Today was such a great day. I had an amazing lunch rush for a Sunday and everyone seemed to be in the best of moods. And you know what good moods mean? Good tips! I won’t lie, I schmoozed a little bit, but was genuinely happy to be serving our customers today. Life was good and the tips were generous.
The night shift was slow, but I had a couple of good tables that left me $20.00 so that helped me out quite a bit. At the end of my shift, I tallied up the tips that I had made throughout the day (I keep a record so that I have a good idea of what I’ll be leaving with). So, here’s the number all my tips added up to:
I felt very happy about that. I worked hard, served my customers well, ran plates and drinks, cleaned and helped other waiters. Seemed like for the amount of work I put in…well it was fair. When it came to doing my “reading” or my “report” (where the manager checks all my credit cards, interacs, cash, and tip-outs) I was left with $120.00.
It didn’t make sense to me. Didn’t add up. So when I checked how much I tipped out ($22.00) and deducted that from my total, I was left with $151.00 (which would make sense). But where was that $30.00? The manager checked everything again and even went as far as to go through all my bills with me in case another waiter was ringing up orders on my code and closing it cash. Hey..it could happen. But that wasn’t the case. I was missing $30.00
What a bitch, lemme tell ya! What happened to that money? Other servers were asking “Did you put some money aside? Put it somewhere else by accident?” and the answer was plain and simple: NO! I am very careful with my money when it comes to counting and keeping it safe in my apron. So what happened? I honestly have absolutely no idea. The only thing I can think of is if it accidentally fell out of my money clip. But everything stays together in one place and it’s pretty secure.
So, I had no choice but to accept it. Everything else balanced and the restaurant isn’t going to reimburse me for any lost money because it is…technically…my fault. But, when you’re a stickler for precision and money, it’s really hard to believe that I misplaced it. I just left. Took the hit and left.
Getting home and opening a cheap bottle of wine to drown my sorrows in, I keep going over my day – wondering if I somehow miscalculated or put money aside without realizing it. But my thoughts also dance around the idea of relying on technology to calculate all of my sales, tips, taxes and discounts. Could the computer I use somehow be deducting money without me realizing? Is it possible that somewhere in the computer system there is a glitch?
The idea of the possibility of technology being the culprit scares me, because to be honest I have no idea how it works. All the deductions and calculations it automatically makes. As an owner or manager, you can set the computer to pretty much whatever you want, so in my mind…is it possible that something somewhere in the computer is making a deduction it shouldn’t? Now…that’s a scary thought.
But us, as servers, how are we supposed to know this? Just take the word of the people we work for who are mostly there to make money? Sounds like it could be fishy to me, especially when they are the ones setting the conditions for the computer system. We can’t exactly approach them and say “What’s the deal here? I’m missing money!!” and expect them to pay out of their pocket when they believe you’re the one who lost it somehow. There’s no way to prove it, no complete record of cash (because a server could just pocket it), no way to show that you made the money you made 100%.
So it’s a problem – at least in my eyes.
I’ll take it as a bad day. A day where I lost money somewhere and it cost me in tips. There’s nothing more I can do except write about it and then move on. But in reality – it does come down to money. And I need money to pay for bills, food, rent, etc. The missing money is almost my cellphone bill for the month. When you look at it that way, when your tips just don’t add up, it’s not just a few dollars here and there. It can be a whole big difference.