I am generally unfazed by how low society can stoop. Every now and again, however, a real piece of work rears its ugly head. In American dining culture it is so commonplace to tip your waitstaff that the federal minimum wage for servers is $2.13 an hour.
For the rest of the toiling country, the standard is set at $7.25 an hour. The prevailing thought is the customers will foot the bill for a reasonable wage by tipping the waitstaff for their diligent efforts.
In most cases, people understand the rigors of being a server. The server is the face of whatever is going on behind the scenes in the kitchen, and usually people are able to delineate between issues that can be chalked up to poor service or issues that are beyond the server's control.
However, the system forgets a fundamental flaw of human nature. People are generally just not that nice. When they are hungry, they enter "hangry" mode. Hungry and angry people are terrible to deal with.
This was on full display recently when a waitress in New Jersey (way to show the world how great the Garden State is, fellas) was left a tip that simply said "LOL" where one usually scribbles in an amount anywhere from 10-20% of the bill total. The bill in this case was $112.00. A poor tip of 10% should have yielded this waitress a minimum of $11.20 and a good tip would have fetched $22.40.
Not in New Jersey, apparently.
The waitress' error? The amount of time it took the food to arrive from the kitchen. Perhaps these inconsiderate diners should be reminded that, unless the waitress lost the ticket, a backed-up kitchen is hardly the fault of the server.
There will always be an element of people that will be considered the lowest common denominator of society. We protect the rest of the working class from being taken advantage of outrageously by guaranteeing a wage more than 340% greater than those we chat with as our food is prepared and delivered. Perhaps we ought to revisit how our friends in the restaurant business are compensated.
People are worried that if waitstaff has a comparable minimum wage than the price of eating out will go up as restaurants juggle the higher overhead. To me, that seems like a bit of flawed logic. I already foot the bill in the form of a tip. So what if we remove the hidden cost at the end of the meal and just throw it on the front end?
At least I will know the true cost of my meal. At least the waitstaff will be insulated from people that aren't smart enough to know where to place blame for a late meal.
At least then the power of the purse will be taken away from those that think it's fun to laugh at depriving someone of their earned livelihood.