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Archive for December, 2011|Monthly archive page

Suck it up or stay at home

In Life is Random on December 16, 2011 at 4:30 pm

The opinions on gratuity are plentiful and varied. Here is mine: 

If you do not have the funds to tip well, GO TO McDONALDS or STAY HOME.

If you have never worked as a server, YOUR OPINION on tipping DOESN’T COUNT.

There. If you are going to be offended by either of those sentiments, stop reading now and avoid an irritating waste of the next few minutes of your life.

From September 12, 2011 to November 26, 2011, I had the opportunity of working as a server for Logan’s Roadhouse in Flowood, Miss. I say opportunity because I am not the same person I was before that time…in a good way. I gained insight into myself, my strengths and weaknesses, and insight into mankind in general. I also made a whole bunch of beyond-awesome friends.

It should be mandatory that every person spend at least a couple of months waiting tables at a busy restaurant. You know how Israel requires all citizens to serve in the Israeli military? The U.S. should mandate a period of time spent as waitstaff.

Perspective. Perspective may just be the answer to life. I may earn a Nobel Peace Prize for this post. Alana Bowman has figured it out. The answer to all life’s problems is this: PERSPECTIVE.

Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in his shoes. That way, if he gets angry, he’ll be a mile away–and barefoot. — Sarah Jackson

Observations: before waiting tables, I thought standard gratuity was 20%. Now I realize most people believe standard gratuity is 5-10%. They are getting things confused. Let me clear it up. God gets 10%. Waitresses get 15-20% standard–more if they are full of awesome. God is omnicient and all-powerful. He thinks things into being. Your waitress works hard (and I mean HARD WORK) to make it all come together for you. Serving food is hard, fast and dirty, and the only “big O” at the end is the “Oh! my aching feet!”

 Here is  some PERSPECTIVE on dining out:

When you dine at a sit-down, order-at-the-table restaurant, another human being will be at your beck and call for the duration of your meal. This human being, your equivalent in value on this planet regardless of social standing or occupation, is required to provide your every request promptly and courteously.  The server will not have a voice nor an opinion.  The customer is always right. Any negative opinion voiced verbally or with body language will be at the risk of unemployment. Your server approaches your table from a position of vulnerability.  How many of you have the balls to be vulnerable to a stranger? Hell, half of us go through life never being vulnerable to a spouse, much less a stranger.

When you dine at a sit-down, order-at-the-table restaurant, you pay the restaurant for the food. You pay the server for bringing it to your table. The restaurant does not pay the server to take your order, give your order to the kitchen, bring the food to your table and refill your glass numerous times. The restaurant pockets what is left from buying the ingredients, paying the cook, paying the light bill and paying the manager and Uncle Sam. Yes, restaurants in Mississippi are required to pay $2.13 per hour to waitstaff. That is the federal minimum wage for tipped employees.

If you think that $2.13 per hour is being paid to serve, let me just throw this brick right up side yo’ head: that money goes straight to Uncle Sam. It’s not paying the server’s bills. Very few full time servers even get a paycheck after taxes. Keep in mind, as well, the server isn’t just there to wait tables. He is doing behind-the-scenes work to keep the process flowing in his “free” time. Who makes the tea, keeps the glasses at the station, bakes the rolls, fills the salad dressing and cleans up at the end of the day? The server. The $2.13 per hour is ALL he makes during those times.

If you do not want to pay the server to wait on you, I suggest you go tell the kitchen what you want, get up and bring it to your own table and get your own damn drink. When you are done, take your nasty dishes to the kitchen as well because the server is asked to give part of her tip to the buss person. If you think another human being should do those things for free, take a look at the calendar. It says 2011 not 1811. We may be in Mississippi, but we are not on a plantation. It doesn’t work that way anymore…never should have in the first place.

If you disagree with the way things are, change it by staying home and taking money from the restaurant owners. Do not try to change the status quo by asking a person to wait on you hand-and-foot for free. A server cannot refuse to wait on you just because she knows you will not tip, not if she wants to keep her job. A server cannot plead her case and encourage you to tip her well, not if she wants to keep her job. Even if he sucks at bringing your food to you, he is still bringing it. He shouldn’t have to do it for free. In the words of Ruth Brown, “If I can’t sell it, I’m going to sit down upon it. I ain’t about to give it away.” Trust me, if your server isn’t making any money, he’d much rather be “sittin’ on it” in front of the TV. It is a gamble. One must be gracious to the grinch as well as the generous and hope for the best when they walk away from the table.

I read a comment online to the effect that a small tip is better than the person staying home and the server getting no tip at all. I disagree. If the cheap bastards stay at home, that leaves more space and time for the generous people to be served.  I would rather wait on three fair guests than ten stingy customers who inevitably run me ragged for pennies.

When you dine at a sit-down, order-at-the-table restaurant, ordering a soda cracker and taking an hour to eat it is just as selfish as not leaving a gratuity. The way it works at most restaurants is this: servers are assigned tables and can only serve what is assigned. Tables are her earning power. One booth is worth two tables in server currency. When you take up a booth for two hours, there goes the earning potential. Unless you are buying the filet and lobster combo, you should consider your tip to be space rental and not based a percentage of your food bill. If you want to linger over an appetizer with water, be polite and take it home. You can sit on your couch as long as you please without robbing a single mom or college student. If not for your dallying, she might have made ten bucks from turning that table a couple of times in the hour your cheap ass was browsing on your smart phone, sipping water. Thirty percent on a $15.00 tab is the same as 5% on a $90.00 tab. Neither are good payment for an hour of work.

I hear what you are thinking. What am I to do about the horrible server? For the three bad servers in a restaurant, there are at least five good servers. The good server has pride in doing her job well. Learn the good server’s name. Learn several good servers’ names. Punish the bad servers by refusing to sit at their table. The end result is best for all parties involved.

After all, you deserve to be treated like royalty now and again, but royalty doesn’t come cheap.

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On the importance of hair…or the lack thereof

In Life is Random, Relationships on December 14, 2011 at 10:36 am

Human beings were created/evolved (the word choice is yours) to come in pairs. It is human nature to want a companion in life. If you ponder your life, past and present, how much time is involved in seeking, enjoying or nurturing a relationship?

Those of us who are not currently involved in or pursuing a relationship have diverted our attention to another focus, denying the basic human need for companionship. For some, it is an easy task to occupy oneself with other things. It isn’t second nature for me.

I have had to create methods for tricking my natural instincts and muffling my hormones. I discovered that adjusting my level of girlieness via hair maintenance is a powerful tool.  Just as marriage counselors will tell you that increasing your feeling of sexiness will improve your sex life, so will DECREASING your feeling of sexiness KILL your sex drive…and your longing for a companion. Just call me Pavlov’s Bitch because, honey, it works!

Ditch the razor and bring on the granny panties.

Now, ya’ll know that 90% of this post is tongue-in-cheek. That leaves 10% cold, hard, scientific truth. That 10% is the part urging me to share this with you despite the fact that it will end any chance I have of attracting a man once I’ve paid off my bills and stopped working two jobs. This is just too good NOT to share for all my single ladies. I sacrifice my future social life for you, my dears!

It started off with cutting my hair to a manageable, stodgy shoulder-hovering bob. Everyone knows long hair is sexy. Men love it. Short hair is convenience. Not sexy. Not on me. Check!

Next, the legs. I hate having hair on my legs. This is why the method works. I went without shaving for…well, I’m not at the place where I can admit just how long…in order to push myself into that funky, I-don’t-want-anyone-to-see-me feeling. Nothing is so hormone dampening as hairy legs…except maybe a hysterectomy.

What turned out to be a method of distraction has now become a lack of time. Give up one time consumption and hundreds of other responsibilities creep in to fill the void. But even the practical me has limits. I couldn’t stand it any longer. Since the tropical rain forest on my legs had reached such a nice, useful length, I decided to try waxing. Overjoyed by the thought of going pajamaless in bed and feeling soft, silky skin rubbing the sheets, I proceeded with the waxing.

Forty-five minutes later, I had ONE 7″x3″ bare strip on my left leg…and it was time to go to work. Now THAT look, my friends, is the epitome of sexy.

Hell, no, I don’t want a man. I don’t have time to fix the train wreck that is my partially waxed sasquatch legs. I can’t bring myself to shave because the $10 box of wax is taunting me to try one more time and finish the job. Looks like I won’t be retiring the flannel pajama pants any time soon.

Four months equals a lifetime

In Career Moves, Life is Random, Relationships on December 13, 2011 at 9:48 am

The title sums up what I feel about the last few months. All the words are in my head like the fall leaves in the yard. They fell daily, but I did nothing about them as they fell. Overwhelmed, I feel the need to rake them up and push them out, but I know the piles of words would be worth nothing to you all jumbled up in great mounds of earthy, moldy brown. Chew them up, sprinkle them about, and they become rich mulch to nourish and grow thoughts of your own.

But where do I begin?

Do I need to change the name of my blog? I now have TWO jobs that I love. I am working as a writer for the Mississippi Development Authority during the week and laying out pages for The Clarion-Ledger on the weekend. I have the best of both worlds, and I feel uncommonly lucky. Saying I am excited about my future doesn’t sufficiently express what I am feeling and have been feeling for the past few weeks.

What gives?

Relationships. A man? I don’t even have time to shave my legs! How can I be bothered with finding a man? I can’t. I don’t want to. I want to work two jobs, pay off my loans and buy a kayak. Simple. Focused. Perfection. Happiness.

In the meantime, I want to let the words drift and fall to you a few at a time — not pile into unmanageable mounds.

I will share the joys of waiting tables at some time in the future. That was a short-lived but priceless adventure.

Dating, the lack thereof AND my sense of satisfaction with the current state of affairs…another topic swirling around in my head.

I picked up a book titled Emotional Intelligence a few weeks back. Reading that same phrase in Fortune magazine yesterday reminded me that I really should read up on it. Seems to be a trend.

Lots to talk about. Lots to write about. Lots to be happy about.

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