Sunday, March 4, 2012

Rethinking the Service Industry

23 years ago I had my first taste of the service industry when I got broken in as a Dishwasher.
It was a truck stop so pretty busy with lots of dirty people coming thru, dishes would pile up like crazy, two dishwashers were needed but the usual only one was overworked.
It flat out sucked, your hands were always cut, you were standing in a pile of water and when everyone else was having a smoke after a break you were even busier than before. But at least you got a woppin half hour to sit on your ass but hey at least you got fourty hours a week with that minimum wage paycheck.
I moved up doing deli, same lot of standing but a good slow pace and very easy, then the line cook, crazy fast hot and smelly, again on your feet all day with a woppin half an hour to have a seat, and bonus, made a couple bucks an hour over minimum wage doing the work of two people.
Did that gig for a couple years and said forget it, more do to management than work, best thing I ever did.
Then I went into Casino/Bar tending, damn crazy good tips and finally you were able to make some mad cash to go with running your ass off, for a blue collar worker it is hard to get better cash.
So that became my fall back over the years, and off and on I would go back to it to make some quick cash, but it never really appealed to me and I never knew why.
Lots of cool people came thru a bar, the work really wasnt that hard, I mean I never knew anything else growing up in the country being the parents slave labor for the livestock. The downside was of course all the drama which you get tired of, and the long hours and the feeling of being stuck in a cave as every bar seems to have blacked out windows. I guess drinking in the dark with dim lights is better than sitting on the cabana soaking up the Sun, I guess the tropics have it all wrong.
So fast forward a bit  and my feet starting to break down, they really got shot working at a food warehouse where you got one shitty rubber mat to stand on that somehow  would save your feet. Pay was crappy really for all the standing and my mind just could not wrap around why a stool was not available, I would mention it to the manager and get the "well its not professional" I dono every other country in the world I have been to had a stool for their employee's why not America? Sad to think the Philippines treats their people better in that area over America.
So now IM back at it again, slinging drinks with aching feat nightly, trying to figure out why there are no Stools to sit on and why the hell a supposed Multi Million dollar resort cannot afford to pay its employees more. Oh its the usual 'well your tips make up for your wages" that is a lame bullshit excuse made by employers who simply refuse to pay their employee's a real wage. Now dont get me wrong tips are great but its feast or famine and never dependable. This creates the employee to always look for another work and a constant revolving door. Those who stay end up with a broken body as with most in the blue collar workforce.
The real kick in the teeth to me and what brought about the profound realization of just how crappy the service industry was to people came with one simple statement from a customer "I liked the tips the service industry provided, but truth is, you work harder than other people to make less money if you really think about it" And I did, he was flat out right, sometimes a slap in the face is best.

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