Tag Archives: waiting tables

It Could Be Worse (Series): The Wonderful World of Waiting Tables

23 Apr

If you’ve read my book you know that I once waited tables. While free food and employee camaraderie was the only thing I enjoyed about it, being stiffed by poor tippers far too often was a reason I loathe to return to such an occupation, even now as I grovel for another cubicle stance.

The average tip/gratuity now is a standard 15% of the total amount of food one is served with waiters earning around $2.15 per hour sans tips. Since tipping is primarily suggested, of course there are huge swings in the amount that is often given. Online one can find horror stories of poor tippers, rude customers, etc. Sure, there have been the unlikely fairytale stories of huge tips (even waiters being left in longtime customers’ Last Will & Testaments) that pop up out of the rubbage but most of the wowza tipping stories that make headlines are just plain dogged.

Like this one:

Mostly pennies left by a patron.

This kind of stuff happened to me all the time while in Baltimore waiting tables. You should’ve seen how wide my nostrils could flare.

Or this one:

Looks like a $10 tip, eh? Also looks as if they thoroughly enjoyed their meal. Is that a  mere trace of pasta I see left on the plate?

Well, that “$10” turned out to be THIS:

It’s what waiters/waitresses call “Fake Jesus Money” or “religious tips.” These are typically left on tables particularly on Sundays across America.

Seriously, what would Jesus do? 

I mean, technically it’s a tip, sure, but who in the dickens goes to work to receive written tips?!

Oy. Customers can be quite testy. It’s why I tend to avoid retail/restaurant work altogether.

Some other “tips” waiters have received after working a table and providing excellent customer service:

Pennies in water

A Wendy’s fast food restaurant gift card (with enough on it for a Frostie drink)

A Wal-Mart store gift card

Drawings on napkins


Here’s one that will make a waitress contemplate a career change for sure:

In case you can’t read it, it states:

“P.S.:  You could stand to loose [sic] a few pounds.”


A side note:

Results of a poll shows it pays to be blonde if you’re a waitress in France. According to the findings, tips are 25% bigger for blondes, compared to those left for brunettes. The finding comes from The University of Southern Brittany. But that only holds true for men who tip – women diners showed no preference for blonde waitresses.

Now don’t get me wrong, I truly realize the table waiting profession can be and is quite lucrative and satisfying and all that. I get it. Oh, I get it. But it’s the uncertainty of each day or night’s tally, particularly in an average restaurant, that makes me return to CubicleVille instead.

Customers can be the worst. At least in CubicleVille I only have the usual suspects to deal with; once I master them and their idiosyncrasies I’m coasting. Sort of. With public service jobs any ole random goofball can enter your job stance and wreak havoc on not only your head but your fluctuating finances.

For surely the customer ain’t always right…in the head.