I cannot narrow this down to the single most absurd thing that’s happened to me in 9 years. People are bountiful with hilarity often times in the most negative ways and in this profession, you’re whole working life becomes absurd. I’ve encountered most often disparaging and sometimes abusive sexual harassment and facetious condescending humor but, our income depends on our patients and wherewithal. I had a table walk out on a $109 tab and I had to pay for it. That was all the money I made that night working until 4am (we closed at 2, emptied out at 3 and had to clean and do paper work). It’s illegal to make employees do that but they’d fire us if we refused and we need our jobs and a bulk of our experience is within this kind of work. At 2.13 an hour, all of our paycheck goes to taxes. Customers pay basically the entirety of our income and we are totally dependent on them and that does make you feel desperate. We have to put up with everything thrown at us with a smile and we have to tip out support staff based on our sales. If I only get %15 in tips that night based on $700 in sales, I make $105 and due to the standards of where I work, I will have to tip out around $40. I lose around $500 a month just due to that because as “support staff” employers are allowed to pay them less and make us accountable for it. It gives you absolutely no stability which snowballs into stress and when you have a kitchen that’s not up to par, you can’t serve people in a timely fashion and when you’re serving people on top of that that don’t “agree with tipping” that sometimes stiff you, you lose money. As I understand it, the government assumes we make a percentage of our sales in tips, so what we pay in taxes in based on our sales. If your bill is $50 and you tip $5, I am actually not making any money to wait on you. If you don’t tip at all, I’m going into my own pocket to wait on you. It’s terrible that we have to expect money from people, it’s not fair to them or us. People assume that if they are forced to tip, the server will be lazy and not take care of them. I have gone above and beyond in a lot of cases to be tipped a few bucks because people don’t like to tip. If I know I am making a sustainable wage, I’d be able to do my job with so much more mental and emotional ease. I wouldn’t have to worry about table 72 taking 3 sips of coffee so I need to get them a new one so they’ll feel tended to, greet table 71 party of 8 and stress about them saying they’re ready to order drinks while they take 10 minutes to discuss the menu while I’m standing their idly with my little pad and pen and can’t move because they’ll think it rude and not tip and also needing to bus table 76 so it gets seated again and I can keep up with my turn over, and oh crap, now table 78’s food is probably in the window and they’re looking at me like I’m lazy because they’re on a lunch break and expect their food 6 minutes after they order it and it’s been 10. %15 on top of 2.13 that we never see is not a livable income anymore. Living off tips is soul-sucking.