Saturday, June 28, 2008

Time to Move On??

It is with reservation that I post this RANT because the last time I went off in a huff, it caused some ruckus; however, this is my blog and I'll cry if I want to...

I know that times are getting tighter here in the USA, so I understand why I am not making as much money at work as I have previously. People are not going out to eat as often because there are more important things on which to spend their money. I get that. What I DON'T get it why, when people do go out to eat, they think that it is acceptable to leave shitty tips.

I used to love waiting tables. It is easy work, I get paid cash daily, the environment is fun and laid back, there isn't baggage to bring home, I get to talk to a lot of people if I want to-I don't have to talk to a lot of people if I don't want to. Even though some people may look down on serving as a lowly career, it can be a lot of work to coordinate all the tables in a timely manner; a job that I am very good at doing. I would also say that I'm quite personable, so waitressing has been a nice job for me thus far.

Now, on for the rant...
I have been getting really crappy tips lately. I would say on average, my tips used to be an average of about 20% of my sales, sometimes 18%, sometimes 22%. From that income, I have to tip out to my helpers-hostess, busser, bartender (even if I don't have any liquor sales) etc. about 2% of my sales (no matter what the actual income is from tips, I pay out 2% of the sales). Tips in the last couple of months have gone down SIGNIFICANTLY, and I really don't think that my service has been lacking.

I just think that people are holding a tighter reign on their money. The problem with this is that since fewer people are coming into the restaurants AND the ones that do come in are leaving less money, I get hit with a double whammy that is really hurting my family.

For instance, yesterday, I had a table with three women. Those three women sat at my table for over 3 hours during the lunch rush. The bill was about $9.00 for one of them; $10.00 for another; and exactly $15.54 for the other one. How do I remember exactly? Because the third woman left me a total of $17.00 (the other two's tip equaled about $4 combined). The third woman left me $1.46 for THREE HOURS of service, less than ten percent. Of that tip, $0.16 went to the hostess. How in the world could that be acceptable? If they would have sat for a reasonable hour, I would've been less upset, but THREE HOURS DURING THE RUSH? They were sitting at an 8-top table, so it could've been $20 or more that I miss out on--in order to get her $1.30.

I had someone today completely stiff me, so that it actually COST me money to wait on him because I had to tip out even though I had no tip. This gentlemen was angry at me, though, so I guess it is justified.... Oh wait, he was angry at me because he didn't read the menu, so maybe it isn't justified. Let me tell you my side of the story...

The couple was sitting at the table, with their menus pushed to the side when I got to the table (maybe a minute after they sat down-I saw them sit, and I went straight to the kitchen and got them water). Thinking they must be "regulars" and already know what they want, I asked them what I could get them. They both wanted eggs benedict with no english muffin. Alright! I put in there order, and someone else took them their food. I passed by them a couple of times while they were eating, and they seemed content. When I stopped to see if they needed anything, the man asked me, "Isn't there something else I can get instead of the breakfast potatoes?" I told him that there was, but that there was an upcharge. I listed some things; he asked the price; I told him I didn't know exactly (the prices are already in the computer, so I don't know exact, but I gave an estimate), but then I pointed out that he already has the potatoes. Now, I don't think I said this in a rude manner, but he did already have the potatoes, so it wouldn't really be instead of the potatoes anyway, would it? The man then proceeded to YELL at me because I should've read his mind when he ordered. This is what he said, "Well, since I ordered no bread, you should've obviously have assumed that I am on a diet, so you shouldn't have brought me the potatoes!" (Oh, really, I wrongly assumed that since you didn't want the english muffin with your eggs benedict, you just didn't want an english muffin with your eggs benedict...) I apologized and offered to bring him something, and he said no. The wife (who is obviously also on the diet) then asked me to bring her more HALF and HALF for her coffee. (what diet lets you have HOLLANDAISE SAUCE?)

This would've been easily solved if the man would've read the menu, where it states that the breakfast comes with the potatoes and that if he wants something else, he could get it if he pays more. OR if when the server brought him his food, he said, "Oh, I don't want those potatoes, is there something else that I can get for them?" The server would have changed them out, and I could've just charged him the difference. OR one of the times I walked by before he had devoured all of his food, he could have asked me and I would have probably still swapped his potatoes for something else. OR if I would have just read his mind to begin with. Of course, if I were the mind-reader type, I probably would have noticed that he wasn't going to tip me, and I wouldn't have brought him any food to begin with...

Anyway, this has turned into a longer post than expected. I guess he made me a little angry. So, as I was saying, the tips are getting slim for me and for all of my little server friends. I don't blame people for watching their money more closely, but if they can't afford the tip, then they shouldn't go out to eat. I can't afford to keep paying my hostess and bartender when I'm not getting paid.

Thanks for listening. I feel better.

Oh, and if, the next time you go out to eat, you can afford to leave your server an extra dollar, do it. You would be surprised how much difference that dollar makes.