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Omnivore Food Blog By Suzanne Podhaizer

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October 25, 2007

Be really nice to your waiter...

According to a new study, he or she could really use a break. According to info gathered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association, 10.3% of people in jobs that involve food preparation and service have experienced serious bouts of depression, making it the second most depressing job category the group accounted for. The food service workers follow right on the tail of people who are in personal care positions (i.e. caring for children, those with disabilities or the elderly). Further down the list are folks in "farming, fishing and forestry," 5.6% of whom get the field & stream blues.

So leave that extra dollar on the table, send a compliment to the chef or take the time to tell your favorite farmer how much you love her tomatoes. Who could help!


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Having worked in the industry for years & hoping never to sling food again, I'm not surprised. I saw the same study (food service second only to caring for the elderly in depressingness...)
Although at the right restaurant & with the right co-workers, waiting/bartending can be really fun and even familial, it can also make one feel like absolute garbage.
Maybe alcohol can also be a factor. Everyone knows it's a depressant, and I for one was always ready for a stiff drink after every shift, whether dealing with condescension, messed up food orders, irate tourists and their screaming progeny or not.
Tip well!


Dish Dog's need love too... I spent half of my twenties in the food service Maybe about half of the depression revolves directly around the fact you can not earn enough to be comfortable. I'm not talking high fashion mind you, rather some kind of produce with your meal(s)...

Maybe it was because of that all that now I tip well even if the service was not seamless. I remember reading the article awhile back "Hot and Soured" and I was bummed out to say the least. I mean here are these folks with the "chance" to chase the dream and they are more or less landlocked so to speak. The point I'm getting to, is that ones first impulse would to be boycott the restaurants and the low wages they proliferate... But then what happenes to the workers that are already here? I have made a point to visit a few of these places and they all seem very friendly and attentive, try that with your typical mouthbreather teen at happy burger;>) I say give these folks more money than what is acceptable. I left a 12 dollar tip on on an 8 dollar slip and the smile returned was sure worth atleast two packs of smokes! I may end up going out a little less, but when I do I try to tip 33% minimum.

One last foodnote, I just returned from overseas and where I was most tipping was coins at best, if at all really. I went to this nice place with three friends (locals). We had three big ol' crabs with four beers and coffee afterwards, oh yeah a big plate of snails and mussels! it cost all of about 17 bucks, when we left I noticed there was no tip on the table so as we left I gave the lady a 10 spot. I mean try leaving a 10 for a tip here with that feast for four people:>)

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