Have you ever complied with a rule just to prove how dumb and nonsensical that rule is? I feel like I do that all the time. It seems like it's something that could really backfire, but in this case, for this woman who was working in a casino bar, it worked out.
Probably because she let herself get injured and showed her bosses how their new dress code resulted in bloody, gross feet! Sometimes, you have to suffer for justice. This woman told her story on the Malicious Compliance subreddit, and it's a good one.
Inconvenientsilence was 19 years old and working as a bartender for a casino chain in the UK. Her shifts would usually be an unconscionable 12 hours long, and as a woman, she was expected to be on her feet for much of the time, roaming the casino floor taking orders and delivering drinks.
"The women were not allowed to stand still so even on a quiet day we still had to walk in circles." At first, this was a strange rule and really annoying, but it was still OK because they were wearing uniforms of black shirts, black pants, and flat shoes. Plus, the pay was good.
Then out of the blue one day, the company decided to change the uniforms... for women only. The women were, all of a sudden, forced to wear extremely tight gray dresses and high heels. "It was clearly to look more appealing and get more tips," she wrote. They were understandably very upset about this shift in the rules and they tried to explain that this new uniform would be extremely uncomfortable and painful, especially because they had to be on their feet all night.
But, she wrote, "management did not care and told us to suck it up." Real nice. So the women decided to protest this change in dress code and not wear the new uniform in protest. However, our storyteller had an idea. "I suggested that my coworkers do what they have planned and I will wear the new uniform because we needed to prove our point. After a long discussion and hesitation, they agreed and let me do it."
So, the next shift, she wore the dress, which was so tight she couldn't turn around or bend over, paired with heels to match. "Management were really happy to see that I complied, even saying to my coworkers how they should learn from me," she wrote. She spent the whole night in total discomfort, running around in this dress and stopping for breaks because the heels were so painful. My own feet hurt just thinking about it.
After the shift, management gathered everyone around to see how it went. "I smiled and said it was great with one small problem," our high-heeled martyr wrote. "I removed my shoes for the first time in 12 hours and stood in front of my managers mildly shaking. Their faces went from all smiles to shock when they looked at my feet to see my blood running on the floor from the open wounds on my heels, the injuries covered the entirety of my heels with dried blood on the back of my shoes."
It seems management, which I assume was full of clueless men, didn't realize that heels are often extremely uncomfortable for women to wear. They thought 12 hours with your foot in an upright position was no big deal, and it wasn't until they saw a shoe full of blood and a foot covered with open wounds that they understood.
Of course, management was all like, "Why didn't you switch to flats?!" And she very calmly reminded them that they created the dress code and she was just complying. As they rushed to get her a first aid kit, she sat down and also managed to explain how hard it was to breathe in that dress she was forced into as well.
Luckily, this was enough for management to make some changes. They weren't as heartless as they seemed. All it took was for one of their employees to lose a bunch of blood to realize that their policies were wrong.
From that day forward, they still had to wear dresses, although they were made looser, and they "never had to wear high heels on a shift again." I can't even imagine having to be on my feet for 12 hours nonstop, not to mention in heels. I'm glad that management eventually came to their senses, but it definitely should not have taken what it did. This story is entrenched in sexism and discrimination and it sucks that women sometimes have to put themselves in harm's way to make a point! Let's make sure that doesn't happen again!