She winced at what felt like millions of needles stabbing into her body. She had never felt anything this painful before.
By now, the news had already spread up to the upper echelon. Staff from all over crowded around the door, looking inside. Some were there out of curiosity while others were genuinely worried about her. But she only realized how bad it was when one person called for an ambulance.
When Maddie thought of her dream job, she certainly didn’t think of bartending at a casino. The hours were extreme and she had to deal with annoying drunk people every single day of her life. So, why was she staying at this job?
Well, she stayed because of the enormous tips! Every cent she earned went straight to the small cafe and bakery she dreamed of opening. At first, her work was manageable, that is, until one fateful meeting.
Maddie and her friends had to resist the urge to roll their eyes as the manager stood before the bartending staff. He was proudly and snobbishly adjusting his brand-new suit as he spoke to them. It was clear that he thought he looked like one of the bigwigs that owned the casino, but everyone else knew better.
"We're changing the dress code," he informed them. What he revealed next blindsided them all.
Men were told to stay behind the counters, and the girls were now expected to wear skimpy, black dresses and high heels while they walked around the gambling floors. But what was the real kicker?
They had to wear these dresses for their entire 12-hour shifts. They all started complaining, but the manager’s reaction only made things worse. Maddie was just about ready to jump up and scream at him.
Suck It Up
The manager simply told them all to “Suck it up.” He wasn’t going to change his mind. He then added a not-so-veiled threat that they could quit if they didn't like it. He always made it clear that girls like them were dispensable.
Maddie’s blood began to boil, but it completely spilled over when he showed them the new “uniform”. Surely he couldn’t be serious, right?
She Couldn’t Breathe
When Maddie tried the dress on, she could barely breathe. It was extremely tight, squeezing the air from her lungs. Of course, this was intentional. The heels were also way too high, and after 10 minutes of standing in them, she could feel the burning pain in her calves.
She wanted nothing more than to rip it all off and go home. She wanted to scream at her sexist bosses and never return. But that would cause trouble for the other girls. She calmed herself and kept scheming until she came up with the perfect idea.
To make up for what was going on, the girls planned sneaky rotation schedules to allow themselves to take extra breaks. In these few minutes, they would take their shoes off and unzip their tight dresses. But Maddie didn’t do this. She simply stood tall and walked the floor precisely as she was supposed to.
Before long, her body was in excruciating pain. But this was all part of her plan.
She Kept Going
After a while, her knees were burning and her hips were filled with pins and needles, but she carried on until her feet were pure, wet fire. "Please stop!" the other girls begged, seeing how much pain she was in.
But Maddie wouldn’t let herself quit. Through gritted teeth, she continued serving drinks. It was all her horrible manager demanded of her, so she was going to give him exactly what he asked for. By 9 PM, all eyes were on her, but what was she doing?
At the end of her horrible shift, she hobbled into the changing room. She could feel every single nerve in her body scream in agony.
Right there, Ms. Markems, who was the upper management, stood in the middle of the room, beyond confused. A staff member had called her in. Everyone in the room gasped when Maddie unzipped the back of her dress.
Her skin was littered with deep, red indentations where the seams and other parts of the tight dress had pressed into her. She knew that she would be covered in bruises soon.
When she finally took a full breath for the first time in 12 hours, her head began to swim and swirl. But when her heels came off, Ms. Markems' eyes went wide, and she clutched her stomach.
Blood oozed from worn, open wounds on her heels and around her toes. The entire inside of her shoes was coated in slimy red. Suddenly, Maddy's world turned blurry, and her body finally gave out.
By the time she woke up again, the agony was still there like the fires of some actual hell, but she could also hear furious yelling.
As Maddy's distraught friend cradled her in her arms, Ms. Markems stood nose-to-nose with their immediate manager, who had insisted on the dress code changes.
As paramedics rushed in and got her on a gurney, she could hear the blissfully sweet words "PR disaster, lawsuit, misogynistic, ridiculous, and crazy." The rest of her crusade unfolded in the hospital.
Between the entire female wait staff and their video phones, they had captured everything. Maddy watched the compilation with satisfaction and awe.
Even she was stunned that she had made it through the shift. Her raw rage and utter determination had triggered some vital changes. But there was one, in particular, that was very gratifying.
The skimpy dresses would stay, but they would be loose and flowing. The dreary high-heeled shoes were changed back to flats. Men and women bartenders would rotate between the floor and the bar as before the change.
The vile manager was also put under review before being transferred to an insignificant department. But would Maddie stay?
Upper management had cut her a generous check for her pain and suffering. It wasn't enough to hand in her resignation the next day, but she was so much closer to her dream.
In a couple of years, she would smell Oolong and scones instead of cocktails and addiction. Then, she would never step foot in a casino again.