Overworked and Underpaid: The Life of a Servant sample essay
$2. 85 cannot even buy one gallon of regular gas, who could imagine that that is my hourly wage. Waitresses and housekeepers are stereotypically female roles, however, people are unaware of what’s behind the smile. My jobs as a housekeeper and waitress are both tough because of the lack of pay, customer service, and dirtiness. Some jobs really don’t get the amount of pay they deserve; both housekeeping and serving would fall into this category. In Wisconsin, minimum wage of a server is less than half of standard minimum wage.
Not all people are bad tippers, but it’s hard not to get discouraged when you’re making mediocre money and receiving, at best, a forty to sixty dollar paycheck every two weeks. After a slow night, a party of ten walked in just minutes before the kitchen closed. Needing money for school, I took the group, not knowing how demanding they would be. After waiting on them hand and foot, bending over backwards to give them great service, their bill amounted to over two hundred thirty dollars. As I collected their bill, they informed me of how great of an experience they had and how well of a job I had done.
Upon counting the money, I found that they had left me a measly twenty five dollars for all of the effort I put in. When you go out with a bigger group to a restaurant, naturally you tip twenty percent because of the extra work it takes to wait on you. I don’t find this a problem considering the minimum amount to tip a waitress is fifteen percent, according to sources. Housekeepers, however, work at a higher pay, but not much above the minimum wage, which isn’t nearly enough compensation, considering what they have to deal with. Unlike waitressing, housekeeping requires longer hours, and more strenuous work.
On average, I had ten to fifteen rooms a shift, and on top of that, at least two large loads of linens to fold. Upon receiving my paychecks, I was always disappointed at the small amount left over after taxes and other deductions. There was one instance, however, that I found twenty dollars in an empty room. Underneath it was a note saying, “Thank you! ” Even though this was a rare occurrence, it was always nice knowing the recognition some of the tenants gave us for our hard work.
But how much is enough? This leads me to customer service, which is a privilege, not a right. Smile and bring the customers whatever they need” the general advice given from many business owners in the service industry. This is much easier said than done. Ninety-nine percent of the people I wait on are pleasant, but there have been a handful of incidents where I had to bite my tongue in order to refrain from yelling, or even worse, quitting. A common misconception from unsatisfied restaurant customers is that the server prepares the food—our sole job is to submit a ticket to the kitchen staff what food you need so it can be served in a timely manner.
I waitress at a bar and grill right on Main Street in my hometown. It receives more business from local and non-local patrons than other restaurants in the area. In reality, our kitchen is not nearly big enough to keep up with our outside patio and inside tables in the summer. There was an instance this summer during Friday night fish fry where we were completely slammed. Upon greeting my customers, I informed them there would be a wait on pizzas—seeing as that was a hot commodity for the evening. That table decided that they would wait, ordered a pizza, and wait they did.
They continuously asked when their food was out during the course of their visit and grew more and more mad the more they asked. I was able to get out the food right before they almost left without even eating, they were rude to me the whole time, only because of how long the food took. Not recognizing that this was not at all my fault, they decided that it would be appropriate to not even leave me a dime on their seventy-five dollar bill. I was astonished at how inconsiderate and rude some people could be when the time of the service of the food had nothing to do with me.
On the other hand, customer service can be very rewarding as well. When I house kept, I had the pleasure of making someone’s whole day by giving them a clean space to reside in. One time a toddler requested a toothbrush because he forgot his. Upon returning with his toothbrush he was so polite and just made my whole day. More times than not, customer service can be rewarding, but there’s always a little dirtiness in every job. If you thought dirty described your household or the dishes in your kitchen sink, you have no idea unless you’ve worked in a restaurant or in housekeeping.
As a server, you handle hundreds of peoples’ dishes, and even more disgusting silverware, but that’s not even the tip of the iceberg; there are many other dirty situations you encounter while on the job. Over this past Labor Day weekend, in the midst of a dinner rush, a patron of the restaurant, had a little too much to drink and couldn’t get his dinner of brandy manhattans to the garbage or nearby bathroom, but instead all over my shoes. This is not the first or last time I will clean up vomit, I’m sure of it. As a housekeeper, you get a glimpse of how people live.
Unfortunately, it’s the side behind closed doors that’s not such a privilege to see. I could write a book about all of the disgusting things I saw in these absolutely disastrous rooms. One weekend there was a wedding party in town, and man did they like to party. I walked into the room and the linens were the least of my worries, I had to pick used condoms off the bed and vomit from the floor. Disgusted beyond belief I was, and that feeling doesn’t include the numerous amounts of clogged toilets I had to clean…I don’t tend to do well with feces.
This demonstrates a few different examples of why workers in these lines are underpaid, underappreciated, and unsanitary (at times). Sometimes, I really wonder if the small amount of pay, tears and stress from undeserving customers, and risk of disease (need I remind you of the condoms) is all worth it. However, then I remember that I could be unemployed and realize that I would definitely rather work. So if you’ve learned anything after reading this paper, remember to tip your service workers well, they usually always deserve it.
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