Waiting tables is one of those “typical college student” jobs that I just so
happen to have. As a server, I get to meet many people and make good money, but
I think it’s about time someone on the inside address the public and remind them
that we are servers, not servants.
I make $2.13 an hour. No, you didn’t read that wrong. Think about that for a
second. Could you live off of $2.13 an hour? I highly doubt you could and
furthermore, I can’t. Generally speaking, servers rely on the gratitude of their
guests to live. Without your tips, I make $2.13 an hour.
Now I’ve been in the business for some time. I got my first job during my
senior year in high school, and I’ve remained in the industry ever since. Basically, I
know what I’m doing. Everybody has a bad day and of course, even I mess up on
the occasion, but I consider myself to be a great server, and I have the praise from
the president of my restaurant group to support that. Despite how attentive I may
be, some people just don’t tip! The problem seems to come primarily from the 25
and under crowd, so this message is targeted at you.
My mama always told me, if you don’t have the money to tip, don’t go out to
eat. When I was younger, around 10, I didn’t really see the importance in tipping. I
figured, the server probably had so many other tipping tables that my not living a
tip wouldn’t really affect them. I abandoned that childish mentally a long time ago,
but some of us are still clearly carrying it.
It’s almost never okay to not leave a tip. Only extreme situations call for no
gratuity and your server forgetting to bring a refill or accidentally ringing in your
food wrong, is certainly not extreme, especially when they apologize and rectify the
situation. Some people feel that if any little thing happens, then no tip for the
server. Others come in already knowing they won’t leave anything for their waiter
which is not okay.
Imagine if you were off your game one day at work and your boss was able to
lower your pay rate only because you made one mistake. Wouldn’t you feel
slighted? My guests pay my bills, and I like so many other servers go above and
beyond to ensure great service. Every time a table doesn’t leave a tip, it affects me.
It’s not a good feeling knowing that I did my job, and still I received no monetary
So in this holiday season, I urge you to think about your server every time
you dine at a restaurant. If they gave you great service, leave them a great tip. This
is a cultural problem that has long since been addressed. Do not ask your server to
bring you every condiment in the restaurant, and after you do, you say thanks, and
leave. It’s a slap in the face and I feel, morally wrong.
So again, if you don’t have the money to tip, that’s okay. Pick a different
dining option. If you do however choose a restaurant with service, reasonably
consider the quality of that service and leave a tip accordingly. I understood when I
applied that my income relied on the gratitude of my guests, but I encourage you to
remember that I am your server, not your servant.