The Service Industry: always there to help

I have been a waitress since I was 16 years old, now 21, still waitressing while being a full time student. While some things have stayed the same, things have definitely changed. When I was 16, I had no real sense of money, so any tip I walked away with was appreciated.

Now older and wiser (at least I’d like to think so), waitressing is not something I do once or twice a week so I can have some pocket change.

Waitressing is what I have to do, to make sure I am able to pay rent, continue going to a private university, and provide for myself while away from home.

I work 20 or more hours a week while carrying a full course load, staying involved in extracurricular activities, and playing a college sport. I pride myself in being able to handle this, and I know it will pay off at some point. It has to right?

Some days I really love waitressing, I meet such a variety of people, I am able to work and meet some amazing people and make decent money doing it.

I don’t have to wait every two weeks for a pay check, I walk out each shift, with money in my hand. So what do I really have to complain about?

Everyone has seen the Facebook posts about what 20 percent means when it comes to tipping your waiter or waitress, how a server makes about $2 an hour, and that’s all before taxes are taken out.

While tipping is one of my biggest pet peeves and is what my job as a waitress revolves around, it isn’t what this article is about.

Time after time, I have had guests come in and treat me like absolute dirt, they look at me like I have no talent, no aspirations and no future. A server to them, is someone that is just getting by, this is their end result.

While there is nothing wrong with that, especially since so many people make a career out of the service industry, who are you to make all of those assumptions, especially when I’m at your call from the time I greet you at the table (in 30 seconds or less because I don’t want you to complain).

I have had people tell me I am too pretty to be serving tables my whole life, or I seem too smart to be stuck here, or my personal favorite, what do your parents think of you being a waitress?

While I never feel the need to explain myself, sometimes I do choose to just to shut them up.

So I explain I’m actually in school at the local university, and this is just my part time job until I graduate. It’s almost equivalent to me telling them that I’m secretly a brain surgeon doing this in my spare time. The guests will do a complete 180 and treat me like I am almost equal to them.

They feel bad for me, ask me more about my school, everything else I do outside of work, and act like I am a qualified person to serve their food.

One experience that has stuck with me, was when I was talking to one of my regular tables that come in more than once a month and sit in my section. They have gotten to know me, so I was talking to them about school this semester and field hockey among other topics.

Then I walk to my other table, a table that hasn’t been the most pleasant. All of a sudden they are kind, and at first I’m unsure what has changed, then it clicks.

They over heard me at the other table and now in some crazy turn around I have earned their respect because they have found out that no, I’m not just a server.

Not only do people treat me differently as I am serving them, they tip me better too. Because I am in school, you feel that I deserve the 20 percent that I have just rightfully earned by busting my butt so you can enjoy your dinner out.

My issue is simply, why does it matter what I am outside of a server, I am working, working for my money.

Why are you worried whether or not I am in school, why is the world looking down upon servers? Treat everyone with respect, simple as that.