A View From The Bottom:A Waiters View Of The Credit Crisis

Worried about your 401K? Did you eat out this week? Did you tip well?

I am on the front lines. I wait tables and bartend at night. For some, the credit crunch just sunk in 3 weeks ago. Not for folks in the hospitality industry. The life of a tipped employee in the USA is a great economic measuring tool. You would think, as goes the economy, goes the waiter’s income. True. European service employees get hourly money. Me, not so lucky. For the industry, May 2008 was the worst I have ever seen in my 15 years in the business. September not too bad. I am an avid follower of the news. Maybe people are ignoring the full scope of the credit crunch, but my tips have actually gone up. I am making more money. I have a theory about this phenomenon. The idiotic, overspending, sub prime charity cases are finally staying home. Thank God. With less people, I am making better money. See, these people never tiped well. They didn’t know how to behave when given money to buy a house or buy goods, so why would they know how to compensate good service? For those people it was all Me, Me, Me. I for one, am glad they are eating at home. Sure they show up on the weekends still to grace me with my 10% tip. (I take those days off.) The people I see on a regular basis are now the people who still have money. The frugal customer. The people who invested well, refinanced at a fixed rate, paid their bills, and held themselves accountable for their own actions. They are just fine. You won’t read that in the news.

You see, living beyond your means starts at the point of purchase, me. I am not cheap, and I don’t come at a discount. The true effect of the current credit crisis is a verbal smack on the back of the head, and a literal slap at the wallet. Only the strong survive. For now, the chaff has been cleared. The weak consumers are being culled from the flock, and I am ecstatic. In my view, the worst is over. The worst offenders have already lost their houses, maxed out their credit cards, and have their flat screens repo’d.

What about the people teetering on the brink? Well they are the good people. The next people set to plunge are those who have weathered the storm. These people need help. Right-sizing their loans and interest rates should be a priority. They are more than welcome back at my establishment when they get their ship in order. The other unrepentant overspenders can stay home and cook for themselves. They can clean their own dishes, or take advantage of the wonderful dollar menus that many fast food joints now provide. That is where they should have been all along. Of course, this is the view of one waiter, from the bottom.

Nothing is enough for the man to whom enough is too little.-Epicurus



~ by gotea on October 8, 2008.

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