Forget Two Cents, I’m Giving You My Two Dollars!

I was recently made aware of a Bill in Florida in which they are trying to cut server’s pay in half.  Right now, we currently make about half of minimum wage per hour.  And over the past few years people have started tipping less and less (a phenomenon for which I still blame Oprah as she told everyone it’s fine to only tip 8% because the economy is so bad- but that’s a whole other rant).  When I first started serving 7 years ago, our hourly wage was $2.13/hour, which is what they want to lower it back down to.  What they forget to consider is that the cost of everything else has gone up at least a dollar since then.  Multiply that by a lot of things and you can see how the cost of living has gone up at least a few hundred dollars per month.  Now you might not think that that extra $2 per hour should make a huge difference, but consider this:

1) People often forget that after all the tables leave and no one is tipping us any longer, we have about another two hours worth of extra work to do, for which we are essentially not getting paid.

2) We do not get sick days.  Or personal days.  Or paid vacations.  So if we need to take a day off because we’re sick, or our kid is sick, or we just need a day away from all you people for our sanity- we don’t get paid at all.  Which could very well mean neither does out rent for that month.

3) On top of not having sick days, most servers do not have health insurance, so when we do get sick (which is often from touching all you people’s germy plates and dirty napkins that you feel the need to leave everywhere like an uncivilized pig) we have to pay an arm and leg and at least three days worth of tips for the doctor and some antibiotics.  Or worse…

4) We can’t afford to take off from work to go to the doctor, so we come to work sick, getting everyone else sick and, o that’s right, touching your food.  Remember that the next time you don’t want to tip your server- they are probably working despite a 100 degree fever, passing their illness to you because you, the government, and everyone else could not spare them a few dollars for their services.

5) This one is my favorite!  How much is your pay check every week?  $300? $500?  1000?  5000?  Have you ever worked a full week and received a pay check for $0?  And as if to spite you even more, it says, “This is not a check”, as if you might try to cash it for $0 anyways?  By the time they take out taxes, and if you’re one of the lucky ones, insurance premiums, most servers don’t even get a pay check.  In fact, I have worked overtime before and instead of receiving a bigger check, I get one saying I OWE them money!  How is that for your exhausted overworked mind to wrap around?  If they lower of wages, we will have to PAY TO WORK!!!!!  How much longer would you be going to work if instead of them paying you, you had to pay them?  If you’d still go then you must be fortunate enough to have already made your life’s savings.  Most of us, however are not.  So if you want to lower our wages, you’re going to have to lower taxes too, because I don’t know anyone in their right mind who would go to work for free.  Or worse, pay to go to work as so often happens.

Come on Down to Homelessville!

It has been requested of me to write a post on the homeless people we see all around town, so, being the good natured person that I am, I figured I would oblige this request.

First of all, to anyone who hasn’t been to Tampa, FL, I’m not sure you know how bad the homeless problem is here.  Unless maybe you live in another big city, but I digress.   If you drive down any street around here, especially one leading to a major interstate or US Highway, you will most likely see people begging on the median for change (and not the kind Obama offered!)  I do like that the city makes them wear bright yellow and orange caution vests so I don’t hit them in the road.  Sometimes, they offer you something for your change- like a bottle of water or the Sunday paper or some flowers.  This is actually respectable, I think.  Newsies back in the day were pretty much the same thing: poor, homeless people and orphans.  If you’re going to pay money for the paper anyways, you might as well help the guy out and buy it from him, plus you won’t even have to stop anywhere on your way to wherever to get it.

Then there’s the people that you have to wonder if they are really homeless or just lazy scam artists.  I remember my high school government teacher telling me how he went to Washington D.C. one time (where they apparently also had a large homeless problem) and saw a guy on crutches begging for money on the side of the road.  At the end of the day, he was driving back to his hotel and saw the same guy get up, throw his crutches in the back of his Ferrari, and drive off.  Apparently panhandling in D.C. really pays off!  Another friend of mine told me how she was downtown waiting for a tow truck after she was in an accident one time.  The homeless guy who had been begging at the median came across and asked is she needed any help, after politely declining, she watched him walk into HIS HOUSE! The homeless man had a house!  Another friend told me he saw a homeless man begging on one corner of he street, and on the corner across was a Flying J that had a “now hiring” sign.  When he pointed this out to the homeless man, he just said “They wouldn’t pay me enough”!

Then there’s also plenty of cases of where they say they are starving, so you offer to buy them a cheeseburger or something and they politely decline saying they already have food.  Well, then clearly they are not starving!  This is why I won’t give money to any of them, you can’t tell who, if anyone, is legit!  It’s sad that people are so lazy.  I work a crappy job so I can pay my bills, I’m sure they can find something!

Then there’s also the countless bums walking around places like Ybor and downtown St. Pete.  These bums are more scary I think.  When you see them, you are generally not protected by your car.  Then they tend to follow you around no matter how many times you protest and claim to only have plastic on you.  Most of these guys just want beer money.  If they were honest about it, I may even be tempted to help them out.  But let’s be honest, I need beer money too!  There are some homeless people that have a little more pride.  They, like the waterboys and newsies, what to give you something in exchange for their money, so they give you whatever random things they collected, like seeds or bags full of condoms.  Again, at least they are trying to help you out too.

I guess, when all is said and done, the homeless problem will never be as bad here as many other places.  Still, if you want my money you have to work for it.  Have a clever sign.  Offer me something in exchange for my money.  Show you are somehow going to ear my hard earned money.  Don’t try to scam me, it insults my intelligence, and that is one thing I will not tolerate being insulted!

Off to the Races!!!!

So, I previously wrote a blog about how it’s funny how life sometimes works out even when you think everything is going all wrong.  And how everything happens for a reason.  Well, after going to bed at 4 am, I get a call this morning at 8 am from a local radio station.  I had entered a bunch of different contests on their website.  I won one of them.  A really good one.  That many people would kill, or at least pay a lot of money, for.  I won tickets to the Daytona 500 and meet and greet passes to meet Brad Paisley there.  I almost didn’t take them because I had to work and didn’t know about driving there.  Luckily, my awesome friends and family knocked that sense right back into me.  Then I was worried about losing out on money not working… and thirty minutes later work called and asked me to come in.  Then I was worried I wouldn’t be able to get my shift covered to go to the race.  But since I did them a favor…. they said they’d make it happen.  I had a guest offer me a lot of money for them…. I almost said yes.  I’m glad I didn’t.  I could always use the money, but I don’t NEED it.  I’d regret not going more.  The opportunity of a life time, so I’m told.  Plus, everything happens for a reason.  For some reason, I am meant to go to this race, and I will not be tempted otherwise.  I may die by the time I get back (working 14 hours today and tomorrow, driving over at 4 am, and coming back to work another 12 hours) but I figure that will all work itself out as well.  Now if only I could resolve the issue of who to take with me….  I have about 15 hours to decide.  Start the clock…. and they’re off!

The Roof is on Fire…

C’mon, you all know the song!

“The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire! We know need no water let that motha-f**ka burn! Burn motha-f**ka!”

Every disgruntled employees dream-  yesterday after I left work, it caught on fire.  Well, sort of.  Since we live in Florida, and don’t use our heating systems but two weeks of the year, they tend to collect a lot of dust and stuff.  Well when you turn the heat up to high temperatures, all that collected dust and such burns.  And emits A LOT of smoke.  And blows ashes out through the vents.  Unfortunately, firemen and a not too bright HVAC crew were able to get the place back up and running and open a mere couple hours later.  O, did I say UNfortunately? Freudian slip.  I guess it can’t burn down while I’m still broke anyways.  And no one was hurt, so yay!

True story.

I always miss the exciting stuff.  O well, another day, another dollar!

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