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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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.

We already know so much.

All of this post is based on conversations with Jonathan. He inspires me so much.

The Greek word for learning actually translates closer to what we call remembering. They believed that our souls were all-knowing, and that this knowledge was lost when our souls were trapped inside our bodies. It’s an interesting thought.

I think that sometimes we know a lot more than we think we do. Sometimes we just sense what others are feeling, or we know what’s going to happen to us eventually. We’re more aware of God’s plans than we realize. Maybe it’s because we’re afraid of knowing. Maybe we just don’t want to accept that we have that power.

I think that “fate” is really just a matter of being where we’re supposed to so that good things can happen to us. I think that God, or the universe, or whatever you want to call what’s bigger than us, has already set opportunities in place for us. We just have to be the best people we can, and recognize the opportunities in front of us. When we accept that things are as they’re supposed to be, then we can truly be happy.

Just sayin’.