In the UK, most restaurant servers are paid sufficiently to ensure they take home a decent wage. In fact, the UK’s minimum wage has just been raised to £7.20 ($10.30) per hour for over 25s. In the US, it’s a different story. In 21 states, servers are paid only $2.13 an hour before tips. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal:
“Nearly 15 percent of the nation’s 2.4 million waiters and waitresses live in poverty, compared with about 7 percent of all workers. They are more likely to need public assistance and less likely to receive paid sick leave or health benefits.”
I do believe that waiters and waitresses should never expect to be tipped just because they’ve brought some food over. If you want people to fork out extra for you, then put in the effort. However, having personally worked my ass off for customers and ensured they have a pleasant meal, I also know how heartbreaking it can be to receive absolutely nothing for a tip.
That’s why a recent Facebook post by US waitress Taylar Cordova needs to be seen by anybody who has ever dined in a restaurant/cafe/bar/diner. On March 21st, Cordova, a server at P.F. Changs in Colorado, received no tip on a bill totaling $187.43. Now, the standard accepted tip of 15 per cent would have given Cordova $28.11 – enough for a few days’ food. Tired of being stiffed by her customers, Cordova posted the picture to Facebook.
The full post read:
“This. This is the reason I work so much. This is why I cry in the shower. I STRUGGLE to put clothes on my daughter’s back and food in our bellies because of THIS. You, are the lowest of the low. Whenever you feel like it’s probably fine to not tip your server, that’s one more bill stacking up because they’re short on money. This is food for the week that our families will go without because you didn’t think it was necessary, even after asking for everything under the sun and receiving it free of charge, mind you. This is one less basic necessity my daughter needs because even TWO more dollars is too much for you.
Every decision has a consequence. Servers are paid a base pay of $2-5/hr depending on the employer, so next time you don’t want to tip, regardless of the situation prior to receiving your bill, think about how much you would have to work that week off $2-5/hr to feed your family, not just you. Could you pay your bills based on that pay alone? Could you feed your family AND yourself? Because that’s what happens when you choose to not tip. Please, please tip your servers. Even if it was the worst service you’ve ever received. A 10% tip is a big enough slap in the face, this completely tore me apart. Don’t even bother walking into a restaurant if you can’t afford to tip. There’s a McDonald’s down the street if you’re that cheap.”
At the time of writing, Taylar’s post has been shared more than 12,000 times, as she urges as many people to recognise the true repercussions of not tipping hard working and poorly paid servers. But things may be looking up for servers in the future.
According to Eater; “Seven states—including New York—have already increased or eliminated the lower tipped minimum wage and seven more are in the process of increasing or eliminating it altogether.” This is such a pivotal change because, according to the National Restaurant Association, by the end of 2016, 12.9 million people in the US will be working in the restaurant industry, which will account for 10 per cent of the entire US workforce.
Working with the public all day can be great, but it can also mean dealing with some absolute assholes. This is the moment a six-month pregnant waitress had scalding hot soup thrown over her by an irate customer.