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.

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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.

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/

Strange things are afoot at the Circle-K.

I need a break for sure…this week has been crazy! Living like a rockstar is more awesome in theory than in practice. My friends and I had so many adventures, and so little sleep. We’ve crashed on couches and in floors, stayed out until 5AM on more than one occasion, and generally stuck it to the man in every way we could. Some of these stories will be discussed in more detail in later posts (you’ll get pictures of me and Liz making pancakes) but for now, I’m just going to share last night’s highlights.

After a long day of cooking, napping and playing video games (more exhausting than it sounds) Jonathan, Jarrett and I were ready for adventure. At about 10:30, we decided it would be a great idea to drive better than half an hour to find our dearly beloved friend Chris, then, in truest American teenage fashion, sketch about and explore his neighborhood. We trekked across muddy empty lots in a housing development, climbed over a fallen tree, and sat by a creek casually talking. By the time we’d walked back, we’d talked about what seemed like a million things, and only about half of them were important.

One of the most important things we discussed was where we would sleep. After much discussion, we decided that since Jarrett was staying in a motel anyway, we’d grab a few beers and hang out there.

Best idea ever.

We bought the beer at a Circle-K a few minutes away from Chris’ neighborhood at around 1:15 in the morning. We struggled to agree on a type of beer we could all enjoy (since honesty, who really drinks light beers?) We finally settled on Coors, but the store only had Coors light, and again, light beer=no bueno. So, we ended up with Icehouse. I’m not a fan personally, but I digress.

The best part was, I finally had the opportunity to say in the proper context “Strange things are afoot at the Circle-K.” I’ve wanted to for forever, since the first time I saw Keanu Reeves awkwardly struggle through a role (obviously, I saw Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure before The Matrix and The Replacements.)

Then, onward toward the motel, which was another solid 45 minutes away. We crammed ourselves into the car, shared cell phone pictures, and nearly hit a possum. Chris led us through back roads in the middle of nowhere. I swear I could hear the banjos picking and the Cthulu cults  chanting.

When we finally showed up at the motel, it was after 2AM. There were only four other cars in the parking lot, and spilled Fruit Loops were the only sign that anyone besides us had been there in the last couple years. We went inside, watched TV, listened to music, watched YouTube videos, and passed around a straw cowboy hat. We also called up our friend Stephanie, who unfortunately isn’t living nearby. We put her on speaker and told her about our night, and even sent her pictures of Chris in his Puka-adorned hat.

The moral of this story? If you’re going to drink beer, start earlier than 2AM. I’m so tired and cranky, and I feel like it would be a good idea to bite someone’s head off just because I can. No really, I can. I could make someone cry if it was necessary. But, I won’t. I shall overcome. There’s a lake trip planned for tomorrow night, and a bonfire on Saturday, so I can’t quit now. I’ll just keep being a rockstar for a few more days.

Don’t worry, I won’t trash any more motel rooms.

Peace, brothers and sisters.

Kitchen adventure!

I just finished cooking dinner with my friend/little brother Jonathan, with all the preparatory work handled by our friend Liz. It was simple, chicken alfredo made with sauce from a jar, but it was a pleasant experience. There’s nothing quite like sharing a kitchen with someone you are comfortable with. It’s like starting a creative venture together. You’re forced to be close to each other, and so you accept that person in your personal space. Usually I don’t like to share a kitchen because of that closeness, but with good friends I don’t mind at all.

After cooking, we shooed away Jonathan’s cat, Kitten, while we ate. We listened to his jazz-fusion and made cheesy jokes together. I wonder which was cheesier: the jokes, or the pasta?

Happy times.

Fingers crossed!

I went to a job interview yesterday at Books-A-Million. I wore my favorite pencil skirt, abandoned my Converse and blue nail polish, and tried my best to be friendly and outgoing. Hopefully I wasn’t too much of a ditz! The manager, Renee, told me she still had a few more applicants to interview. Now I just hope she calls me!

Major plus: If I work there, I’ll be allowed to check out books, read them and return them. Think of all the reading I could accomplish! Hello, everything Lovecraft ever wrote 🙂