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If you drive down 82nd Street near the radio station, you'll notice that nearly every eatery has a "Join Our Team" message somewhere on the building. I'm sure that's the case for several other areas of Lubbock as well. It's currently near impossible to fill those positions because many of the folks who would have worked there are still on unemployment or transitioned into another line of work that was less risky to their health and likely paid better.

I'm not going to shed a tear for the corporate chain fast food restaurants. They'll make it through, and they could also, you know, pay a competitive wage to entice applicants. Supply and demand works both ways.

I am concerned for local restaurants, though. Not the ones spouting off that people are lazy and don't want to work. That attitude alone tells me that you're probably deeply unpleasant to work for and don't deserve the employees you have. But there are plenty of local establishments that are empathetic to their staff and pay fairly. These places are having to make major -- and sometimes painful -- adjustments.

A Lubbock eatery I really love but won't name (because I'm not sure they'd want me to) has cut down their days open from six to five. They've also decided to keep their kitchen closed from 3-5 p.m. to accommodate staff shortages. This particular place is chef-owned and operated, so it's in the trenches with its staff. They are tired.

By all means, go enjoy your favorite restaurant. But remember, the staff is very likely overworked or brand new. It might be their first job ever, or they may have worked 90 hours last week. Please exercise patience and generosity.

Servers generally only make $2.13 an hour and rely heavily on tips. If you're one of those people who doesn't believe in tipping, or tips $5 on a $200 tab, please just take a break from going out. Your server is literally paying for you to eat as they tip out other staff based on sales, not tips earned. Also, if you're one of these people, we are not friends. I can only relate to people who have either developed real human empathy or at least have the sense and manners to fake it.

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