Twitter Reacted Strongly To What Panda Express Is Paying General Managers

In a world in which the COVID-19 pandemic continues to decimate the labor supply — particularly that of service industries — it's hardly shocking to drive up to a Starbucks in the middle of the workday only to find it temporarily closed, presumably due to staffing snafus. Nor should anyone be surprised to see long lines at drive-thrus (when they are, indeed, open for business, per abc57).

So when a restaurant chain does something meaningful to attract new staffers, such as offering to pay its general managers more than the national average for the position, not to mention putting said general managers on its payroll as W-2 employees (i.e., eligible for vacation and other benefits), it's got to be pretty good news, right? Apparently not, at least according to Twitter. When one user pointed out how Panda Express did just that, his replies quickly filled up with the Twit-quivalent of the "Bronx cheer" instead.

Apparently, the American-Chinese fast service eatery has been attracting general managers by offering $69,000 per year plus bonus, per Media Entertainment Arts WorldWide, an estimate that is significantly above the national average (which Salary puts at $56,712). In fact, the chain was offering above average wages even in the pre-pandemic days of 2019 with a $65,000 salary at the time — but that's beside the point. This time around, no sooner had the Twitter user delivered this news with a metaphorical side-eye, than the "Twitter-dragging protocol" commenced.

This math prof did not ... count on Twitter's wrath

"My salary as an associate professor of mathematics at Westminster College, three blocks away from this sign, is $61,500," tweeted associate Utah's Westminster College mathematics professor, Spencer Bagley, PhD, per Media Entertainment Arts WorldWide (MEAW). Bagley was referring to the accompanying photo of a sign posted by Panda Express seeking to hire General Managers at $69,000 per year in total compensation (inclusive of cafeteria plan benefits) plus bonus. Now, when we say that Twitter reacted strongly to Dr. Bagley's tweet, that's putting it mildly.

It began with a bit of bickering among Twitter users regarding the accuracy of the substantive point that Bagley appeared to be making, which was that, as a mathematics professor, he is making that less than a Panda Express general manager. In fact, a number of users seemed to view the less-than $10,000 salary discrepancy as inconsequential. Having dispensed with the non-issue, the comments then veered in another direction entirely. Thus began a thorough probing of why exactly the OP thought to compare his salary to that of a fast food restaurant general manager. 

Was he suggesting that he feels underpaid as a professor? Or was he suggesting that Panda Express overpays its general managers? Or was it something else entirely? As is the case with most Twitter beef, ad hominem once again ruled the day.

'I promise that this tweet is not elitist'

When a mathematics professor compared his salary to the advertised salary for general managers on a local Panda Express employment ad, Twitter clearly interpreted the OP's tweet as — and please note, we're only paraphrasing here — "isn't it ironic, me, a doctor of math, making less than a fast food employee?" 

As one Twitter user attempted to clarify on the prof's behalf, what he's saying is that "as a college professor in charge of teaching future generations, he makes less than a manager of a single fast-food place. Regardless of how stressful said job is, which do you think should have a higher priority?" Turns out, however, many do NOT take the view that teaching math to college students is a "higher priority" than running a fast food joint. "Which do you need daily? snarked one user. "Food or education?" 

"I promise that this tweet is not elitist," the OP protested, before adding, "Go hug a local educator"(via MEAW) " But it was too little too late for Twitter, whose reaction to the OP's original tweet was so cacophonous that the OP felt it necessary to take his feed private. But before he did, he answered the question that no one had asked, except perhaps himself: "Professors make way less than you think they do. That is all." For what it's worth, that apparently was not "all," as the prof's Twitter bio, which is still publicly available, reads: "All labor is skilled labor | All workers are underpaid | Twitter was a mistake lol."