And the total is…

I had a great night at work tonight.  At least I thought I did.  Till I counted my earnings at the end of the night.  Somehow I seemed to be about 50 dollars short of what I should have made.  Which now causes me anxiety.  Did I set money down somewhere and not pick it up?  Did I give someone the wrong change?  Did money fall out of my pocket and I didn’t notice?  Did someone not give me enough money for the check.

One of the worst parts of waiting tables is that you are your own bank.   At least in most restaurants.  This means that you keep the money the people give you to pay for their checks on your person.  You also keep the credit card receipts and all the other paperwork generated while you are working.  This means you have void/comp receipts, coupons, discounts, etc. etc.  All of this while juggling the tables/people that you have, remembering to smile all the while trying to keep your shit together.   I know many waiters who’ve lost theirs minds trying to keep up with the “cash” part of their jobs.  I also know many waiters who’ve worked a full shift and owed money at the end of the night because their receipts didn’t cover the “cash due.”  The only stressful part of this system that I hate right now, is that we get a LARGE amount of cash customers.  That means on some nights I carry around 12 or 13 hundred dollars in cash.  Mostly in small bills.  Which I’m completely responsible for.    For the most part I don’t mind this system.  I’ve worked with it every restaurant I’ve worked in and it’s always been okay.  Knock on wood, I’ve never come up short at the end of the night and I’ve never lost money that I’m aware of.

Which brings me to tonight.  There’s no way for me to know exactly how much money I made tonight.   I don’t track cash tips, I just add the money to the pile and go on.  I’m basing my comments tonight on the fact that I had a great evening and except for a couple of tables I made good money.  So when I subtracted my “cash due” amount and then counted what was left I should have had about 50 bucks more than I did…at least I think I should have.  And so now, I’m sitting here wondering what happened.  Of course, I could have totally over estimated the tips I was making tonight and it was what it was.  But I really don’t think that’s the case.  I’ve had far worse nights and walked with more money.  So now I’m annoyed with myself.

Of course, it really doesn’t matter.  If I lost the money, gave someone too much change, over estimated, it doesn’t matter.  It doesn’t replace, fix, or make it better.  I made what I made and that’s that.  I’ll go in tomorrow hoping to make a lot more to make up for the shortage and that’ll be that.  Even when it was all said and done, I had an okay cash night so I probably shouldn’t complain at all.

One thought on “And the total is…

  1. robert December 16, 2007 / 01:50

    I’ve always recognized the dedication of my servers with (what I believed were) generous gratuities. At minimum 15%, and that’s only if the service is mediocre at best. But more often than not, I leave between 20 and 30 percent. Well, today I was talking to a student who is in the food industry. She was telling me that from her TIPS, she has to give some to the bussers and some to the host(ess), and some to the bar, if customers order drinks. Knowing this, I think I’ll leave the minimum 15 percent on the credit card, and additional tip in cash. This way the server, who has to put up with me and my party can pocket the cash.

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