I am one of many students here at Acadia University that also dedicates a handful of hours a week with a part-time job. I currently hold a position as a server at one of the locally loved restaurants here in Wolfville. I chose to get a part-time job partially because a little extra pocket money is nice to have, but also because I am not in a financial situation that allows me to go to school without the worry of crushing student debt. Getting a part-time job seemed like the most viable option to slowly but surely pay back at least a small portion on my student loans. Working in the service industry has taught me a great many things: how to multi-task efficiently, time management skills, and most of all patience.
Patience, I would argue, is a necessity in this industry for a great number of reasons. It’s a skill that you need to learn in the service industry, which runs on the mantra that “the customer is always right.” To a large extent, I can understand this. People are out to have a good time to spend their own hard earned dollars on delicious meals and drinks. As a waitress, it’s my job to make sure that this kind of environment is available so that you may enjoy yourself.
I will go out of my way to make sure that you have everything you could possible want, and then some. I know when to drop off extra napkins without being asked, grab you some more ketchup, I will bring your soda refills before you’re completely finished your first round, I will take you to a table by the window/ near the bar/ by a television if you so requested. I will bring your food out as soon as it’s on the kitchen line, ask you how you’re enjoying the meal a few minutes later, I will be prompt, polite, perfectly pleasant.
I genuinely enjoy the work that I do and I’m happy to help out my guests. I would describe myself a people-person and a people-pleaser. If I serve my table and exceed experience expectations, I am rewarded for my efforts with a reasonable tip. If I do poorly (and there are certainly days when I do better or worse), the tip will reflect this fact. I expect to be treated as kindly as I treat my guests, and this often reflects in a wonderful experience for both guest and server.
I understand that some people believe that it’s not mandatory to tip. Servers should get paid the minimum wage and should be paid for this work. It’s their job. I agree that this is indeed true. But I will have you know that it does hurt. But when I have an incredibly disagreeable table who doesn’t tip, it hurts. Snapping their fingers to get my attention, shouting across the restaurant “Where’s our food?”, mumbling and avoiding eye contact, snapping orders at me to make the food arrive faster/make it hotter/want the cheque now because their running late for a meeting, asking me to bring them things over and over and over again even though I ask every time if there is anything else.
Servers could very well just take orders, drop the food off, and leave guests be until it was time for the cheque. This isn’t the case, however. Servers go above and beyond to make sure that restaurant guests are provided the experience that they deserve. Above and beyond. I can’t even begin to count the number of time that I have had to put up with harassment from unruly guests to make sure that they still have a good time. In a university town, I understand that not everybody is in the position financially to spend the extra couple of dollars to tip a server. But if this is indeed the case, why are you spending your money eating out at all?
This message is coming from a fellow student, a fellow worker, a fellow human. The service industry can be a hard one in a “the customer is always right” environment, especially when your efforts go ignored. I judge my peers by the way they treat service staff, and I am glad to say that most are passing with flying colours. There are those select few, however, that I recognize walking around me when I’m going to class. Out of uniform, you may not know who I am, but I know you. I know you and the way you treat somebody who is in a position of subordination. It says a lot about you and your character.
So, please. Tip your server.