“You know what this is? It’s the world’s smallest violin playing just for the waitresses.” – Mr. Pink

I don’t know any women who never worked in the service industry. In my early twenties, that was a job I could always get, be it at a chain like Village Inn serving pancakes and greasy fries or my favorite waitressing job, cocktail server at the pool hall.

Unlike most serving jobs, the pool hall paid us six bucks an hour instead of the usual two bucks and thirteen cents. The owner might have done that to show respect to his servers but in my case, being the budding alcoholic I was, that six bucks an hour just meant my tips went right back into the pool hall on my days off, drinking pitchers of Bud and playing nine ball.

I still worked hard for my tips even though my six bucks an hour paid the majority of my bills. I worked hard for my tips so I could have fun money but also just because I’ve always had a strong work ethic, especially when I enjoyed my job. For the most part, tips are an instant reward for hard work. Go out of your way to give great service and when you get a five spot on the table for a fifteen dollar tab, there’s a great since of pride. Not to mention those customers will seek you out when they return. I knew from experience from before I worked at the pool hall, that when I walked in the door to play, I’d look to see which side of the room my favorite server was working. When I started having customers do the same for me, it meant a lot. It also guaranteed I’d make some good drinking money.

Yes, the typical server wage is incredibly low, but if you’re good at your job, you can totally make it on your tips. Unless you have a customer like Mr. Pink, however.

(If you don’t like swearing, don’t click that Mr. Pink link. You were warned.)

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