There is a great history behind this word. It goes back to the days of people having slaves and servants. In some ways people who are in service experience very much the same bullshit as previous generations. People in service tend to wear all black... with an apron, again this goes back generations. The idea is to blend in, be unseen, unremarkable, and a visual cue that they are lesser ie "the help", to create a sense of formality etc. Unfortunately attitudes towards people in service whether it be restaurant work, retail, cleaning, massage, nail places or what have you are still condescended, I think often without meaning to.
People who haven't been in service rarely comprehend the work and often disgusting parts of the job. Most service people make very little with part time hours... usually its minimum wage or just slightly above, in some states terribly they don't even get that, it is entirely commission based (ie they live off of their tips). No benefits. Tips don't just go to the server, more often then not they go to the cooks, this can range from place to place but generally there is more than one... ,the dishwasher, the busser/backwaiter, the host, the bartender and then finally the server. That's a lot of people your little tip goes to support. One of my biggest pet peeves is people who don't tip on to go orders, the server still takes your order and gets it right, the cooks still cook your food and the dishwasher still washes whatever pans etc are used in the making of it. The busser is usually the person that packages it all up and the bartender... well often they are the first one on the scene of the restaurant to make sure the place is clean and neat and everything all set up for service. There are usually no breaks federal law blah blah... it just doesn't happen 5 and more hours non stop running around, not eating, grabbing a sip of water on the rare occasion.
People can be very rude and disgusting. I came in yesterday to work and was cleaning the bathrooms and I kid you not there was the biggest shit ever in the toilet of the mens bathroom... (WHO DOESNT FLUSH?!), food is spilt on the floor, gum is left under tables and chairs. People come in cranky and there is no pleasing them, they patronize and contradict and make snarky comments.. all of this is common. Its unfortunate.
So Why be in Service??? Why do I do it? I can only speak to the food industry
Different people do it for different reasons... The people who do it because they love the art of food and good service (I fall in this category) do it for the art, to bring something really special to your table, to provide excellent service and delightful memories. There is a theatricality to good service, focus on presentation and tone and gesture and moments where we impact others lives.
There are the customers who make it magical, who let you into their lives, who express their joy and gratitude and who share their stories and moments with you and make you part of whatever special moment they are having. We get to be a part of first dates, engagements, rehearsal dinners, business meetings, vacations all manner of other moments happy and sad.
It's important to Tip, if there is an option to tip... do it and be generous. It says thank you. It helps those people who are in service who very often are in service because they are pursuing some other dream, acting, music, visual arts, what have you. More often than not they have chosen a less desirable job so they can pursue a greater passion or schooling. They need those tips. It pays their bills, there medical visits, their rent, and their dreams.
Remember those in service are not a servants, they have lives and dreams too, be kind and know they go through a lot to make your experience nice.
About the Blog
I've been blogging on and off for years. This is my area to explore healing, food, wine, travel and various thoughts on life. My goal: Be True. Be Kind. Heal. Dream. Inspire. Discover. Create.