Friday, August 21, 2009

And speaking of money...

What do servers dream of.... Ahhh, the possibilities- do we dream of frolicking in a restaurant filled with daisies and cabana boys? (or girls, depending on who you are) do we dream of a magical kitchen where you snap your fingers and your tray is filled instantly with whatever your customers desire? Perhaps we do, but other than the nagging and constant nightmares that accompany a waitressing job the number one thing we dream about is making so much money that we can throw it all around and roll in it while screaming in glee. I actually did that once, but sadly- only once... Money is the number one motivator for most servers and that is the bottom line. Back in the day, when I was young and carefree my motivation for making cash was so that I could live in a totally awesome apartment and drive a super fast car. Now that I am a woman of more advanced years I wistfully dream of paying the bills, and being able to make the car payment on my very average and painfully slow Toyota.

For many it seems that the dream of cash involves making so much of it that you can move on to the career you were destined to do. You do not come across many servers who admit to being happy and satisfied, trotting about with trays of daiquiris and popcorn shrimp. It's almost taboo to confess that you wait tables because that is what you do. Case in point: Throughout my waitressing career I have always held down another job, and am self employed. For many, the fact that I waitress means that my business must be quickly sliding down the path to destruction or bankruptcy, which fortunately is not the case at all. Many customers ask "What else do you DO" (like is is shameful to be making more money than they probably do, by bringing them their dinner, right?) My reply "I own my own small business and wait tables to earn some extra money, and to enjoy time seeing all the local patrons" (suck up!) They will look at me quizzically and say something to the effect of "Boy, bet you can't wait until your business isn't suffering so that you can get OUT of THIS!!" No reply can satisfy this particular customer unless you are willing to beat your brow, and declare that you can not wait to give up a couple hundred dollars of fast earned cash, you have always dreamed of a life that involves less money.

If the majority of my table waiting life had not been in a small town where everybody knew everybody else's personal business I would have concocted a lie about my need to wait tables. There seem to be several appropriate answers to the "What else DO you DO" query. From my own coworkers I heard several excellent, and vaguely true, reasons that would get a response of sympathy and a $50 bill from the customer. "I wait tables to support myself and my deadbeat ex-boyfriends baby." (you do not. you wait tables to help put your 3 kids through private school.) "I am working on my screenplay/my novel/I plan to win a nobel peace prize." (a common one, this dream rarely works out.) "I am putting myself thru business school and my only other option was working the street corner of my town but it was already taken by a few underage girls." (OK, that's one that I always wanted to use but thought better of it.) So my basic view on the situation is that if you have a BIG dream, or are suffering grandly it is A-OK to spend your free time waiting tables. But if you are already a professional and hold down a day job it is confusing, and questionable to be waiting tables for extra cash.

What many do not know, is that if you are a good waitress, or waiter and are willing to work hard you make a good chunk of change. It is one of the only things that you can legally do, with no formal schooling that brings in that kind of cash flow. And honestly, looking out at my street corner I know that I could NOT do good business there so throwing around chowder and Cesar salad is still my best option.

No comments:

Post a Comment