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Indentured servants?

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posted on Jan, 27 2011 @ 03:35 PM
This subject has been on and off in my mind lately. I feel that maybe a few people can relate and give me their opinion on the matter.

I live in Texas, a right to work state. I have part/full time job at a restaurant as a waiter while going to school, the pay is $2.13 an hour including tips. Business has been slow lately and the work I have to do while on the clock keeps building up. Aside from taking care of my guests and tables, I have to perform clean up, running duties, and busting my own tables. However, I don't mind these duties at all, they keep me busy and on my feet.

Average payrate for waitstaff

At the end of the day, I have to pay a percentage of my sales to the host and the guy who makes my drinks at the bar. This is called tip out. The hosts get paid five dollars and some odd cents an hour, including the tip out from the servers. When I started, the servers tipped out 2% of their sales to the hosts and bar guy, about 1 year later, they changed it to 3% of our sales. The reason? When the waiters tipped 2%, they rolled the silverware (rolling up forks and knives in napkins to prepare to set on tables for customers), they changed it to 3% because the hosts were now rolling silverware.
That is 3% of our SALES, not our tips, which means if a patron pays a $50 tab and does not tip, the waiter is now in debt. The waiter who served that patron has to pay $1.50 to the company at the end of they day every time a patron does not tip (which is not uncommon). There's nothing you can do about not getting tipped, some servers would not be able to stomach the fact that they now owe the company money for WORKING and told the manager on duty about their situation. The response, if one were lucky enough to get one.."You should have been a better waiter then!" What ended up happening was that the hosts/hostesses were making more money than the waitstaff. They were making 5 dollars an hour PLUS our tip out, which on a average day would be 6 to 12 dollars per waiter. In the restaurant, moving from a host/hostess to a waiter/waitress is a PROMOTION.

When this new policy was put into affect, there were mixed feelings. A few were glad, they didn't have to roll silverware anymore, at the cost of a percentage of their sales. They later learned that silverware rolling is a mere inconvenience compared to the risk and loss of their hard earned money. The rest of us were infuriated and asked the management why they did this. Their answer was "It helps to promote "teamwork". There was no questioning it, no objecting it. It was the new rule, like it or not. We saw a shift in waiters/waitresses going back to being hosts/hostesses, and seeing a huge turnover rate with the wait staff. The company just hired more and more waitstaff suffocating the existing crew's already suffocating assigned work hours. Who wouldn't want to be a host/hostess? They made more in 3 hours then the average waiter/waitress made a day (a few cases literally with some servers only working 3-4 hour shifts due to scheduling) at the store. I remained vigilant, I saw this as unjust, I would not partake in such a scheme. However, I felt/feel cheated, the more I buried it, the harder it fights to get out.

I ask you ATS, do you think it was to promote teamwork? The way I see it, they needed a job done, they had the labor, but did not want to pay the extra money for the work being done. As a result, they took it from the server tip percentage, this way, they didn't have to change the pay rate at all. One percent may seem small, but when a waiter is selling 40-150 dollars worth of food for 8 hours a day, that 1% starts becoming more and more of a big deal as they get more and more business. At the same time, the risk of losing money becomes greater in the off chance that you get stiffed(not tipped) or tipped a percentage that's very low. Why take that extra 5-10 dollars from someone who makes $2.13 an hour and give it to someone who makes $5.52 an hour PLUS a tip out?

When a waitstaff member gets their paycheck, a portion of they money they made are deducted from said paycheck. The average waiter will get a check ranging from $0 to $50. I never knew you could get a $0 dollar check, until I started working at my current place of employment.

I think I know what some of you are thinking, "why don't you just quit and find another job?". It's not that simple anymore. I hate to pull the economy card but jobs are hard to come by, I live off of 10 dollars a day, the rest I save up for rent, bills and books. This applies to almost all the waitstaff and crew working at the business. I literally cannot afford to miss a day of work. I have applied to other places and businesses but none are hiring or conflict with my classes. I will not trade give up my education, but I am not making enough of a living to keep it flowing. I am trapped, therefor I feel like a servant.

Looking at the bigger picture, 1% in my case is the thorn in the elephants foot.

My question is, does this come off as a form of Indentured Servitude? Is it right that a large population of our country is in the same situation? Is anyone else a waiter/waitress that experiences the same, or feels the outrage I do?

Note: I do not post this seeking sympathy or to insult anyone who works in this industry. In addition, I am not scrutinizing the different positions of employment at said work place. I respect all my work partners and I accept that they are just trying to survive like me. If anyone reads this and feels like I am being unfair in anything I say, please point it out and I will discuss it with you in U2U. Thanks for your time!

Mod Note: I posted this in the General Conspiracies section, please move to the Gray Area if this does not belong in the current section. Thanks!

edit on 27-1-2011 by LeTan because: Changed some text that implied past tense feelings on matters to current opinion.

edit on 27-1-2011 by LeTan because: Fixed typos and grammar.

posted on Jan, 27 2011 @ 03:59 PM
I don't know if it is a case of indentured servant (although it doesn't sound like it).

However, I understand what you mean. In college, I was going to wait tables part time until they told me they take a cut for the bartender, cooks, and bus boys. I was like, 'No thanks! Pay your own damn payroll.' lol

Maybe waitstaff of the country need to get together and rally for businesses to change their practice. Waiters aren't even independent contractors so the concept is ridiculous, IMO, for them to pay a part of their coworkers income.

posted on Jan, 27 2011 @ 04:03 PM
I happen to agree to your assertion...but like the term "free roaming wage slaves", a bit better. Children yet to be born in this country are already indentured, imo.

posted on Jan, 27 2011 @ 04:11 PM
reply to post by AshleyD

Yes, the waiters/waitresses of the country should rally! Sadly, the majority of the people in the service industry do not take their employment seriously enough to gain the effort for organizing such a thing. I myself sometimes find myself living day to day with what I make and drowning out the prospect of change in my place of employment with distractions and what seems like false hope that it will get better. I know I come off as extremely bitter and maybe biased, I apologize in advance.

The key reason why I think it is similar to indentured servitude is because we have no say or opinion on how our work environment or pay rate is. We eat when they allow us to eat and they provide us with discounts. We are not allowed to have any interactions other than "business" with our superiors. In some ways, indentured servitude has more benefits, because there are a few days when a waiter will be dismissed early due to slow business and will not make enough to purchase food that day because a portion of their money made will have gone to payment for the fuel to get to the workplace. At least when one is an indentured servant, they get to eat

posted on Jan, 27 2011 @ 04:27 PM
please see a more classical indentured servant example

The period of time was agreed in advance and so was the transportation across a continent. I am no expert on the topic. So bear with me. The chinese also had a system of indentured labour when the came to America.

Anyway this is a terrible and complicated system of payment and inter team payment. This is a complete shill job thinly disguised as "Team building" These people have the current corporate buzz words but are full of it. I think it is more likely to generate conflict than build teams!

Hurry up with that degree! And try to get the maths courses nailed.

posted on Jan, 27 2011 @ 05:24 PM
WOW. That was really well thought out aggression against the system based on your own life experiences. I wish you would see that basically everyone in the world is under indentured servitude.

Unfortunately, there is little to do right now other then to vent our frustrations with system, but we should constantly strive to educate ourselves on the functions of the system and spread the awareness so that we all might one day move out of this system.

To know more about the problems in the system and a possible solution, please check out the documentary Zeigeist Moving Forward which was just released online yesterday, as well as read the link I have in my signature defining a Resource Bases Economy.

posted on Jan, 27 2011 @ 05:44 PM

Anything a boss does is to increase his profit and the easy hit is by taking it from his workforce.

Their sound bite culture hides their true intent

Team building read divide and separate
Greater flexibility read you will only be paid to work at times that suit them and to hell with your family life.
We are all responsible for our own safety read you get the blame for any injuries or accidents.

Here in the UK Thatcher started the belief in the chattering classes that the Union movement was evil and had too much power and since then successive governments have pulled their teeth.

Hasn’t things gone well for the working man since.

IMO they did get too political but at least that power was on our side.

You want to get even, loosen the shackles. Get organised. Power is in unity, strength is in numbers.

posted on Jan, 27 2011 @ 10:04 PM
A few years back, in Wisconsin, law was passed that required restaurants to take the servers/bartenders hourly rate, which is $2.33 (or more) add total tipped income, then divide by the total hours worked.

If that amount was less than minimum wage, the restaurant was required to pay the difference.

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