The following article appeared in my local newspaper this morning.


Two employees at Famous Dave’s in Bismarck were fired after posting a photo to Facebook complaining about tips during the United Tribes International Powwow.

The photo depicted one employee holding a cardboard sign that read, “Help I’m a server at Famous Dave’s on Pow Wow weekend! Anything helps! 5 cents 25 cents! It’s more than my tips.”

The employee pictured was in the restaurant and wearing her uniform in the photo. She and the employee who took the photo were both fired.

“Like many employers, we employ many people. People have opinions. Social media allows an outlet for these opinions,” owner Mike Wright said in a statement on Facebook. “Sadly, for reasons unknown to me, often times bitter employees also try to embarrass the employers and taint the businesses where they work. Clearly a recent post by a now former employee fits this description.”

Wright chose not to release the employees’ names, citing employee confidentiality. The Tribune was not able to contact them.

Wright said in a phone interview the woman in the photo “did something that was a mistake.” He said she felt bad and has privately apologized for the post.

He said he did not know whether the photo was originally posted to the woman’s Facebook page or elsewhere. He said he found out from callers to the restaurant, and the photo was reposted on the restaurant’s Facebook page.

Wright left the photo on the restaurant’s Facebook page until people started manipulating and Photo shopping the image. His statement on the Facebook page had 490 likes, 146 shares and 133 comments Monday afternoon.

“I will allow the court of public opinion to weigh in on this obviously offensive post,” he said on Facebook.

Wright said while employees have their own opinions, social media brought the photo into the public realm.

“Hopefully we can move on beyond this,” he said.

Bismarck-Mandan Convention and Visitors Bureau Chief Executive Officer Terry Harzinski said about $2 million dollars is spent at local businesses by those staying in hotels during Powwow weekend annually, “which is very significant.”

Now the rest of the story…

This article was presented with the following Headline, “Employees fired for racist post.”

Now, I will agree that the posting of the picture was ill-advised and that people need to be careful about how things are perceived.  I also can see how the management of Famous Dave’s could see the acts of these two former employees as being detrimental to the restaurant.  I can also imagine that this former waitress may need to improve herself, in the future, to thusly be greater compensated by her customers.

But, I always tip when I go out to eat and worst case, if the service is poor, I will at least leave a 10 percent tip and my normal tip is between 20 and 25 percent if serve is good.  If you don’t what to leave a tip, then stay at home.  It is in very poor taste to not tip something and if you cannot afford the tip, then maybe you also cannot afford to eat out.

I also feel that if this is a cultural thing and this happens everywhere, than the restaurants should be aware of this and compensate their employees accordingly during this time period.

What I find offensive about the article is the headline in which this alleged post on Facebook is in anyway “racist” in nature.  The sign mentions the reference to the Pow-Wow weekend, but that in itself is nothing more than a timeframe.  To than imply that this is a reference to Native Americans is not only ridiculous, but absurd.  Even if you could imply a reference, since when is a comment about the poor tipping by people during the same period as a curtain event, a racist posting?  I never same what was posted, but if there was something stated that was racist, than the reporter should have mentioned what it was in her article.  Instead, it appears to be nothing more than this journalist’s poor attempt to grab the attention of the readers by making this article out to be more than what it was.