I reached into the old mailbag and pulled out this letter from someone seeking my advice. I hope I can help this dear child. You can email me here if you have a question that needs attention. Or you can just say hello. That's nice too.
Dear Bitchy Waiter,
My friends and I recently turned eighteen, so now several of them (including myself) are considering applying to become waiters as a summer job. My friends think that the tips you earn as a waiter make it worth being one. Since I've read your blog for several months now, and you seem to be somewhat of an expert on the subject, I thought I'd ask you. I have learned many of the negatives to being a waiter from your entries. But I was wondering, is it worth it? Does the money make up for all the annoyances that come with being waitstaff? Have you ever had a non-food industry job (aside from acting)? I'm worried that I'd end up bitching out customers.
I am Just a Poor Girl From a Poor Family
(Well, not really, but it sounded a little catchy. Sorry if you aren't a Queen fan)
Dear Poor Girl From a Poor Family,
Yes, there are a lot of negatives to being a server. Smelling like fajitas, having clothes that are covered in grease stains and dealing with rude customers are just a few of the pitfalls of waiting tables. However, it can definitely be worth it. I think a few months of waiting tables as an 18 year old would be a perfect option for you to fill your summer days. Yes, the hourly wage is hardly anything, but when you factor in your tips, it can be quite a profitable job. Just the other day, I worked for a total of nine hours and walked with $231. That comes out to an average of $25.67 an hour take home. Not too bad, right? If you get a job at The Gap and they paid you the minimum wage of $7.25 (here in NYC) you would only pull in $65.25 before taxes or maybe a net of about fifty bucks. Ouch. Of course, not all shifts average out to $25 an hour, but it's always better than minimum wage.
If you have no experience, it may be hard to step right into a waiting job. Chains like Applebee's and Outback Steakhouse are more willing to take someone with little or no experience because they have major training programs. Or sometimes you have to be a busser or host first to prove your worth to the manager and then maybe they will move you up to a server. (If the manager asks for sexual favors in exchange for a server position, I would recommend getting that in writing. Trust me, you don't want to get scabby knees from doing a "no-no" behind the dumpster of the Bennigan's in Humble, Texas and still be a busser. Don't ask me how I know this. The shame is far too great.)
I doubt that you will end up bitching out customers. No matter how annoying they can be, most of servers quickly learn to let it roll off our backs. It's not worth it. Always remember this: "it's just lunch and they will have another one every day for the rest of their lives." It keeps it in perspective. Internalize your rage and then go home and blog about like I do. It does wonders. Please keep me posted. I'd love to know how it goes for you.
In regards to your other question about my non-food industry jobs. I hope to write a book one day about the jobs I have had over the years: real estate agent, substitute teacher, theater reviewer, Pottery Barn whore, amusement park employee, ceramics sales rep, jewelry sales rep... God it's pathetic how many jobs I have had.
The Bitchy Waiter
Email me here if you have a question.