We all know that everyone likes to go out and have a nice meal and maybe a few drinks on the weekend. I know this because I see you. I see you when you get flustered with the host because “What do you mean there’s an hour wait on a Friday night in a busy college town?” I see you when you decide to wait at the bar and when you don’t want to close out with the bartender (much less bother to tip her) because “Well she can just transfer it to our table, right?” I also saw you shake your half-full glass at me while I was talking to another table then tip 10% because “Well, I know she has five other tables, but she should’ve brought my water faster.”
I’m sure some of you read this and feel like the customer is being reasonable because you also behave this way, but let me just say, it’s not cool. Although the restaurant where I work has a wonderful staff and an understanding owner, sometimes the waiters and bartenders still get slighted when it comes to tips. I’m not saying you should leave every server some amazing tip if the service was less than satisfactory, but what many people don’t understand is that tip money is what we live on.
We’re making $2.13 an hour plus tips. Full disclosure – If we don’t get tipped enough to get us to the minimum wage ($7.25), we get bumped up to that mark. The issue with minimum wage in restaurants is that most of our shifts are six hours or less, so if you do the math, that means we make about $43 before taxes. Considering that the majority of us do not work every day, $7.25 for three or four six-hour shifts is not going to cut it for someone who has bills to pay.
Furthermore, being nice to your server is not going to hurt you in any way, so maybe consider it. It is so disheartening when many of us put everything into providing great service and trying to make the customers happy. Then you don’t even let us tell you our names before cutting us off with “Diet Coke and a sweet tea with lemon. Two straws.” I realize that my job is to serve you and to make you happy, but that does not mean you have to be condescending toward me or wonder (sometimes aloud) why I don’t have a “real job.”
It is rare that whatever you are complaining about can’t be fixed almost instantly, and the majority of the time if something is wrong with your food, it isn’t the server’s fault. When you dock the tip, the server is the only person you’re punishing. So when you go out to eat, try to take into consideration that although your server is indeed there to serve you, they are also a real person with feelings. Also, please consider that the majority of the restaurant’s staff are there to pay their bills, not for fun. So before you leave a $2 tip on a $40 ticket that you paid for with Daddy’s AmEx Platinum, consider your server.
And, by the way, my name isn’t “Waitress.” It’s Bronwyn.