Before I became a mother, before I became Student Nurse Becky, before I became Your Aunt Becky, I was something else entirely.

(no, not a mail-order bride)

(like anyone would pay for that)

I was a waitress. Well, before that, I was a hostess and after I turned twenty-one, I bartended, too. In fact, working in restaurants is the only thing besides blogging that I’ve managed to do for more than a couple of months.

There was something electrifying about working in a place where so many people had to work in unison to achieve a common goal: namely, make as much money as possible with the least amount of effort. Of course, there was much effort involved. Carrying trays of hot food, trying to keep it on your shoulder, not trip over other servers while avoiding the crotch parasites that were always underfoot during the dinner rush.

The Us VS Them attitude (staff versus customers) united the lot of us. Didn’t matter who you were or where you came from, so long as you weren’t a jackass to the other servers.

You have some assbag at Table 65 staring you down because the kitchen fucked up your order and it’s late, and you get why they’re mad, but it’s not ACTUALLY your fault, but you can’t really explain that to them, because it sounds like a classic case of “pass the buck, SERVER EDITION?”

Send your friend, the one who can heap on the fake-sweetness without seeming insincere, over with their food when it pops up.

I worked in restaurants from the moment I turned 16 to age 23. The hours were flexible, which meant I could work weekends, and I’d make more money in a couple of hours than I’d make working all day in retail.

waitressing-serving-rules

After work, the servers would sit around, drinking and shooting the shit. The sense of camaraderie made all of the bullshit we’d put up with worth it. We were an instant party, hitting up the bars that served late after we’d closed down. If you needed something; anything, you could count on the staff helping out. I have no doubt that if I’d murdered someone, my work friends would be there with black garbage bags and shovels to help bury the body. Without question.

Being a server also meant we fucked around a lot. There was the Pizza Suit we’d all take turns running around the restaurant wearing, the beers we’d sneak into the cooler and chug and this, the best thing ever.

old-man-in-thong

This was the picture I’d carefully taped onto the front of my server’s book. I have to wonder how many people wondered what the fuck was wrong with me (more than normal). I’d never mention the picture to my tables, it was just THERE.

I stopped serving when I realized I was burnt out. Being asked for another Coke would be enough to set me off. I’d seethe as I handed them the Coke I’d ALREADY POURED.

HOW DARE YOU ASK ME FOR SOMETHING I ANTICIPATED?

But before I left, I learned how important tips are for a server.

In Illinois, at least, I made $3.29 an hour, minus 10 cents each hour for food (company policy). That $3.29 was taxed to DEATH, as the government assumed we’d make cash tips.

That meant that most of the “paychecks” I got were between two and four dollars. Every two weeks.

Occasionally, I’ve lamented that I never actually framed the checks I’d received for $0.00. Asinine. The company had PAID to print said check.

Hil-arious.

As a blogger, I never expected to make money. I do the occasional freelance thing, but the concept of “money” and “blogging” seemed as odd as blogging, itself.

I’d joined BlogHer ad network awhile ago and was content until I noticed my checks grow smaller and smaller as my readership increased.

Huh. Inversely proportional ad network?

I dropped them once the checks grew so abysmal that I was actually offended.

Anyway, last week, I got my final check.

check-for-one-cent

I am SO framing that.

 

Comments = full of the awesome. Like gravy. I can haz an RSS RSS feed .

49 Responses to Finally, Something I Can ACTUALLY Frame. Unlike Those Pesky Kid-Pictures.

  • Jana A says:

    Don’t frame it. Take that shit to the bank. It’ll get you far in life!

  • Sandi says:

    Ha! I just clicked on one of your ad links – just giving something back.

  • Pam/Wordgirl says:

    Seriously it’s creeping me out now — either we have a ton in common or I’m not as unique as I supposed.

    I should write the post about my entrance into waitressing at the Perkins overnight shift (oh wait, I have) dealing with the drunks and strippers –and culminating in my work at the hotel restaurant with the partying waitstaff who figured out how to scam the brunch crowd.

    More than any other profession being a waitress sticks with me. I still have that dream where I need to prep tray of waters — and everything comes out of the spigot except water.

    Good times.

    That is not a glowing recommendation for monetizing the blog….

  • jael says:

    Totally groove on the server-flash-back idea.

    Waited tables to get through school.

    Still have nightmares about getting triple seated when the kitchen is in the weeds and am startled to realize that I am naked under my apron.

    Wake up covered with sweat and trembling.

    Sad to know BlogHer has such a tight purse too.

    • Your Aunt Becky
      Twitter: mommywantsvodka
      says:

      MAN, I still have those nightmares too. Never naked, just a thousand tables I can’t serve. I’m always stuck standing there, unable to get to the tables who wall want weird things.

  • Well there goes the neighborhood. One cent? I thought I was doing bad with the Google Ads I used to have on my site. I’d be all, “The blog is doing well. I’m up to $1.24. Over the past six months.”

  • I love it! I’m totally NOT trying to be a career waitress (ha ha) but the damned tips vs paycheck amount is enough to keep you stuck smiling at assholes who come telling you they’re hungry! Because really, I thought they all came in to just take a load off their fat asses, not actually eat!
    My first blog began as a rant against all my customers. A place where I could say all the shit I had to keep in while on the clock, trying to smile hard for another dollar. I’ve since added more to my team that are based more on the mothership of my mini-mes and more bloggish than just a waitress’s crazy thoughts, but Bitchings of Mine began as a waitress rant. I knew there was a reason I loved my new Aunt Becky, not just because she’s already blogged about everything I thought. But because she was once a half ninja half jedi super waitress like me!

  • magpie says:

    OK, that is the best check ever.

  • Caroline says:

    @jael–And I thought I was the only one who had flashbacks of serving. Usually I am being screamed at by the fat scheduler (who wouldn’t give me Thanksgiving eve off unless I ‘visited downtown’) b/c I placed screwed up a seating arraignment. The hostess sat “his best customers” in my section and bullied me out of that table. I still see his fat, beady eyed face staring at me in my nightmares.
    @Aunt Becky–I LOVE YOUR PIC. I totally would have snorted Diet Coke out of my nose if you had walked up to my table w/ that picture.

  • Kelly says:

    It always amuses me when you receive checks that literally are worth less then the paper they are printed on, I see a lot of them, so I actually know. They actually had to pay .44 to mail that to you.

    You got one over on them Aunt B, you did…

  • Jaci says:

    Oh, wow. What’s funny is that .01 cent is two separate page clicks. (At least that was my old BlogHer contract of earning 1/2 of .01 cent per page click–if I actually made any money off the ads running which–sucka, please–they were mostly house ads that earned zero of 1/2 of zero.)

    There are people earning money off their blogs–and they aren’t me!

    Total side note, but I think the only mommy blogs making real money are the ones offering “homemaker advice” (coupons, anyone?) that companies want to latch onto. The entertaining, hilarious, sometime foul blogs are way underpaid.

    I want to see that change. Because who the fuck cares about coupons?

    • Your Aunt Becky
      Twitter: mommywantsvodka
      says:

      I care. Very very MUCH about coupons.

      I kid, I kid. And you’re right: I want to see the change, too. I feel it’s coming. Honestly. Companies will see that authenticity, not a Palmolive Ad, is what people want. If I want an ad disguised as a blog post, I’ll put on my TV.

  • That is hilarious. They paid more for the stamp then they did for the check. I have no fun tale of being a waitress. I only worked in retail hell.

  • Pam says:

    I played at waitressing through college but discovered that my attitude may have been thwarting my efforts at making good tips.

    WTH on the checks getting smaller with increasing readers????

  • Penbleth says:

    Aww shoot. Hub was convinced he could retire early and live off my ill-gotten gains when I haul in £1000s each month. Have to get another plan.

  • Anne says:

    Damn, Becky, this blogger gig has you raking in the dough! Or, you know, not.

    Everything you describe about being a server sounds like what we dealt with working at Disneyland. Those really nice castmembers that put the kid on Dumbo, may be going out later and tossing back beers while critiquing your parenting.

    I never worked as a waitress, but I had friends who did, and in CA, servers were taxed on a percentage of everything they sold. So, if you had a crappy patron who didn’t tip at least 15%, you could actually be paying taxes on money you never made. I have made sure to check on that in different states. I tip minumum 15% and higher for good service. But I never want anyone to lose money because of me.

    I do think you need to frame that check. You know, to cheer you up on days when you don’t think you’re worth enough. ;-)

  • MommyLisa says:

    What the ??? Seriously? That was your check from them? Too bad.

  • MiniPeds says:

    I always had to laugh (even when stamps were cheaper) at my paychecks that were worth less than the postage it cost to send them.

  • Johi says:

    I’m so confused! And not about the picture of the man on the beach because I totally get that.
    WTF? Maybe they are taking away money every time you use a swear word?Next time they will send you a bill. “You owe us $.75 for using the words ASS, FUCK, WHORE and taking the Lord’s name in vain.”

  • Que says:

    If you’d like, I could double your money by giving you my 2 cents worth.

  • I can just imagine you talking shit about your patrons. HAHAHA…we get a quarterly dividend on a stock we don’t know how to get rid of for $.06. 4 times/year since forever. What a fucking waste of a tree!

    hahaha…

  • Barbara says:

    I remember getting pathetic paychecks when I worked at a restaurant. I never thought to frame any.

  • Sandy says:

    I just had a flashback to my waitressing days. And my bartender days. And my cook days. Can totally relate to the after-work BS sessions! I remember those waitress paychecks, and our tips were assumed a certain dollar amount, added to our checks and TAXED TOO!!

    As far as the advertising check goes, I’d frame it too. It would cost too much in gas and effort to take it to the bank.

  • Neeroc says:

    Who does that? Even the assbag taxman doesn’t want cheques under $5

  • andrea says:

    wow, who would’ve thought we had so much in common? waitressing was MY most eye opening job to date…also, parenting. and maintaining a relationship (notwithstanding blowjobs).

    i think EVERYONE should have to be a server before they enter the path of their chosen career. because then they would realize that being a waitress does not translate to “please talk to me like i’m your dad’s piece of ass on the side”.

    oh, and when you tip us $1.00 on a $50 meal? you are fucking lucky you’re already done eating because i TOTALLY would spit in your food.

    love you becky:)

  • giggleblue says:

    that’s craptastic! blogher as always been very funny to me. anything so women oriented has always made me think twice.

  • ha. i always thought my miniscule checks were because I sucked, but if even you, THE Aunt Becky, get tiny checks, well… I’ll take comfort in that

    (and tell myself it has nothing to do with dwindling readership and the fact that I rarely post any more)

  • charity says:

    As I wait on my patients hand and foot, I remind them that I became a nurse because I failed waitress school.

  • Kristin
    Twitter: dragondream
    says:

    That is so worth framing…preferably a big scrolly, gilded frame.

  • jen says:

    I just have a comment, regarding the value of the meal, why do we base it that way? If I ordered a $7 burger or a $15 ribs, its one plate (usually). Now I do tip according to the bill but just curious as to how it started. And I LOVE servers who give you a drink before the one you are drinking is gone.

  • Jasmine says:

    Haha… that is awesome. I couldn’t get Blogher to pay me, even if I wanted to… and I DO WANT THEM to… GAH!

  • katrina says:

    hell yeah!! that check needs a BIG GOLDEN FRAME, and maybe surrounded by spotlights….

  • Rebekah says:

    OH GEEZ! Probably like many other readers I so relate! I hosted, waited tables and bartended between 18 and 25 and there really is no other bond than the one you share with co-workers as you drink after shift and indulge in homocidal fantasies towards the customers! Thank you for sharing that – I feel so nostalgic now!

  • Sam says:

    The old man in speedo pic is exactly what I look like at 7.5 months pregnant. Except with my own head. And less body hair.

  • John says:

    I remember, shortly out of college, I had a friend who got laid off – she started waitressing & tending bar in order to make ends meet. At first, I felt really sorry for her – she spent four years in college to get a communications degree, and now she was doing something that, well, let’s say you didn’t need a degree to do.

    Within a month, she was happier and healthier and was making more money than she ever was designing advertisements for a non-profit. She was working 6 hours a day (usually 6pm – midnight), was universally loved at her job, had coworkers that completely adored her. I was totally jealous.

    She’s now working as a librarian in the DC school system, but she totally admits that she’d go back to work as a waitress again. I can only picture “Hi, I’m your Aunt Becky – what the hell do you want?” or something like that.

    I’d love to hear the tale from BlogHer a few years into the future – “we sent you a check, but have not had record of it being cashed – do you need us to send you a duplicate?” When that happens, you should totally frame the letter AND the next check.

  • Dr. Cynicism says:

    Working in the food industry when we were younger definitely contributed to who we are today. Messed up people.

  • Zak says:

    This blows my mind. How are you getting ONE CENT checks?! How?!

  • klcrab says:

    We got back an IRS refund check for $1.75 and posted it on our refrigerator for a year, then it expired. (We left it there) The IRS sent us a new check for $1.75 to replace the one we never cashed after the old one expired. Shall we guess how many years we can continue this game? We are coming up on year 3.

  • That’s total bullshit! Thanks for the heads up because I was thinking of call it quits with my craptastic google ads because I had the impression that blogher would be better. Maybe I won’t be so hasty.

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