Restaurateur Shocked By Poor Grammar & 'Lack Of Effort' In Job Applications After Asking Dishwashers To Send Cover Letters

A cover letter for a dishwasher? And then being a grammar snob about it too? Come on.

restaurant dishwasher and Reddit screnshot alvarostock / Reddit / Canva Pro

Finding a job has become an infamously difficult task nowadays, but for what we typically think of as "menial jobs" the process is presumably still pretty simple, right? You fill out an application form and show up, and that's the end of it.

Not so much if one restaurateur on Reddit is any indication. Not only did they have absurd application requirements for even the most basic of positions, but they were shocked when the responses they received weren't corporate-level letter-perfect.


The restaurateur was shocked by the lack of effort in job applications for a dishwasher position.

Ask anyone who's worked in restaurants, especially if they work in the "back of the house," and they'll tell you: The hardest job in the entire building is the dishwasher.

It's hot, wet, sloppy, and responsible for keeping the pace of the entire restaurant. If there are no clean dishes, there's no cooking in the first place, let alone service. On a busy night, the pace is unrelenting. It is an exhausting, dirty, and typically low-paying slog.

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And that, of course, means that in rich countries, it is often a job for those who are the easiest to exploit — people from disadvantaged backgrounds, those who have been incarcerated, and especially recent immigrants. 

In short, those willing to do the jobs that most of us are so privileged we would never deign to even consider them. These are the people "stealing jobs" from "real Americans"— or real Canadians, in this case.

So why on Earth would someone hiring dishwashers for their restaurant expect them to submit perfectly edited, tip-top professional applications? It's like expecting a ditch digger to bring a portfolio of their ditches. Willingness, brute strength, and a shovel are the requirements. Hire them or don't, and let them move on with their lives. But this restaurateur clearly sees things differently.

The owner asked dishwashers to submit cover letters and resumes and then complained about their lack of professionalism.

"I cannot believe how terrible they are!" the poster said of the applications they received. "Considering how badly people need work, you’d think there would be some effort put into the application process."


"First, the posting requested a cover letter and a resume," they went on to complain. "Three people sent both. Fifteen sent just a resume. And 32 SENT NEITHER." Even many experts, like recruiters handling white-collar office jobs, say cover letters are a waste of time and almost universally never get read. But whatever!

The restaurateur then included some of their "favorite" responses, most of which were in obviously broken English written by people who stated they were newly arrived in Canada from another country.

That didn't seem to register to the restaurateur, however. "I am blown away by the poor grammar, spelling, lack of capitalization and punctuation, use of 'texting' language… I had no idea it would be this bad." My goodness; however will they manage?!


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People were shocked by the restaurateur's obvious xenophobia, ignorance, and ludicrous expectations.

Consider the widely known statistics about who gets hired as dishwashers: In the U.S., studies have estimated that at least a third are undocumented immigrants, and as high as 86% are in cities like Los Angeles. Then, consider that the restaurateur themself said that all but 11 applicants said they were from another country. 

Could it possibly be that the reason this person is getting "poor grammar" is because they're dealing with people for whom English is not a first language? What do they expect, Hemingway? And this is from a person who almost certainly only speaks one language.

But that's really beside the point. Asking for a cover letter for a dishwashing position is absurd and idiotic on its face. What are they supposed to even write? Are they meant to wax philosophical about the beauty of scraping stranger's uneaten food into a garbage can? Glean catharsis from getting hot steam blown in their faces by the dishwashing machine for eight hours a night?


Or, as one Reddit commenter put it, "'Hello, I’d like to be a dishwasher. I have a history of always showing up at work and washing dishes. Thanks.' Anything other than this is too much."

Others commented on the obvious subtext of the post — xenophobia and the inherently problematic standards of "professionalism," which lionize traits and experiences only accessible to those with privilege and which bear no relevance whatsoever to a job washing dishes.

The poster contended that they were only trying to help by telling "people who are looking for jobs that you need to actually put in some effort." Perhaps they could make an effort towards not being such an entitled, bigoted snob — and toward washing their own dang dishes. 


Better yet, they could change careers and go get a job with the Grammar Police. Their staff would certainly be better off.

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.