should we be buying from sites like Shein at all? Is fast fashion even avoidable? Questions like these have been at the forefront of debates on fast fashion. 

Personally, I don’t believe fast fashion is truly avoidable in today’s world. Unfortunately, we live in a capitalist-run society, which is to say that mass consumption is all consuming and, frankly, we’re all broke and tired.

The average person can’t afford (and I mean, literally, financially afford) to completely avoid fast fashion. Even somewhat affordable mainstream clothing stores contribute to the problem by promoting mass consumption: Zara, H&M, Urban Outfitters, Forever 21, etc. Not to mention how all these brands are problematic in their own right in terms of mass consumption, labour,environment, etc.. . Even thrift shops end up with these labels continuously cycling through their racks.

There’s hardly anywhere for an average working-class person to turn to where they can buy clothing that’s affordable and ethical. With online shopping becoming the norm and wiping out brick and mortar stores, the fast fashion issue has only worsened. 

Online stores and social media have given a new life to “haul” content online. More and more frequently, people are over-purchasing large amounts of clothing they don’t need on a regular basis for social media content.

Shein’s insane popularity on TikTok has cemented the over-consumption of fast fashion as a trend. It’s become the latest environment-killing, cheap, and easy form of content available to influencers or wannabe influencers trying to grow a following.

Influencers. Ugh. Influencers have glorified haul content and inspire others to copy these same behaviours. Now this isn’t to say that all influencers are awful and want to see the world burn, just that they should be more conscious of how they use their platform. If influencers were to entirely stop posting content that promotes regularly buying clothing in bulk, there’d be a massive drop in the amount of people doing exactly that. The spheres of beauty and fashion have influencers at their core, audiences (quite literally) “follow” their example. 

So stop posting your Shein hauls. Firstly, nobody truly cares about the seven shirts you got for $30. Secondly, you’re feeding into an already problematic company that is one of the largest modern contributors to fast fashion and, by extension, climate change.

This isn’t to shame anyone who’s bought from Shein or similar sites. Like I said, we’re all broke and tired, I’ve been there myself. It’s just to say buy what you need, when you need, not in excess.


DDO Holiday Market Returns

 The Dollard-des-Ormeaux Holiday Market returns to bring holiday cheer after a two-year hiatus

Nov. 12-13 marked the return of DDO’s annual Fine Arts & Craft Holiday Market. After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, local businesses and artisans returned to the DDO Civic Centre’s new Community Centre Building to sell their goods and ring in some holiday spirit. 

The event had live music, countless vendor stalls and the “Craft Café” to take a break from shopping and enjoy some freshly baked goods. The place was packed with families looking to get a head start on holiday shopping and support their community. 

There was a wide range of vendors, selling anything from knitwear to handcrafted jewelry to pottery. There was surely something for everyone, including a Lego building station for kids. No matter your age, there was something to pique your interest and tempt your wallet.

Going from vendor to vendor, there was no lack of smiling faces, as everyone was thrilled to welcome back the annual community event. Here’s to many more years of the DDO Holiday Market!

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