Here’s a story from Amanda. She’s new to the service industry. Having only been a waitress for all of two weeks, she finally gets a taste of what happens, unfortunately, in the real world. There’s a pretty darn good twist at the end of this one. I know it’s long (I had the task of cleaning up the poorly formatted entry to something that was readable.) but it’s a good one.
I found this site when I was looking for shoes for my new waitress job. This is only my second job in my life. In high school I worked at a grocery store. In my first two years of college I didn’t have to have a job. I’m still in college. My dad lost his job so money is tight. He feels bad about not being able to give me a monthly allowance (as long as I have over a 3.5 GPA which I do) but I understand that times can be tough and I want to do what I can to help out. My roommate is a bartender at a restaurant about 10 minutes from out apartment. She helped me get a job waiting tables there. I happily took her up on her offer and she came through. I got the job!
I’m now two weeks into waiting tables. I have learned A LOT. What I would like to vent about is how disappointed I am in people. Why are people so mean? I try really hard to make sure everyone is taken care of. In exchange for my excellent service, I hope for a good tip. At the least, I just wish people would try to be nice and civilized. My fellow college students can be total assholes. Old people are so damn grumpy. And black people…..well….here’s what happened.
I just had the worst table ever!! 10 minutes left until close and a party of 12 calls up and asks if we can take them. They say they wont be there for 20 minutes but can we please take them. They boo hoo to the hostess about how no place is open, they’re regulars, and they promise to buy “a lot of stuff”. This is all verbatim from the conversation I heard my manager having with the hostess.
No one wants to take the table so the manager is about to draw straws. Since I get the small section, I decided to jump in save everyone the trouble. I took the table. I didn’t make much money last night, so I figured if there were 12 people, and I could add gratuity, I would make enough money to buy this new software I need for one of my classes.
As soon as I said I would take the table, my fellow servers were laughing and telling me I just made a “newbie” mistake. I didn’t understand why. They told me only black people come in this late at night. I didn’t understand why that was such a big deal. I mean, yeah, I’ve heard that black people don’t tip, but that shouldn’t have mattered because I was adding gratuity. Well, son enough, I found out what my coworkers were talking about.
At about 10:20, a limo pulls up. All the people from the party get out. They come in and are already really, really loud. They’re also holding a big birthday cake. I could already figure out that I was going to be at the restaurant really, really late. My manager shows them to their table and instructs them on what we can make for them (limited menu since half the kitchen is shut down) and instructs them to make a decision on food quickly. Immediately they start bitching about how the food they want isn’t an option and that no one told them we were going to provide a limited menu. My manager told them that he thought they would be there 10 minutes ago and that he had to let some people clean up and go home. The orders for food get placed. now It’s time for me to get them something to drink.
In the most degrading and mean tones I’ve ever heard, they all start bossing me around. “Go get us some waters and we gonna figure it out.” “Y’all giving us a discount?” “How come y’all don’t have ___insert anything that’s not on the drink menu__” The only people left in the restaurant that work there are the manager, one cook, the bartender, the dishwasher and I. They can see this and are still complaining about how long everything is taking. What’s amazing to me is how we did them a favor by staying open past normal hours yet they’re talking to me like shit and complaining about everything.
After the food and drinks are rung up, the total is only at about $130.00. The food is delivered, and it is now 12AM. The total gratuity is only at $19.00 and change (15%). At this point, the only orders going on are for water refills and there’s still a huge cake I have to present. The mess that’s on and around the table is already at an absurd level. I can see myself being stuck there until 2AM or later. My phone was dead or I would have taken pictures. It was terrible.
At approximately 1:00 AM I get the cake out. At approximately 1:30 AM, the cake is all over the floor and I excuse myself to go cry. At approximately 2:00AM, I make the decision to not include the gratuity. I figured these people would have the decency to tip me something better than the automatic gratuity that is only 15%. I will never make this mistake again. I give the bill to the head of the table. She looks at it for a good 5 minutes, then puts her credit card in it. Instead of handing me the book, she tosses it to me. It’s at this point I start regretting my decision to not include gratuity. I return the book, tell the people thank you, then start to pick up the remaining plates. While I’m walking away with the plates, I hear her talking with someone else at the table, then saying, “I ain’t tippin’ no white girl.” My chest hurt at that point. As a human being, a person, an equal, I was defeated. My soul was crushed. I cried some more.
Once they finally left, I picked up the book to take a look. The lady tipped me $5.00 and even had the nerve to check off all the “poor” check boxes on the comment card. There was no extra cash on the table. I just got tipped $5.00 for almost 5 hours of work in a restaurant that had been closed for hours. Luckily, my manager comped a couple entrees off the bill so I could at least have a little bit of money. He also gave me a $30.00 gift certificate to the restaurant along with a big apology.
Oh, did I mention that my dad is black? (I look white)