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I worked the industry for about eight years while trying to get my degree in education. Yes, eight years for a degree and yes, tried. The fact of the matter is that once you’re in, you’re in. To this day I still hold a shift in a little neighborhood pizza joint because the owner is a friend and he likes me being there to “set an example” to new employees ( attitude, showing up, dress…etc..etc..) I don’t mind, my friend is dear to me and I want him to succeed. BUT, something must be done about minimum wage is the service industry, it’s down right criminal. Here’s my crazy story by the way. Served a large table 24ppl and they all wanted seperate checks. Guess what? They all tipped 10% on their seperated check. Here’s another one. Bartending, and “Joe” the local ‘ol guy you respect because he’s a veteran and he won’t let you forget that fact, proceeds to hit on the younger clientle at your bar. He’s starting to creep out some of the kids so you pull him aside and politely ask to tone it down. Guess what? Joe, now “ol drunk Joe, starts his diatribe about how his piss ant bartender has no respect for him and shouldn’t tell him what or what not to drink…blah,blah,blah,blah…ultimately yelling at the owner the next day because all he can remember is that he was embarrased in front of pretty ladies. Ending result, Owner doesn’t want to piss off regular and owner is an old cuss himself, suspends you for a week. Here’s another. Four top walks in for Sunday brunch, all of which reek of the night before. Tad (let’s just call him that, because he looks like one) and obvious leader of this double couple, wearin’ whatever jersey team is playing that day and usually the most highly paid player on the roster. For some reason, ass clowns like Tad always wear the jersey of the highest paid player on their team that they root for, there must be a scientific study about this, nonetheless, Tad is usually the loudest and most passive aggressive customer your gonna deal with today. Why? Because Tad is the infulencial orderer. You don’t know who that is? Let me give you an example. Me: Good Morning, welcome to _______ what can I get you a drink this morning? Tad: DUDE, what up?! I’m gonna start off with a coffee, oj, water and a coke. And you know what? Could ya’ add a Bloody Mary with that? Double, in a tall glass. The other three at the table all agree and order the same thing. What’s the problem here? Already I’m starting to wonder how am I going to fit all of these drinks as well as there food on the table. But I have the werewithall Right? And, I always like a challenging enviorment to work in right? That’s at least what management described to me during training. Training, by the way, no one ever gets paid for, didn’t know that little gem did you? Anyhow, back to Tad and long story short. Tad orders off the menu and I mean “OFF” what is written in front of him on the menu, his lambs follow suit, and proceeds to tell me that “I know Brian the chef, he’s cool with it.” Well, if he knows Brian,and I can’t find my floor manager cause he’s online in the office, here comes the order. BOOM!!! “WHO THE F7CK ORDERED THIS TICKET?!!!!” Brian screams from the expo line. I did, I says, while pushing aside like forty tickets in the window. He says he knows you and he orders it like this every Sunday. Boy was I wrong. You can imagine what followed, with floor manager and corrections and substitutions not being granted. Turns out Tad didn’t know Brian our chef but he knew his name. But, because the customer is always right and their dining experience was less than stellar, guess who ate the check? Guess who didn’t at least tip? Guess who didn’t eat that day? Guess who felt like elephant poop when Tad’s female friends looked down on you like you were the most ignorant sycophant in the world? That’s right, me. Would I support raising the tipped minimum wage? Absolutely Living off tips is hard and very telling of what kind of person you really are, some are made of jelly and can’t defend themselves, some stay in the industry and live every day wondering how much they’re going to make. Others continue with their education and end up being a teacher like me, who teach children not to treat anyone with disrespect, especially people in the service industry because you never know, in the near future, you just might be working a service job to make ends meet. Cheers and goodluck! -Rich