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A Yelp employee has been fired by the company after writing an open letter to CEO Jeremy Stoppelman, in which she described the painful irony of not being able to afford groceries on her salary within a multi-million dollar food company.
“I haven’t bought groceries since I started this job,” Jane writes. “Not because I’m lazy, but because I got this ten pound bag of rice before I moved here and my meals at home (including the one I’m having as I write this) consist, by and large, of that. Because I can’t afford to buy groceries. Bread is a luxury to me, even though you’ve got a whole fridge full of it on the 8th floor. But we’re not allowed to take any of that home because it’s for at-work eating. Of which I do a lot. Because 80 percent of my income goes to paying my rent. Isn’t that ironic? Your employee for your food delivery app that you spent $300 million to buy can’t afford to buy food. That’s gotta be a little ironic, right?”
In a vulnerable plea for assistance, the entry level employee tells Stoppelman that she, who makes $733.24 for two weeks, after taxes, is not alone in her struggles and that in fact, “every single one of my coworkers is struggling… Another wrote on those neat whiteboards we’ve got on every floor begging for help because he was bound to be homeless in two weeks. Fortunately, someone helped him out. At least, I think they did. I actually haven’t seen him in the past few months.”
To get by, Jane writes, she pays for rent ($1245 a month in San Francisco) and little else. “Have you ever drank a liter of water before going to bed so you could fall asleep without waking up a few hours later with stomach pains because the last time you ate was at work? I woke up today with stomach pains. I made myself a bowl of rice.”
In closing, Jane asks Stoppelman, “Did you know that the average American earns enough money that the time they would spend picking up a penny costs more than the penny’s worth? I pick up every penny I see, which I think explains why sharing these thoughts is worth my time, even if it’s not worth yours.”
Not long after Jane published her letter, she was fired by Yelp’s HR department, who cited a violation of the company’s terms of conduct.
On Twitter, Stoppelman denied having anything to do with Jane’s termination and used the chance to criticize the cost of living in the city where his company is headquartered. “The reality of such a high Bay Area cost of living is entry-level jobs migrate to where costs of living are lower,” Stoppelman wrote. “Have already announced we are growing EAT24 support in [Arizona] for this reason.”