Friday, March 31, 2006

Tip the Deserving

I'm lucky enough to have never worked in the food service industry, and I'm really glad about that. It looks like a tough job being a waiter, and I'm sure it's tough being a busboy or someone else working in the back too.

We people are pains when it comes to our food. We want our food delivered perfectly or it's got to be done all over again. Other professions don't have to worry about that. An OB/GYN doesn't have to hear, "Excuse me, there's a hair on my baby." "Oh, I'm terribly sorry about that, let me get you another one...and it's on the house." And he gets paid enough he doesn't have to care if the customer likes him enough to leave him a couple of bucks.

Waiters have it rough. Theoretically, they can make a lot on tips. They certainly don't get much in wages alone. But the problem with "working for tips" is that it makes you a codependent person. Chances are, if you're a waiter, you won't be yourself while interacting with people. Subconsciously, you're trying to get something out of them. It's a game of seduction. You have to make them like you.

And of course, whatever goes wrong is the waiter's fault, in the eyes of the customer. The waiter is the only employee the customer comes in contact with, and judges him for the entire experience.

You should definately tip often, if you can. The more you can afford, the more you should tip. Don't just stick with a standard percentage as the default. Customers need to "feel" the quality of their waiter and tip accordingly. When things go wrong, don't automatically blame the waiter, instead take note of how he/she handles the situation. You'll know when someone's deserving and when someone's not.

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