Is America Burning - a Forum To Discuss Issues

All comments welcome, pro or con. Passionate ok, but let's be civil. ...Pertinent comments will be published on this blog. Air your viewpoints.


Skyline - Houston, Texas

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Minimum Wage + Tips = Starvation?

I was looking back through Alternet a few minutes ago and found an article on tipping in the United States. It was an eye opener.

One of my first jobs after high school was as a waitress (we were called that then) at a small chain restaurant in Buffalo. I stayed just long enough to know I wanted no part of it. I worked the counter for the most part and tips were small to non-existent.

Moving forward to today. I didn't realize that some servers receive no salary at all. They are entirely dependent on tips. Professional servers in the upscale restaurants do quite while but the majority, usually young people or those without education or training for anything else are living far below poverty level. Most must participate in a tip pool so hard work and good service doesn't mean a lot. The minimum wage in many states is set at a lower level in many states, one as low as $2.15/hour on the theory that tips will make up the difference. They are taxed on estimated tips. And benefits? Not likely. Even when they exist, servers don't usually have enough hours in a week to qualify. Restaurant owners aren't stupid; just venal in many cases.

The article even cites racism as one of the factors. I hadn't thought about that either. The days worked, the times of day, the clientele, all figure in.

The servers who do very well would, I'm sure, like to keep tipping.

I'd like to see it end and servers paid a decent wage for their work. I'd be glad to pay a little more for a meal and know the server was able to keep a roof over her (usually) head and feed the kids. Or that the older woman working those tables had a decent home to return to at the end of a long day.

In any event, that's just my personal opinion and I'd be interested in what others think.

Oh, before I forget, we're blessed with another troll with a url that leads nowhere. (Not you, Carrie). He thinks I have way too much time on my hands (or that Worried American does - I'm not sure). We all know who the one with too much time on his hands is, don't we.



  • At Sunday, April 30, 2006 4:36:00 PM , Blogger JBlue said...

    Carrie's not a troll. She's just expressing her First Amendment rights in her own way.

    I don't understand why these people aren't paid a decent wage, as you say. I tried to be a waitress early on in college. I was the world's worst. Dropped a knife in some guy's lap. Men can be so touchy about such things. (Sigh.) Anyway, it's not easy work, and I always treat them with respect because I remember how badly I sucked at that job. I also tip as well as I can.


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