I go to work almost everyday for eight or more hours; without a notice of what to entail when I get there. I clock in at 4:30 ready to set up the workstation, which consist of making tea, lemonade, cutting lemons and limes, gathering trash cans and drinking glasses and making sure silverware is rolled. While doing all this, I am waiting for the doors, to the restaurant, to open at 5 p.m. Sometimes, a crowd of people come in at that time, and other times there is a waiting period for two to three hours. Those are the days that disgust me.
Waiting around for someone to come into the restaurant. I am happy when I get my first customer. When the second and third customer comes, my hopes get higher. I love when it is busy because I am making money and the time is passing by. All I hope for is that majority of the customers leave 18% gratuity. It can turn into a bad day when you are not getting tip right. The customer is my best friend when they sit at the table. I engage in friendly conversation. Also, whatever they need it will be taken care of in a timely manner. I am thankful when I get a crowd of men and women who just want to drink up a tab of $300 or more, especially when they leave an extra tip with the gratuity. If I get two tables like that I can make at least $300 in charge tips.
With most waitress jobs, they are treating the gratuities as wages, so the waitress does not get the money that night unless it is cash. The money goes on a paycheck. Luckily I get paid every week, but still that money gets taxed. That is not good for me because I have a disabled husband and twin girls. I get paid $3.40 a hour, which is tipped minimum wage. Each of my check shows the gross amount and the taxes deducted. My paycheck ends up being very little at times unless one week is busy. I provide for all of them. Now, my husband gets a disability check, which pays the car insurance and rent. The other bills are on me. Once you start paying bills, the money is gone. So, seeing a check for $800 is satisfying, but not enough. The reason of becoming a server is to take the money home that night.
I love my job because of the patrons, despite the low wages. Enough is enough though. I feel like the job is tearing me down. Working nine days straight to make a living. Then, I have to tip the bartender 1.5% of my sales. I feel homeless without being on the street or eat out of dumpsters. Hey, thank God I am able to pay the bills. At times, there is not enough money to pay all my bills. I have to wait another week to make up the difference. My husband’s disability check takes care of the rent and I think about the government was to ever shut that off. My children sometimes want nice things, but I have to put them on hold because there is not enough to pleasure them. After a hard day of work, I get home and go into a deep sleep from exhaustion.
I have been a waitress for nine years while being in school pursing a degree in communications, which I obtained an Associate’s in 2009 and a BA in 2011. It is hard to get into the news industry, but I will keep striving. I don’t have to yell like a four year old to let you know my problems. I don’t need judgment, but I will take help.