An Open Letter To People Who Don't Tip
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Politics and Activism

An Open Letter To People Who Don't Tip

Help me, I'm poor.

An Open Letter To People Who Don't Tip
Abby Jackson

On top of being a writer, many of my readers know I earn my living by serving. I've had many jobs, but serving has been my favorite by far. I love serving for the same reason I love journalism: the people. Every person I meet is interesting to me, and I love going to work knowing I can make their night if I do a good job. Sometimes my best just isn't good enough, though. Even if I stay on top of a table and make sure every detail is perfect, there will always be that person who wasn't happy enough to tip. This is for that person.

Dear non-tippers,

I know what you're thinking - is she really complaining about not getting tipped? She must just be an awful server. I'm going to stop you right there. I've been doing this job for about four years and have been working in customer service jobs since I was 16. I know how to do this job. I'm not saying I'm perfect. Sometimes I drop the ball and have a stressful day that spirals out of control. We all have our days. However, I assure you I go into work every day with the intention of doing my job well and making money.

I've also been on the other end of this. The restaurant isn't even busy and my drink is sitting empty. Who hired this girl? Maybe I'll leave her just a little less.

I'm here to tell you this: even if your server brought you your food and ignored you the rest of the time, leave them something.

I'm writing this sitting in a room full of servers, and we are fed up. They're my co-workers, friends and fellow students who are serving to pay their rent, bills and school expenses. I know women and men who are supporting their families on their serving jobs. Here is a fact many of you don't know: while the hourly wage varies from state to state, Indiana pays their servers the federal minimum wage, a whopping $2.15 an hour. Most of this money goes to taxes, meaning we don't get a paycheck. We live off the kindness (or rudeness) of strangers. The hope is that our tips will equal out to at least $7.25.

So what should you leave your server? Well, if they were friendly, brought you your food, and kept your drinks full, you should leave 15-20 percent. I also want to add that if your steak came out a little pinker than you planned, that is most likely a problem in the kitchen and should not come back on your server. We heard you loud and clear and we strive to make sure your restaurant experience is to your liking. We're spending 5-6 hours of our days making $2.15 an hour plus tips, so why would we do anything to jeopardize that tip and waste time?

You also might be thinking, OK, Abby. Prove that it's all bad. If you don't make any money, why continue serving? Why not get a real job?

I am currently making enough money to get by. I have enough tables who tell me, "You did such a good job," and they leave me a tip I can feel proud of. It's the one or two tables who aren't happy and either stiff me or leave me next to nothing that get under my skin. I'll give a recent example:

This past week, I served a family of four. They were my last table of the night, so I was focused on them, and some light cleaning. They all ordered full meals with soup, salad and dessert. Throughout the meal I kept their drinks full and asked, "Is everything still wonderful?" The woman smiled and said they were doing very well and didn't need anything else. Their bill came to $100.38. I was excited to see what they left me and felt confident about how the table had gone. After the woman signed her credit card slip, I thanked her for coming in and went to collect it from the table. The tip line read: "Sorry, need to be more attentive. :(" The family of four that had gone so well left me nothing except a rude note. The picture you see above is real. This one tip, which ideally should have been between $15 and $20, could have made the difference between making my rent or being evicted, how would they know? That family has never met me. They have no idea what financial hardships I could have been going through at the time.

So, I hope you read this and remember how much we count on your tip. You can afford to leave a few dollars if you can afford to go out to eat. I promise to do my best, if you promise to do yours.


Your friendly neighborhood server

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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