Waitresses like many people who provide a service, are highly vulnerable to the whim of customers who, by their tips, decide their daily earnings. This thus explain the financial and emotional hazards inherent in the tipping system which has drawn attention from sociologists and anthropologists concerned with the study of work
Waitresses use various ways to earn a bigger tip. They accomplish this by increasing the number of customers they serve by securing the largest or the busiest stations and working on the most lucrative deals. The experienced waitress can trade in assignments with the less experienced waitresses who are uncertain of her ability to handle a large fast station. She can also volunteer whenever there is a call out necessitating a change in organizational reorganization of station assignments, in this case she can establish herself as the only waitress capable of handling chaotic and large station without appearing to infringe on her co-workers work allocation.
Some experienced waitresses may not be able to work during the day for a number of reasons including time constraints of family and second jobs. Others are unwilling to work during the day due to highly competitive environment during the day shift. They can also increase their tips by turning their tables quickly. This means they take the order, deliver the food, clear the table, and resets the table as soon as possible for the next client party. Experienced ones can increase the customer count as well as controlling the flow of customers within the restaurant. When there is no manager available, who normally rotates customers among them, they can race to the door and direct customers to their own tables. Sometimes, she may also exert pressure on management to increase to keep her station filled.
They may as well go as far as demanding tips from customers who are used to stiffing and refuse to serve parties that have stiffed in the past. A poor tip does not reflect the poor quality of waitress ability to relate to clients but rather they conclude that the customers in question were cheap, too poor, too arrogant or coarse and rude, troublemakers, or bums.
This environment can be best analysed using the Symbolic Interactionism theory, which sees interaction and meaning as central to society and assumes that meanings are not inherent but rather created through interaction and peoples behaviours based on the meanings, those behaviours have to them. Those meanings are based on and derived from interactions an individual has with others. For examples the interactions between the waitress and the customers all the way from serving the customer to receiving a gratitude from the customer in form of tips. The way the clients are treated by the waitresses affects how they view themselves and also the customers.
An example of this theory can be demonstrated using a man who does landscaping, mowing residential homes whose clients do not typically tip. He has to work hard to impress his customers and still the context of tipping does not exist in his work. Thus, symbolic interactionism helps to understand how he has to maintain good relationship with his clients, the fact that he has to keep getting a job from them depend on how he treats them and how he does his work and how his clients treat him as well.
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