Giving Ten Percent

I don’t often write about something that’s ‘gone viral’ – obviously, there’s already plenty of information available, if it’s a hot topic – so what could I possibly have to add?  But this morning, I simply cannot keep quiet.

The refusal by Pastor to pay the automatic 18% gratuity (triggered because the party she was in numbered more than 8) for her Applebees’ check and the ensuing firestorm and firing of Waitress who served Pastor, then posted the zero-tip receipt (with the accompanying “I give God 10% why do you get 18?” notation) – leaves me wondering what the hell is going on, and what hand-basket are we traveling in?

Waitresses and Ministers have a special place in my heart and how this event ever came about is a mystery to me – they are brothers and sisters in arms, if you will – their job is daily service to their fellow humans and their living often depends on the good graces of those they serve – as you will see:

While I have no doubt you can make a living waiting tables – it is not a job for the faint of heart:

  • Below minimum-wage hourly wage, with only tips to make up the difference
  • A public who doesn’t understand your pay structure and thinks “That’s your job, why should I tip you more?”
  • Often less than 32 hours a week from one employer (so they don’t have to provide health insurance for you)
  • Even more often, those 32 hours are split into 2-4 hour segments, at the whim of the scheduling manager, whether it means you can have a life around work or not.
  • Your living, everyday, depends upon you cheerfully smiling and performing your duties to perfection, each and every time.

My grandfather and my uncle were both pastors.    So I know just a tad about their career struggles as well:

  • Vacation only truly occurs if you leave the state without your cell phone  – Often, you cannot afford to take a vacation
  • You are on call 24/7 – there is no one to ‘trade shifts’ with you
  • You need to be upbeat, positive and calm in the face of a continual string of hospital visits, grief counseling and funeral oration and these things sometimes greatly outnumber the joy of weddings, new babies and a successful food pantry drive.
  • Your livelihood and the good deeds you provide for your community in the form of food, shelter and a helping hand depends upon the good graces and charity of your parishioners and local community.

I’ve been out of the loop regarding the ministry industry for some time –  I’ve heard rumors that ‘mandatory tithing’ for members was replacing the collection plate at some congregations.

Apparently churches had to institute an ‘automatic gratuity’ as well, to make up for the non- and under-tippers.


I cannot help but recall the #1 rule I raised my kids with:

We all make mistakes – try to make choices you won’t regret, should they become tomorrow’s headline

And Rule #2:

Life is fragile and often hard, all on it’s own – why engage in behavior that makes it that much harder for everyone involved?

Pastor and Waitress – in case you haven’t figured it out, you are on the same side – you bring nourishment, a smile and a moment of comfort to those (often ungrateful) wretches who come to you in hunger – be it physical or emotional.

You’re on the same side – so can you stop with the Friendly Fire thing?


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