Being a server is hard work. You have to be a master multi-tasker, an expert schmoozer, and maybe even a part-time mind-reader. Plus, you always have to bring your A-game; on-the-job performance has a huge effect on your tips.
But recently, a waitress from LA who goes online by Deirdre made a TikTok, telling her followers she discovered an unusual way that allows her to pocket more money. And it doesn’t involve any extra effort per se. Just a dash of deceit.
Image credits: ddeirdreee
“Okay, so I’m a server in Los Angeles, and I discovered a really cool hack today”
“If you’re a server you should definitely use it too. So basically, I work at a brunch spot. And there’s a lot of families and a lot of kids. And today I had these people come in. Their kids made a mess. ‘Oh my god, I’m so sorry.’ And for some reason, instead of saying my usual, ‘Oh, that’s okay. I’ll clean it up.’ I said, ‘That’s okay. I have little ones at home.'”
Image credits: ddeirdreee
“And we were talking and they left me such a good tip. And so I did that all day”
“And they were like, ‘Oh, my God, like, how old are your kids?’ And I was like, ‘two and four. And they’re really cute, but they’re right at that age, you know, they don’t understand that, like, you know, can’t be, you know, pouring stuff all over the place.’ And we were talking and they left me such a good tip. And so I did that all day. And my tips were so much higher than they usually are. For the record. I’m 22 and I do not have children. But I just told people that I had kids and they left me like, hella tips.”
Her video quickly went viral
@ddeirdreee doing what i can💯💸 #fyp #foryou #server #serviceindustry #waitress #losangeles #serverhack ♬ original sound – deirdre🕊
The exact sum of how much a server earns can vary greatly depending on the employee’s experience and the part of the country where they work since areas with wealthier customers are generally able to charge more for goods and services and are more likely to pay their staff more.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) discovered that the bottom 10% of wait staff earned less than $8.59 per hour, while the top 10% could expect to earn more than $22.
Still, the BLS found that the mean annual wage of a waiter or waitress in 2021 was $29,010. This equates to $13.95 per hour on average. For comparison, the median income nationwide was $44,225. So it’s quite easy to understand what pushes servers to try such tactics.
And that’s what’s wrong with the system. When you think about it sociologically, when you earn a living at a restaurant, especially if you belong to the waiting staff, you’re essentially working for a different boss not just every day, but throughout the day.
Image credits: Wavebreakmedia (not the actual photo)
“You don’t actually work for the person you work for. And you know what? It’s bad for the employer, too,” Saru Jayaraman, who is the co-founder and co-director of the Restaurant Opportunities Center United (ROC United) and director of the Food Labor Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley, said.
“When you have a workforce that doesn’t work for you, and is firstly responsive to the consumer, that’s problematic. We hear from our partners all the time about how it leads to workers engaging in all kinds of non-malicious but less-than-ideal practices, like giving free drinks to people, and basically doing things that hurt the bottom line, because at the end of the day, they don’t really work for the employer, they work for the customer.”
Given how pervasive restaurant work is, especially for younger women, the problem is not only immediate. It also has broader, longer-lasting consequences. “It’s the reality for six million women in America,” Jayaraman added. “Six million women are tipped workers in America. But for millions more, this is the first job in high school, college, or graduate school, and that’s extremely troubling.”
“It completely skews the way in which they are taught what is acceptable and tolerable in the workplace. I have had women come to me to tell me they were sexually harassed in their corporate job, but that they didn’t do anything about it because it wasn’t nearly as bad as when they were working in the restaurant industry … So the industry is essentially setting the standard for what is tolerable in the workplace. And it’s setting a very low bar.”
Regardless of how you feel about Deirdre’s new “hack”, I hope we can agree that it’s a result of the very flawed industry, not personal personal malice.
And people had a lot to say about it
Some disagreed with the approach, though