Dear Rude Customer,
If you received this photo shown above, how would it make you feel? If you have children, bills, and whatever else your paycheck depends upon, how would you truly feel?
Heartbroken? Failure? What am I going to do about these upcoming bills that must be paid on time? Yeah well, now you see how I feel. Seeing this made me feel like a complete failure, though it was not even my fault that the kitchen was backed up on orders and it took a while longer for your food to come out, I brought it out as soon as I could. What else do you want me to do about it? I cannot go into the kitchen and cook it myself. Also, just to let you know, the majority of my paycheck comes from tips. So those bills I have to pay, those children I am raising by myself, and the groceries I get to feed my family mainly come from the money that customers willingly decide to give me. Not much of my paycheck can cover everything my family and I need to survive on. The $2.13 I receive by the restaurant per hour does not go very far when paying for everything needed of me.
If you do not believe me when I say most of my salary comes from tips, here is evidence to prove it. According to the National Employment Law Project, the estimated median percentage of total earnings that comes from tips is 58.5% for waiting staff (Tung). That is over half of their salary, of my salary. Being a waitress myself at a local restaurant, I can say these tips add up, and is mainly how I am able to afford my children’s needs being that it is my only income. When receiving little to no tip money is devastating, because the first thing I think about is what about my children. How am I going to support them if this continues? How will I pay the bills on time to keep our electricity on in our house? Think about being in this position, and then think about how no tips can affect a waiter/waitress next time you go out to eat. I can speak for all waiting staff, this does not feel good seeing this left on an empty table once the customers are gone. It’s hurtful in a nonverbal way, and it makes me worry and think to myself “how many more tables will do this, and put a burden on my income?”
Now you may say, well what if the service I was given was completely terrible, the food was cold after taking forever to get, and my waitress had an attitude the entire time? Well, first off consider what this particular waitress might be going through. If she is like me, it could be the day after my oldest child had a major project due for school and I stayed up all night helping him complete it, therefore getting no sleep. It could be that the power bill is due in a couple of days and I’m not sure how I will pay for it, and just worrying about that. It could also be that my mother’s health is declining and after work hours I have spent a lot of time with her and helping her recover from this illness. All of these environmental factors play a huge role in the mood of waiting staff, and that goes for a lot of professions. Ladies, when you go to the nail salon to get a manicure, you still tip the person who did your nails even if they did not say much to you like usual, or if they were in a bad sort of mood, don’t you? Sometimes it is nearly impossible to forget about these factors long enough for a shift at work. When you have so much responsibility, it can be extremely difficult, and some days are harder than others. Dr. Julie Schwartzbard, MD, wrote an article explaining different factors that impair focus. Lack of sleep, possibly from children. Hormonal changes in the female body, stress that is possibly caused by paying bills or getting the children to school and back. Lack of physical activity, maybe due to not having the time to workout. Even the environment, such as an extremely loud restaurant can almost put someone in a distracted mood all on it’s own. All of these factors can build upon each other and create a hard situation for concentration and perfect quality of work within a waitress’s life (Schwartzbard). So whether you have had the best service you’ve ever had in your life or the worst you’ve ever had, think about the server’s perspective and what they might be going through. Tipping is always a good idea, no matter what your experience might of been because you never know what someone else is going through.
Overall, the main point here is to think about the actual person’s life that is waiting upon your table at a restaurant. If they seem uneasy, you could simply ask them how they are doing instead of complaining about your food taking forever to arrive. If they seem like they might be struggling, tell them that it is okay and that you understand it’s a busy night and there is a lot going on. We are all humans here and nobody is perfect, so why not help each other out instead of putting each other down and making someone’s day worse. By helping them out, you could leave a decent tip before you leave, which could help that waiter or waitress in more ways than you can imagine.You never know what someone else is going through, so have mercy and tip your waiting staff.
“Factors That Affect Focus and Concentration - Better Mind.” Bettermind, www.bettermind.com/articles/factors-that-affect-focus-and-concentration/.
“Wait Staff and Bartenders Depend on Tips for More Than Half of Their Earnings.” National Employment Law Project, www.nelp.org/publication/wait-staff-and-bartenders-depend-on-tips-for-mo....