The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Forget the pocket change

Sara Boyd

Hi, how are you doing tonight? My name is Sara and I will be your server. Before I tell you about our specials, I just want to make sure you are aware of a few things.

1. I do not cook the food, I only serve it. If there is a problem with your food, it is not my fault, but I will bring it back to the kitchen and make sure it is made to your liking.

2. On a Friday or Saturday, the restaurant is very busy. I will try my best to be as attentive as possible, but please don’t expect me to give you my full, undivided attention. I will get whatever you need as soon as I possibly can.

3. If you do not like something, let me know. I can bring you something different right away. Don’t wait until you’ve eaten the entire meal and then tell me it was so horrible you refuse to pay for it. It just doesn’t work like that.

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Now, in a perfect world, I would be able to say these things every single time I have a table to ensure customers know what my job is and what they are tipping me based on.

It’s so frustrating to have a table, work your butt off trying to make sure they are happy with everything and then collect the measly pocket change they leave as a tip.

The fact of the matter is it’s 2006, not 1950, and a nice, new shiny quarter just doesn’t pass as a “good tip” anymore. I truly believe, unless I dump an entire plate of spaghetti on your lap, I deserve at least 15 percent as a tip.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the employer of a tipped employee is only required to pay $2.13 an hour for their services, “as long as the amount combined with the tips received at least equals the federal minimum wage.”

No offense to the workers at McDonald’s or Burger King, but waitressing is a hell of a lot harder than flipping burgers, and I refuse to work my ass off to be paid the
minimum wage.

Because we are only paid a little over $2, it really comes down to a complete dependence on what you leave us for a tip. The restaurant I work at is a little more expensive than some other places. Just because the final bill may be expensive, however, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be paid for the work I did in serving you that meal.
If you are trying to figure out the tip for a server, you have to calculate it according to the bill.

Five bucks might be a good tip for a $25 meal, but it’s not a good tip for a $65 meal. All of the prices are printed in the menus, so there should be no surprise at the end of the meal, and you should know before you order whether or not you can afford to order the veal and still tip your server fairly.

If you are dining out with a large party, you need to understand that your table is a lot more work for us – especially when you ask for separate checks. But we’ll be more than happy to do it, and we’ll run around like crazy to make sure everyone in your party has everything they need and is happy.

And when we take a bigger table, we might not have as many smaller tables, so we really depend on being tipped fairly – and hopefully generously.

Anyone who says waitressing is not hard work has obviously never waitressed. It’s incredibly hard not only on our legs and backs but on our minds and morale. Having to deal with people who are complete jerks who say things like, “This meal is not hot enough. Are you stupid? Do you think I like eating cold food?” can be incredibly hard on your self-esteem. But we still manage to hold in any tears of frustration and continue to smile
and apologize.

Of course, there are those servers who, for some reason or another, are rude, impatient and unorganized. We’ve all had them at least once before. They don’t smile, screw up your order, roll their eyes at you when you ask for extra ketchup and never refill your drink. These servers are an exception.
If your server is friendly, doesn’t screw anything up, is attentive and does a good job, there’s no reason to give them less than 15 percent. It’s completely inconsiderate and selfish.

If you talk to any server, you will soon find out that they are a poor college student trying to make rent and pay for the rising cost of tuition, a single mother trying to support her family or a high school student trying to earn enough money to go to the college of their choice.

Basically, people become servers because they need the money the most. It’s hard work and it should pay off.

So, now that you understand what necessitates a good tip and how much servers are dependent on these tips, may I take your order?

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Forget the pocket change