Monday, April 11, 2011

Tears from a stone.

Sometimes I feel like trying to make tips is impossible for me. I feel like I give off a “don't tip me! Really!” vibe or something. It gets extremely annoying when my coworkers are walking with $100 on the same night I barely make $40. And it's truly not because I'm a bad server, goddamn it! I'm not talking about the nights I do poorly because I'm sucking at my job for one reason or another. I'm talking about overall, about nights when I'm at my cheerful perky perfect best.

So what the fuck? Is it like when people won't give homeless people money because they think they'll buy booze, only they think if they tip me I'll just buy baby-flavored doughnuts and get even fatter? Do I smell funny? Did someone curse me? I don't fucking get it.

I've decided upon a couple of tactics to combat this. The first is to just try to make myself stand out a little more. Corporate, of course, likes to specify every fucking thing down to the color of our undergarments (no, I'm not kidding). But the things they don't specify, I am going to fucking exploit, bitches! I wrote before about putting special buttons on my work shirt for that exact reason. They don't tell us how many bracelets we can wear, either.

And the things they specify that CL isn't a hardass about, I'm also going to exploit. For example, our earrings are supposed to be less than an inch long and no bigger than a quarter. Every once in a while CL goes through a phase where she decides to be all hardass about it, but for now I'm wearing my funky earrings. I'm also wearing my necklaces, rings, and bracelets more. I have a fuckton of jewelry that I haven't been wearing, so I might as well start again.

Eventually I'm going to make another cover to put on my serving book. My printer's dead, so I'll have to make up an image file and take it to Walgreens to print or something. I stopped because I felt like it was juvenile to have pictures of my favorite band on my book, but fuck that. Or maybe I'll put baby pictures of my cousins so people will assume they're my kids! Ha!

The other thing I'm doing seems almost contradictory. I've decided to stop being so fucking cheerful. I'm obviously not going to walk around showing my grumpy colors to everyone, either. I'm going to basically try to be calm and polite, because I think when I was cheery and perky people could tell it was fake. Not always; sometimes I really was in a cheerleader mood. But most of the time it was my waitress persona I'd slid in to thinking that's how I needed to be. So I'm trying to be more natural, relaxed.

I'm also considering starting to wear makeup again. Sigh. I hate wearing makeup. I forget it's there and smudge the crap out of it. I'm allergic to everything so my eyes itch nonstop, which makes mascara a real bitch. If I do decide to do the makeup thing again, I am so dyeing my eyelashes instead of fucking with mascara. I think I do get slightly better tips when I wear the crap, but god it's just such a hassle!

So far these things seem to be working. Here's hoping it wasn't just a temporary upswing, because I don't know what to do otherwise.


Amber said...

I feel your pain. I work day shift, and the tips are just terrible. I bend over backwards, take special pains to treat everyone like royalty, am *beyond* compliant, nice, always make the guests feel like every pain-in-the-ass thing they are asking me to do is "no problem" and an absolute joy, and I routinely get 10% like it is the top going rate for servers. *grrrrr* I would switch to dinner shift, but it is just too much for me. My brain gets all bipolary if I don't watch my sleep and keep normal hours.

AR Blac said...

So, I secretly read your blog all the time and you said you're allergic to make up? Oh man, same here. Suuucks. But my suggestion is go to a MAC store and tell them you're allergic, they'll fix ya up with their magic stuff. It saves me. Also, Smashbox and GOSH are sometimes cool.
Side note: Baby pictures idea. Genius.

strawberry said...

Damn, I typed out a nice long response but for some reason it didn't post.
I basically said.
I lurk here and read pretty much all your posts but when I read that you're allergic to makeup (?) I thought i'd suggest mineral makeup. I'm allergic to pretty much anything chemical so I find it really good.
I live in Aussieland the postage gets exxy for me, but I assume you live in the US so should be fine.
If/when you have some money to spare you might like to try it.

SkippyMom said...

I am loving all the tips on non allergenic make up. That's awesome! I am allergic to mascara and I am just like you PG - I forget when I DO where it and it smudges all over the place. And I can't wear foundation when I work because I sweat it all off.
I love the button idea.

ToofarIn said...

Wear make-up, I know it's a bitch, I never do either unless I REALLY have to, put the cutest baby pictures you can find on the front of your book and put some silly peppermints in your checkbooks when you drop 'em. You'll make more. People are dumb.

Kasey said...

Oh, man, I feel your pain girl. I work for a corporate chain too and while in the past they've been quite lacks about how we look, they've been stepping up the game a bit. So far, they haven't said anything to me about my appearance, but I'm just waiting. I take full advantage of their silence (and I think they know it). In short, I look like me but I also embrace the waitress stereotype. Up-do, makeup (sometimes I even go for sparkles on the eyelids), bracelets, rings, a necklace, painted nails, and for full effect (as well as to keep my sanity), a piece of gum. I admit, I look like a glammed-out New Age server, but it seems to work and I stand out among the rest of folks who make the uniform too...uniform. So kudos to you for wanting to make yourself more "you."

As for the makeup issue, I agree with AR Blac. Get a few key pieces at MAC and it will brighten your day. I used to have problems with drugstore brands (puffy, itchy eyes, yuck) and switched to more expensive brands. It hits your pocketbook but the stuff lasts forever. MAC's a little intimidating at first, but you get used to them wandering around and following you after a bit. :)

And unfortunately, if you act a little like a dumbass airhead, that seems to win over the guys. Like ToofarIn said, people are dumb.

Good luck!

barista brat said...

love the song reference ;)

Anonymous said...

Okay I think the problem here is that you're trying to be too weird. If you want to make decent tips- look nice and be nice. Don't be too over the top with the jewelry and buttons. Your customers seem to be conservative/white-trashy people...and those type of people like normalcy. The weirder you get, the more customers might be turned off towards you.

Also, it might be an issue with your weight. You have hinted throughout your blog that are overweight. I worked with this girl who was so overweight that the button down shirt the restaurant required us to wear would barely fit her and the buttons literally looked like they were about to pop off any moment. Additionally, her belly would be covered in food stains and iced tea because when she leaned against the counter, her pronounced stomach would soak up anything it touched. Her appearance looked sloppy and although she was nice, she consistently received poor tips.

What I just stated above, I am honestly not saying it to be rude. I have followed your blog for a long time and have read every single post. You are obviously an experienced server, seeing as you have worked years with your current company. However, if what you're saying is true, about the discrepancy between one server making a 100 dollars and you making only 40- then the obvious problem here is you.

Good luck and I hope I didn't offend you. I am a very blunt person and I only wish the best for you.

Anonymous said...

I have nothing to say except: Anon, you may not have intended to be rude, but you were. You're basically saying, "I know you probably know enough to make good tips since you're experienced, but I'm going to tell you how to do things anyway even though I don't have a fucking clue what I'm talking about."

When you wait tables, a discrepancy between 40-100 dollars can happen with only ONE or TWO tables a night. If they fuck you, you don't make money. Often tips don't have a fucking thing to do with the server since most people already know what they're going to tip before they ever walk in the door.

Don't use "bluntness" and "tact" as an excuse for being an asshole.

purplegirl said...

Amber, I've worked some lunch shifts, and I think they're the same everywhere. Because if you work during the day, you must not need money, right? Dumbasses.

AR Blac & Strawberry, thanks for coming out of lurk-mode! I appreciate your suggestions, but I actually meant I'm allergic to everything in the air. :) Makeup only bothers me because my eyes itch from pollen, dust, mold, etc.

Hi Skippy! Hope the makeup suggestions help you. :)

TooFarIn, I've thought about the mints thing before, but I wouldn't eat anything that'd been in a servers apron! :)

Kasey, I like the picture you paint of your work 'uniform'. :) I don't have it in me to act like an airhead, though. Other than I cheerfully blame mistakes on being blonde! :)

Barista Brat, I knew you'd get it! :)

FMT, I love your brand of bluntness!

purplegirl said...

Anonymous, I'm answering you separately because I thought my comment might get too long.

I think you may have misunderstood what I was saying. For example, the buttons: from a distance, it just looks like my shirt has red buttons on it instead of the black ones it came with. Up close, you can see they're ladybugs. But they're really not obvious. I also am not wearing crazy over the top jewelry. For example, today I wore silver star-shaped earrings that dangled about an inch; two plain silver bangles; a fake sapphire pendant (obviously fake because it's bigger than my thumb) on a thin chain, and one silver ring on each hand. Hardly excessive. I had my hair in a basic ponytail. Trust me, I don't look "weird."

As far as offending me, you truly haven't. I do think you comparing me to your former coworker clearly shows how our society labels all fat people as slothful, slobby, and gross. If I had said that I was black, and wondered if they people in the area tipped me less because of it, would you have told me about the slobby black server you used to work with? But 'fat' conjures up a certain image, which your coworker supposedly fit in to (though if her shirt didn't fit, and the company provided it, then they should have provided a larger one. And if her shirt is wet because it soaked up water, what exactly was she supposed to do about it? And how does your shirt being wet make you look like a slob, rather than someone who spilled something?).

And since I'm fat, I probably fit it too, right? I must walk around popping out of my clothes, covered in stains, and probably smelling bad to boot. I am not saying that's what you were implying -- I'm saying that's the societal connotation of 'fat'.

I'm not offended or bothered on a personal level at all; like I said, I think the ideas your comments portray are a society-wide thing, and that's exactly why I think my tips are worse than some of the skinny girls'.

Jen said...

I agree with FMT. I think people have a set amount that they are prepared to spend on their evening out. Unfortunately for the servers, most of the wiggle room in the budget is in the tip amount. Hope your changes work!

Kasey said...

Purple Girl, the airhead thing does get tiring. After being at the chain for four years, my attitude is more apathetic than anything. Once in a while I do the airhead thing just to piss people off. LOL :)

Flippingtables said...

When you work in a profession where you and your customers are simultaniously judging eachother and hoping for a decent outcome at the end of your short experience together, it makes for a tense siuation. I understand the approach issues...just be yourself! Obviously it our job to be happy and smiling, but if you have had a bad morning or day before you start dealing with the unpleasable find a moment of quiet time, bathroom, car, cig break, and reflect on it and smile. Then your day or evening may roll along better! I do it often! hahah. check me out!

yellowcat said...

"Baby flavoured donuts". Freaking awesome! :)