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Trade places with servers before judging

I write this is in response to “Restaurant owners and managers, it’s time for a change” (Letters to the Editor, Jan. 26).

I have been in the hospitality industry for more than 20 years. The job of a sever is one that is usually undervalued by many — the letter writer included. In the state of Rhode Island, the minimum wage for tipped employees is $2.89 per hour. We rely on tips to make a decent living. It is an insult to our profession when you assume that only drunk, “bleary-eyed bar customers” would ever fathom leaving more than a 20 percent tip. We work holidays and weekends and sacrifice time with our families, and usually without paid sick time, benefits or vacation.

And just to be clear, there are many wonderful patrons who are coherent and give very generous tips. Some have worked in this industry and appreciate the hard, back-breaking and, at times, pride-swallowing work that is entailed. Maybe the letter’s author should walk a mile in our shoes before you judge.

Furthermore, as to the comments regarding the phrase, “Need any change?” ... yes , it is correct that we are trained to always say, “Be right back with your change.” But we are not perfect. Most times we have no clue what a customer puts down to pay a bill and are just trying to save ourselves a trip back to the table. We are usually juggling many things at once and are just trying to save ourselves some extra steps in order to provide the best service to all our patrons. The question is a means to an end and not meant to be offensive or show arrogance.

I hope this sheds some light on the comments and more appreciation for this profession.

It is time for a change ... on the part of the letter writer.

Betty Gencarella


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