How to not be an asshole to your waitress.

I’m working at a Greek restaurant, and to be honest, it’s not very fun. People can be awful to waitstaff. Some people are rude, some people are mean, and some people seem to believe that you’re ServerBot 3000, not a person. Working for tips is awful stuff…federal minimum wage for employees receiving tips hasn’t changed from $2.13 an hour in over 15 years! That means there’s been a shift in perspective. Patrons of restaurants are expected to compensate the staff for their services, instead of simply rewarding them for a job well done. Gratuities are no longer gratuitous. That means if you eat at a restaurant, you should leave a tip. I could end it there, but since most people don’t seem to understand that complex idea, I’ll elaborate. All of these examples are anecdotal. I deal with this nonsense, I know what I’m talking about.

When to leave a tip

If someone brings you your food, refills your drinks, and clears your table after you leave, leave a tip. It’s really that simple. If you have a server, tip them.  However, we’re much more likely to dislike you if you don’t leave a tip and you’re a “difficult customer.” There is nothing worse than a customer that makes you run laps for no pay. For example, if I have to sweep up your kid’s Goldfish crackers, make four trips to bus your table, refill my pitchers several times because you haven’t yet seen a doctor for the excessive thirstiness that is often an indicator of serious health issues, explain to the kitchen that you accidentally ordered food you didn’t want and we should make a substitution for free, or clean Sharpie off of your table, I would really, really like to be compensated.

Also, it doesn’t matter if you’re a regular customer. If I see you four times a week and I’ve memorized your order, and you never leave a tip, I don’t put on my party hat when you walk in the door. A customer that never tips me is not usually my favorite, no matter how often I see them.

What kind of tip you should leave

Some people like to say that any tip is better than none, but that’s not true. A few pennies on the table translates as an insult. Most people leave a larger tip if they receive better-than-expected service, so what does four pennies say about my job performance? Yeah, we might miss a couple of refills if we’re incredibly busy, but I don’t think I’ve ever done such an awful job that  I only deserved four cents. Generally people leave around 15%. Honestly, I don’t mind finding a dollar on the table, or even a pile of loose change, but I don’t quite understand why anyone would leave four pennies.

Tips should generally be monetary. A pile of lettuce that fell from your sandwich is not a good tip. Neither is the message of Christ. I can’t pay my rent with a giant fake coin with John 3:16 printed on it. No offense to the Gospel, but if the Good News and money were interchangeable I probably wouldn’t be working in a restaurant. I’d be trading Bible verses for Dom Perignon.

How Tipped Employees (or pretty much all people ever) want to be treated

First, there is no reason to be rude to anyone, ever. If you want good service, don’t start your encounter with restaurant staff by complaining or treating us like we are stupid. When you said you wanted extra lemons, we heard you. When we apologized for making you wait in line behind other customers, we meant it. Your snarkiness is not appreciated.

Second, we are people too. Holding your drink in the air next to your table and assuming we remember what kind of tea you want while you gossip with your girlfriends and act like we don’t exist might make you feel like Carrie Bradshaw, but it makes you look like a bitch.  I understand that filling your drink is my job. If you’re, for example, a dentist, cleaning my teeth is your job, but I don’t go to your office, sit in the chair, point to my mouth, and assume you’ll get drilling. You can use your words, or smile, or nod when we ask if you’d like another drink. Eye contact goes a long way too. If you act decent to us, you’ll  get better service, I promise.

Third, while we appreciate your niceness, we only have so much time to devote to each customer. A few friendly words are great. Your life story is not. Some things should not be shared with people you don’t know. We don’t really care what you think about Obamacare, we just need to know if you’d like ranch or Greek dressing with your salad.

I’m not bitchy about my tips. I understand that while it is appropriate socially to leave a tip, it is not required. I also understand that not everyone is going to leave wads of cash lying on my tables, and that’s okay. But, sometimes, it would be nice to see that social contract adhered to, especially since I make $2.13 an hour otherwise.

BE NICE TO YOUR WAITSTAFF AND TIP THEM. The end.

Advertisements

The most versatile DIY product ever.

I’m slowly but surely breaking my product habit, since I started reading about the kinds of chemicals that are used in cosmetics and household cleaners. So far I’ve made, stopped using  or found a replacement for: laundry soap, shampoo, conditioner, facewash, all-purpose cleaner, glass cleaner and scouring powder for the bathroom. My favorite recipe so far has to be this awesome spray, since it counts as a DIY cleaning product and a DIY beauty product. I’d post a picture tutorial, but there’s really no point, since there’s only one step involved.

You can use this for:

  • Anti-acne body spray
  • Anti-bacterial fabric refresher
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Deodorant body spray
  • Insect repellent
  • Deodorizing spray for hair
  • Anti-odor foot spray
  • Disinfectant spray

All you need is:

  • An empty spray bottle
  • A few drops of tea tree oil
  • a couple of tablespoons rubbing alcohol
  • Enough water to fill the rest of the bottle

Pour the alcohol into the bottom of the bottle, and add tea tree oil. Shake, add water and shake again. Experiment with adding other essential oils for varied smells and uses. Lavender and eucalyptus are great choices, especially for use as a linen spray.

Cute spray bottles similar to the one I used. These are 1.99 at The Container Store, I found mine at the Dollar Tree.

 

My clothes smell lovely!

Oh my goodness, this is scary!

This article from Forbes.com is about a study that shows, in a nutshell, that we are exposed to all sorts of dangerous chemicals when we use commercial cleaning products, and that the companies that make them aren’t even required to disclose the ingredients they use. Umm…no, thank you very much.

To start off my new, I’m-going-to-make-my-own-stuff-that-won’t-slowly-kill-me kick, I made my own laundry soap! It turned out slightly unusual (a.k.a a congealed, sloppy, gross-looking mess) but it works like a dream, and my clothes smell awesome. It’ll save you money, too. I spent around ten dollars, and got enough washing soda and Borax to make several batches of soap. At about 192 loads in a batch, this works out to less than a penny a load! It wasn’t hard to make, either. I only hurt myself once!

All you need is:

  • A bucket with a lid to store your finished soap. I used a three-gallon Rubbermaid container, and it worked, but I think my soap needed more water, so I’ll probably cut the recipe in half next time. If you’d rather make the whole batch, try a five-gallon bucket.
  • 1/2 cup washing soda, which is not the same as baking soda. I found mine in the laundry isle at Wal-Mart.
  • Borax, which you can also find in the laundry isle.
  • A bar of soap. You can use 1/3 of a bar of Nels-Naptha, but I just grabbed a bar of lavender Yardley’s for a dollar.
  • A large pot and a stove.
  • A cheese grater or sharp knife. The grater is way easier and less dangerous.

Boil some water on the stove. I filled a 3-qt saucepan about 1/3 of the way full. You just need enough water to melt the soap. While your water is boiling, grate up the soap or cut it into small pieces. Add the soap to the boiling water and stir it until it all melts.

TRANSFER THE MELTED SOAP AND WATER TO YOUR BUCKET BEFORE YOU ADD ANYTHING ELSE. I added the washing soda to the pot on the stove like an idiot, it foamed up everywhere, made a gigantic mess, and gave me a wicked burn on my middle finger. But I digress. With the soap and water in the bucket, add your washing soda and Borax, wait for the foam to stop rising, stir, and start stirring in hot water until your bucket is full. Close the bucket and wait patiently for about 24 hours for the soap to gel, stirring occasionally.

Or, you could do like I did and try the soap the same day you made it, because you’re impatient, and you feel like by burning your finger off you earned it.

When you finally try it out, just add about 1/4 of a cup to your laundry and wash like usual! Bonus tip: don’t use commercial fabric softener. 1/4 of a cup of white vinegar will make your clothes soft without making them smell all vinegar-y. Trust me, I tried it.

This is what mine looked like!

Well….eff that. I’m coming back here.

Since I’d eventually like to move to a self-hosted blog, among other reasons, I’ve decided to revert to WordPress.

And for those of you whom I haven’t been in contact with (which is pretty much everyone in the world) here’s a quick update:

My super awesome, amazing boyfriend/best friend/companion Ryan and I are living with our friends Liz and Dianna. We have an adorable room with lavender walls and a cute little window and a poster of a lion. I get to cook pretty often, and Liz and Dianna are supportive of all my craftiness and craziness. Also, there are cats.

I’ve decided that since I’m going to start several DIY projects soon, like making tons of clothes and using only cleaning products I can make myself, I should blog about it. So, I am crowned with flowers will soon be overtaken with pictures of crafts, homemade soaps, and general kitschiness. I should be able to throw up some pretty darn good tutorials and recipe walkthroughs, too. Haha, walkthroughs. I’m a nerd.

Also, I’m unnaturally and unhealthily obsessed with Pinterest, which probably directly corresponds to my sudden urge to make ALL THE THINGS. You can find me here.

So, that’s the quick update! I made my own laundry soap last week, and it looks like  terrifying congealed monster goo from an H.P. Lovecraft story, but my clothes are clean and they smell amazeballs. So, I’ll post soon on how I made it!

Adios para hora, la Red.

Tell me all your thoughts on God.

And blue is nice, but other colors of cars count too. Racism towards automobiles is a very real issue, people.

Actually, it isn’t. That’s an incredibly stupid, uninspired thing to say, and it isn’t really funny. If you did manage to produce a chuckle, shame on you.

That’s what I’m thinking about right now…the mundane, unintelligent, unimportant things we say all the time. When we want to get to know someone, we talk about silly popular culture references and what pizza toppings we enjoy. For some reason, we avoid deeper issues like the plague. Religion, philosophy and politics are the Lord Voldemort of polite conversation, they simply aren’t mentioned.

And yes, when I say Lord Voldemort I mean @Lord_Voldemort7. He may be interesting or funny, but when you start talking about him at Thanksgiving dinner things get awkward.

So why don’t we try to give our conversations a bit more substance? Think for a minute about some of your family and friends. Do you know whether or not they believe in God? Or fate? Or gay marriage, for that matter?

Find out. Really get to know the people you know. Sharing your thoughts will help you grow.

Peace be with you.

Summer weekends are for burning your skin off.

Okay, so my skin isn’t actually burned off, it’s just kind of pinkish. But, there’s going to be another afternoon spent by the pool today, so goodness only knows what it will look like tomorrow. Stupid skin.

I’ve been spending a lot of time with my friends Liz, Jonathan, Josh and Teri. Teri and Josh’s apartment complex has a pool, so we’ve been swimming and enjoying the sunshine. It’s been ridiculously hot outside, so I suffer through the sunburns and mosquito bites to swim. Don’t worry, it’ll pay off. I’ll be a bronzed goddess after a couple of days.

I’ve been hiding out at Teri and Josh’s because there seems to be so much going on with most of my friends. It’s nice to take a break from gossip, especially when the gossip involves people I care about. I don’t want to hurt anyone, and I don’t want to broadcast every detail I know. Some things just aren’t anyone’s business. Don’t get me wrong, I love all of my friends. At the same time, though, I have my own issues. I don’t live a perfect charmed life, and sometimes I just can’t handle everyone’s problems. Right now, I need to bask in all the positivity I can find.

I think that’s the biggest life lesson I’ve learned lately. Negativity only creeps into your life if you let it. Yes, bad things happen, but how we respond is what determines what kind of positive or negative energy we feel. Our lives only take on a positive direction if we let them. A friend once told me that what makes us human is our ability to decide how we feel about anything. That doesn’t mean we can choose to be happy when it’s easy. It means that we can choose to feel good about our lives all the time.

I have a friend right now who is coping with a lot. She’s been hurt a lot, but she still has her head up. That’s the kind of person I want to be…someone who handles negativity with poise and grace. She doesn’t even realize what an impact her strength has on the people around her. She’s teaching us all how to stay positive no matter what.

And think, I’m complaining about the sunburn I haven’t even gotten yet.

Be alright (the disc golf day)

I’d never tried disc golf before this weekend, and let me tell you, it’s a lot harder than it looks. The rules are similar to golf. You have a certain number of throws per hole, and at the end of the game, the person with the lowest score wins. Instead of hitting a ball with a club into a hole, you throw a small Frisbee into a basket. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Honestly, it’s a bit hipster. I mean, there are different styles and weights of discs. We even saw one serious player carrying a case full of discs. Really, dude? You’re going to drag your elementary-school kid around the park to watch you throw your collection of special discs at a basket? I shake my head at your poor parenting choices. Poor, young, bored kid.

The overall goal, generally achieved from further away.

Jon wasn’t bad at all, but he was much too busy climbing on things and showing off his acrobatic skills. 

Jon showing off.

After we finished “playing”, or throwing discs with no apparent goal or reason for throwing, we decided to explore the park. My favorite part of the whole place is the bridge. When you walk up to it, it looks like this. 

It just looks like a nondescript bridge.

But, when you climb around the bridge to the other side, you find this. 

The view from behind the bridge.

The water is very shallow, so we naturally took off our shoes and waded around. I mean, what else are you supposed to do here? There was a whole family exploring the water too, but I’m not enough of a creeper to take pictures of someone else’s adventures, especially not when there are children involved.

He looks guilty, like I caught him doing something horrible.

 After we finished playing in the water like hippies, Jon and Faron posed for pictures with the graffiti like the hipsters they are.

Just like the graffiti, they'll be alright.

 After the park had ceased to amuse us, we ate dinner at Faron’s and jammed out on her collection of instruments. The three of us are going to make beautiful music together.
 
The rest of the pictures from the park are on Flickr, if you really want to take the few seconds out of your life to look at them. http://www.flickr.com/photos/iamcrownedwithflowers/sets/72157626680387855/