Thursday, July 14, 2011

Summer is Here and Learn How to Tip Your Server!

Does anyone remember Spring? That beautiful season that starts out sometime during the last days of Winter. Just about the time you say to yourself that you cannot take one more snowflake...That time of year when you walk outside and the air smells different. There is a hint of warmth of the breezes that heralds that season when the flowers will begin to emerge from the hard, cold ground. I cannot for the life of me think of those days. This year it seemed that we went straight from Winter to Summer. And I don't mean just that the snow melted and then it was warm...No, I mean the snow melted because it was already 80 degrees! The past two days, here in Hickory, NC, it was oppressive. With the heat index it was already over 100 degrees! Hickory sits at the base of the Blue Ridge mountains. Not exactly a very tropical area. But, as I drive around from day to day I see a couple of brave souls that have decided to try and grow bananas here and guess what? They actually have small bananas on their trees! I don't think that this is the normal weather changes that happen throughout the years. So...Thank you Global Warming!

Alas, I had to start my week of working. Today was especially hard...What is wrong with some folk that go out to eat at a restaurant and decide that a couple of bucks for a $50.00 tab is sufficient? I keep getting compliments on my service at that same table. The rule of thumb used to be 15% of the tab. Because of inflation, the rule of thumb is now 18%. When you rent a hall, say for a wedding, etc. they tack on 18% gratuity! I think there is a misconception by the general public that servers make minimum wage PLUS tips. Well, let me tell you that the industry standard for starting pay is $2.13/hour PLUS tips. (And, before you go and ask me why I do what I do...I do it because it allows me the luxury of taking time off for craft shows whenever I need.) For those of you that have ever bellied up to the bar and ordered a drink...the bartender says, "that'll be 3.50". More often than not you'd hand him a five and tell him to keep the change. (I know this to be fact, I've bar tended also.) Now, as a server, I bring you drinks, make sure your meal is hot and prepared correctly. You send me back and forth for mustard, mayo and every other imaginable condiment you can think of. I refill your glass or coffee until I'm waterlogged myself! I make sure you don't sit with a table full of dirty plates, etc. I make idle chit chat and smile even though my feet are killing me and my back is on fire from carrying all your food. If there is an error I apologize profusely and go back and make it right. I'll get the manager, so that you can get your meal free if the mix up is severe enough. I'll admit when I make a mistake. I bring you your check and you tell me that I was great and you will take care of me. And then you leave me a couple of bucks on the table as if this was a terrific tip! Or, my favorite, you empty your pockets of change and leave all that on the table for me. For all of those reading this, if you tip hats off to you! For all of those reading this, if you don't tip fairly...WAKE UP! I have bills to pay also. If you cannot afford a tip, then go somewhere else. Don't go somewhere where you have to tip your server. Don't insult our intelligence with a lousy tip. We are there to provide you with a good experience when you dine out. We are not your slaves. Do not snap your fingers at us. If we are smart enough to say our names, kindly try and remember it. Or, if our name is on our apron, have the common decency to look and speak our name. I do the same, if you tell me your name. We have a lot of "regulars" where I work and if I cannot remember the name of the customer I am about to wait on I ask one of the old timers. This way I can greet "Jim" or "Sam", etc. You don't call your barber, Sir or Ma'am. I bet you know your mechanic's name, and the list goes on and on. So, next time that you go out to a restaurant where there is a server, remember that we are human, just like you and deserve your respect and that we also have bills to pay.