The NYT readers did. One reader wrote:
I'm surprised that racism is not mentioned.... I have not seen many bathroom attendants, but I never saw a white man in the position and always felt that my tip was like a vote cast in favor of a miserable and humiliating caste system.Ha. This is a reason not to tip?!
In September I took my 14-year-old daughter to Manhattan and to our very special lunch in the City. More than the food or excitement of Balthazar's lively atmosphere, or the fantasy that she was in a Parisienne cafe, is her memory of the bathroom, and the bathroom attendant. She was astonished at the idea of a bathroom attendant even after I, her 70s disco clubbing worldly mom explained, even after our teachable moment about racism, economics, education, sexism, fine dining, NYC, etc. She thought it had to be the worst job ever -- cooped up in that tiny smelly space hoping someone would give you a dollar for a paper towel; how would a poor old lady have money to spend for a stranger's perfume? It looked like slavery to her, too. I have to agree; although I see the need for reliable sanitation throughout the workday it really is archaic and peculiar.(I added the link to that last word.)