LIFE AS A SOPHOMORE/ WAITRESS

 THIS SUMMER, WHILE MOST OF MY COLLEAGUES TRAVELED TO ITALY AND IRELAND, I HAD THE EXCITING OPPORTUNITY OF WORKING IN THE FAST-FOOD INDUSTRY TO PAY FOR MY RENT. #POORGIRLPROBLEMS. BUT I CAN WHOLEHEARTEDLY SAY THAT I LEARNED A LOT ABOUT LIFE IN THOSE FEW MONTHS. IT REMINDED ME OF WHY I AM GOING TO COLLEGE AND THE FUNDAMENTAL ASPECT OF THE AMERICAN DREAM: HARD WORK. NOW ENROLLED IN 15 HOURS OF BUSINESS CLASSES AND WORKING 15 HOURS A WEEK, COMING BACK HAS REALLY BEEN AN ADJUSTMENT FOR ME BECAUSE OF THE NEW WORK+SCHOOL COMBO.

 

I NEVER REALLY UNDERSTOOD WHAT IT MEANT FOR SOMEBODY TO BE ‘WAITING TABLES THROUGH COLLEGE’ BUT NOW I REALLY GET IT. IT IS THE EPITOME OF HARD WORK. AS A WAITRESS I AM ON MY FEET FOR MINIMUM 5 HOURS STRAIGHT (WHICH ACTUALLY ISN’T THAT LONG IN SERVER WORLD), RUNNING BACK AND FORTH FROM CUSTOMERS TO THE KITCHEN, REMEMBERING, CARRYING, INPUTTING, FILLING, SERVING, COUNTING, ETC.– I HATE MY PAST-SELF FOR NOT UNDERSTANDING AMERICA’S TIPPING SYSTEM. TIPPING $2 ON A MEAL IS NOT SUFFICIENT FOR SOMEBODY WHO WORKS FOR $2.13 AN HOUR. WHICH BRINGS ME TO THE EXPERIENCE I HAD NOT LONG AGO, WHERE A GROUP OF 15-20 INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS CAME IN AND PAID ME THEIR MEAL IN ****PENNIES AND QUARTERS*****

 

THESE BEAUTIFUL FRENCH, SPANISH, COLOMBIAN, AND AUSTRALIAN STUDENTS ORDERED THEIR WINE AND FOOD IN THEIR RESPECTIVE ACCENTS, CAREFUL TO CHOOSE THE MOST ECONOMIC PORTIONS. THEY CAME IN AROUND 8:45, 15 MINUTES BEFORE WE CLOSED. THEY DIDN’T JUST DISREGARD THE TIME WE CLOSED BUT THEY ALSO KEPT ASKING FOR DRINK REFILLS AND NOT EVER SAYING PLEASE OR THANK YOU. IT’S WEIRD THAT THE LITTLE THINGS LIKE THIS EVEN BOTHERED ME–OTHER THAN THE NOT TIPPING PART– BUT IN THEIR COUNTRIES, SERVERS AREN’T TIPPED BECAUSE THEY ARE PAID THE STANDARD WAGES OF THAT COUNTRY. AND THOSE SERVERS AREN’T ALWAYS THANKED BECAUSE IT IS THEIR JOB TO DO SO– THAT AND HERE IN THE SOUTH WE HAVE A VERY SPECIFIC FORM OF MANNERS. AN EXAMPLE OF THIS WOULD BE SAYING “YES SIR OR YES MA’AM”. I GREW UP SAYING SIR AND MA’AM AND WHEN I WENT TO VISIT MY MOTHER’S FRIEND IN HOLLAND, SHE KEPT TELLING ME IN A THICK ARGENTINIAN ACCENT TO “ESOP TALKING TO HER LIKE THE QUEEN” AND TO CALL HER BY HER FIRST NAME.

 

IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT MAKE UP OUR CULTURE, SOCIETIES, EVEN ECONOMIES, BUT FOR ANY FOREIGNER WHO DOES NOT KNOW WHAT TO TIP, ALWAYS LEAVE A MINIMUM TIP OF 20%. NOW WITH THAT RANT DONE, I APOLOGIZE AND WILL ATTEMPT TO SHOWER OFF THE HEAVY ITALIAN-FOOD SMELL FROM MY BODY.

-J

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