So, I had a job! Yay!
A friend's brother's friend has a bar slash restaurant. Mostly bar.
He was looking for extra help during the Super Bowl.
Yadda yadda yadda I served beer, nachos, fried cheese curds and something called fried pizza. Don't ask. Some things are best kept mysterious.
Oh. And lemon-limeade. Vodka and lemon-lime Kool-ade.
But mostly I carried a lot of beer from the bar to tables. Tables of thirsty football fans.
I was asked to report early to help prep for the big game. Which translated to cutting limes and lemons.
Fine by me! I was excited and honored to have the opportunity to work!
Okay, I should probably clarify.
Technically I wasn't "working" in the "exchange labor/skills for a paycheck" sense. Technically I was working in the "exchange labor for whatever loose change patrons choose to leave on the table after they leave" sense.
But it was Super Bowl Sunday, the Green Bay Packers were playing, it was a bar slash restaurant 25 miles from the Wisconsin border, I mean, cha ching, right?! So what if I "worked" three hours of prep time without collecting tips, so technically, three hours free labor for the owner of the bar slash restaurant? Really, I didn't mind. I was happy for the opportunity to do something, to be part of a work environment, even if it was just one afternoon/evening at a bar slash restaurant.
The friend who lined up the job for me also got her niece in on the Super Bowl Sunday beer and snack transporting gig. Her niece is 21. A college senior. A 21-year-old college senior desperately wanting to go on Spring Break in a few weeks.
We met at my friend's house and shared a ride to our Super Bowl Sunday work-site.
I know! A coworker! Carpooling! Awesome!! It felt so good to be working again!!
My 21-year-old coworker "couldn't get the hang of" cutting lemons and limes so she helped turn on all the televisions and learned how to use the remotes so when things got busy she'd know how to adjust the volume. We all had a vital role to play on the Super Bowl Sunday restaurant slash bar team! Go team!!!
The game started at 5:00 but there was the whole pre-game show(!), so patrons started arriving around 2:00.
That was pretty much the last time I looked at a clock.
I was too busy ferrying beer and snacks from the serving station to tables of thirsty and hungry patrons. Initially I was supposed to focus on four tables. Nice and easy, just four tables. The more senior-level servers would have more tables. My college senior coworker was also given four tables to manage.
But, she got a nice on-the-job perk! Before kick-off she had already met a nice young man at one of her tables! Romance was definitely in the air!
She asked me to cover two of her tables so she could have a little extra time to focus on the table where her new beau was seated. Who am I to stand in the way of a budding romance?! Of course I agreed to cover two of her tables! Ahhhhh, love. So cute.
Plus, she had the remote control television volume to manage, too. So. You know. She was doing a lot of multi-tasking. Multiple concurrent projects.
Twelve hours after I walked into work I ended my work day with $102.37. That works out to $8.53/hour. Cha ching. One table of six people drank and ate $175 worth of beer, tequila shots and fried pizza over the course of five hours. And left me a whole $10 bill. To be fair, one of them only drank water and didn't eat much, so, you know, you have to take that into the tip consideration. Water's free so the fact that I carried a fresh glass, fresh ice every time her glass was near empty isn't worth anything - because water's free. Of course no one has to tip anything. It's at the patron's discretion. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining about that $10. I am honored and humbled by their generosity.
And I'm probably just not very good at serving. I'm a rookie, I have to expect rookie caliber tips.
My college-senior co-worker pocketed $463.85! $35.65/hour! And she only worked two tables! I know, she's really
good at it! And she was lucky, she had two really generous tables of patrons, young guys with lots of cash and credit cards. She also came away with several phone numbers and email addresses! She said she liked that one guy a lot, the most, but she's keeping her options open. And, $463.85! Spring Break, baby! Spring Break!
She said the two tables I covered for her didn't leave much in the way of tips, but she split it with me - another $15 for me! I know! I'm so lucky to have such a great co-worker!
We carpooled back to my friend's house and then I took the train and a bus home. The round-trip commute expense was $13, but thanks to my co-worker's generosity, that $15 she gave me for covering two of her tables covered my commute expense.
Of course I'm in no position to complain about work. And I'm not complaining. Really. Honestly, I am thrilled to have $104.
And of course pretty, young girls serving beer earn more money in tips than unattractive, older women. Of course. There are entire bar slash restaurant franchises based on this principle.
I worked. I was on my feet for 12 solid hours and hustled a lot of beer, shots and fried stuff. Beer, in glasses and pitchers, is heavy. But they don't charge by the pound, they charge by the glass, and there were many beer specials so the patrons were drinking a lot but not spending much money so, even the ones who did the "fair" 15% tip for a lot of beer were leaving $5 - $7. Again, not complaining. I'm happy to have the chance to work. I'm just saying...if you're drinking $2 beers for six hours, you're spending on average $18 - $24 on beer, maybe leaving a $5 tip if you're feeling generous. I dunno. It's a hard way to make an unpredictable income.
My college senior co-worker is ready to make a career out of it though. And she's right, she'll be lucky to find any job when she graduates in May, much less one that will pay her $35/hour. So after her successful Super Bowl serving gig she's pumped to take on more serving challenges.
Here's what I'm wondering. "Thoughts Upon Waiting Tables at a Bar Slash Restaurant."
Do men really tip more generously to young, pretty servers?
Taken at face value, based on my one day of experience, the answer is obviously: Yes.
So. If you're either or both unattractive and over the age of 28, is it "worth" serving, waiting tables, especially in a bar slash restaurant environment where the majority of patrons are men?
My theory is: No. I waited on six tables to her two, ferried three times the amount of beverages and food as my younger, prettier co-worker and yet I garnered 1/4 the amount of tips she earned. Of course I wasn't handling the television remotes, so, you know, that has to be factored into the equation.
This may sound bitter. But I'm not bitter. I'm happy for the opportunity to work my behind off for 12 hours and earn $104. There's no point in comparing my earnings to anyone else. Except, going forward, are there more lucrative serving gigs for women who are not attractive and/or under the age of 28? Or is this just an assumed fact in the serving world? The less attractive and older you are, the less you will be tipped? And if so, then, should less attractive and/or older people leave the serving, and higher tips, to the pretty and younger crowd?
Because let's look at this another way. If I hadn't been there, my college senior co-worker would have had to handle her four tables and maybe at least two of mine. Presuming my attractive/age theory is correct, and using her $463 for two tables as the assumed "norm," we add two more tables to her evening's work and she nets $926 for four tables. Add in two of my tables and she could have earned $1,389. Had I not been there she had the potential earnings of $1,389. Looking at it that way, it's wrong, evil, even, for an unattractive older person to stand in the way of a pretty, young woman's potential earnings. And kind of stupid. Why would I spend 12 hours on my feet schlepping heavy glasses and pitchers of beer to take home $104, when a pretty, younger woman could do the same work at those same tables and take home several times that amount? Since I'd be doing her a favor by not
taking those tables. Is it even fair for unattractive and/or older people to stand in the way of tip earnings pretty, younger people could earn?
I'm not trying to get out of work. If I have another opportunity to server beer and fried food to sports fans I'll grab it. I'll cut limes and slice lemons and even learn how to use television remote controls. But. Should I? Should I instead leave those jobs for prettier, younger people who can earn several times more money than I can doing the same work?
$104 v. $1,389. What's better for the economy and society in general? Someone earning $1,389 for 12 hours of work, or someone earning $104 for the same 12 hours of work?
Yes, of course I'm making a lot of presumptions. My co-worker had a little thing going with some of the guys and so, of course, they tipped her generously. That's not always going to happen. Not every table is going to be filled with young men eager to give up their cash in exchange for the phone number of the pretty girl serving him beer. But I think it's fair and reasonable to assume she would have garnered more tips than I did at my tables. (see above, entire franchises based on the pretty girls bring in business and tips business model) Even half the projected amount of $1,389, $694.50, a fair and realistic estimation, is far more than my $104 take and far better for the economy and society in general.
Yes, this is social engineering talk, it's Orwellian, but is there a hard truth and societal value to consider? If you are unattractive and/or over the age of 28, should you step aside and let the prettier, younger people garner higher tips so they have more money to spend and therefore contribute to the economy and therefore the societal greater good?
And if so, then, what do the unattractive and/or over the age of 28 people do for an income? What is their niche, where do they earn enough money to contribute to the economy and society? Where do they earn higher sums of money, hence giving them more money to spend and contribute to the economy and society in general? Or is there even a place for them, us, me? Are unattractive and/or older people just a burden to the economy and society?
Based on my experience waiting tables side-by-side with a prettier, younger woman the answer is obvious: Yes. I worked three times as hard and garnered less than a 1/4 of her tips. She earned more money than I did and now has more money to spend and put back into the economy than I do. Moving from Orwell to Darwin, based on those solid facts, I am a burden on the economy and society, I'm bringing down, holding back, the herd.
So, in the interest of evolution and the greater good, I spent my train ride home brainstorming the "best" careers/industries for people who are unattractive and/or over the age of 28. The requirements are: 1) Face/body not seen and 2) pay not based on subjective tips from customers.
Here's what I've come up with so far:
- Haz-mat worker
- Sewage worker
- Anything with animals - zookeeper, cow milker, egg gatherer, shepherd.
This helps me get a new perspective on my job hunt. Seeing my place in the societal evolution chain helps me realize it's about finding a job best suited not to my skills/talents/aptitudes. It's about finding a job that's appropriate for my place in society. An unattractive, single, over the age of 28-year-old woman who wants to be part of the herd needs to step up to the economic needs of her herd and find a job appropriate to her place in the herd so that she can maximize her earning potential and then, in turn, contribute more to the economy of her herd.
I'm leaning toward shepherd. I like sheep, I like being outdoors in nature, I'm okay spending long spans of time alone. Seems like a good fit for me. And I owe this career and life changing epiphany to a Super Bowl waitressing gig.