Monday, September 7, 2015

Rant: Celebrating Food Workers

Today is Labor Day, a national holiday "dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers." It is celebrated on the first Monday every September and is often seen as the unofficial end of Summer. For many people, it is a time for parties and BBQs, eating and drinking. Some may go away for the long weekend, maybe to spend the last weekend at the beach, while others may simply visit a friend or family member's home for a celebration. Not much thought seems to go into the idea behind this national observance.

I'm hoping that everyone takes at least a little time to think about the meaning of the holiday, and to especially give thought to the food service industry. Servers, bus persons, cooks, dishwashers, bartenders, hosts/hostesses and more. They work hard to bring you pleasure, to provide you delicious food and drink to satisfy your cravings and urges. They deserve our gratitude and recognition for all their hard work.

The best way to help all of these workers is to patronize more restaurants, to dine out more often. Last winter, with all of the snow that fell, was a tough time for restaurants and hopefully we won't see a repeat this winter. Each month, numerous restaurants close and if you want your favorite restaurants to survive, you need to patronize them more often. Give them your support!

And when you dine at these restaurants, make sure to tip properly as many of these workers greatly depend on your tips. The issue of tips has garnered lots of press lately, with heated discussions over what is proper, whether restaurants should go tipless, and much more. Patrick Maguire, of I'm Your Server Not Your Servant, has written a number of articles about the issues surrounding tips, providing thoughtful discussion. The main point to remember is that you should tip fairly, and you really need to stop and think about what is fair.

For example, last month, Maguire made reference to one of his older posts, Overtip Breakfast Servers, an article that illustrates well the issue of fairness in tipping. Most people tip based on the size of their check. With breakfast, especially if ordering the specials, the check could very well be low, often under $10. However, your server probably will work as hard serving your breakfast special as they might be a pricier lunch or dinner. It wouldn't be fair to give the server a tip based solely on the size of the check. However, how many people think about that matter?

Don't just eat, drink and celebrate today. Please, also give some thought to the meaning of the day, recognizing all the service people who make your life better.

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