Tuesday, January 25, 2011

You are what you tip...

Working in not one, but two, industries where tips pay rent, I feel it's only fair I help educate customers, clients, potential customers, and (more importantly) my potential clients. It's unfortunate to say, but in all honesty, the tip you leave says a lot about who you are. The standard tip as you know, or should know, 20% gratuity is due for a (legal) service provided. This means 20% is due when you go out to eat, get your haircut, a facial, even when you get a to-go medium reg at Dunks. Tip that poor girl...she's freezing in the drive-thru! I understand, times are tough right now, but what about your poor waitress who's making $2.63/hr? Or your esthetician who is making $8/hr and may only have two clients the entire day? So my question for you is, what kind of tipper are you, and what kind of tipper do you want to be?

The Great Tipper : This is the guy who acknowledges the server at the table and instead of insisting on eating an item that is not on the menu, and probably never will be, he orders without modifications. He thanks the server when water or beer is brought his way and doesn't sarcastically say "Oh I hated it. Take it away" when his empty plate is being cleared. He's thoughtful, appreciative and leaves his respectful 20% ( or more if he's got the funds).

This is the woman who fills out her client history form before receiving a facial. She follows the steps of getting changed, going to the room assigned and comfortably assumes position in the bed. She receives her service thanking her esthetician at the completion of her facial. Before getting out of the bed she doesn't use the oh-so-original joke "That was terrible, can I stay and sleep" She leaves her 20% and books another appointment when the time is right.

The 15 percenter...: This is a wide range. There is only one exception for this category and that would be the really cute old couple. They go out to eat once a week and are accustomed to tipping 15% since forever ago. They really can do no wrong.

The real 15 perceneter is the woman who comes to get her facial and pulls out nine different expired coupons for her service. You agree to accept one. She then proceeds to ask for an extra ampuole, an enzyme mask instead of exfoliator, and a brow and chin wax. Lovely. She tips 15% on her balance after her coupon was deducted from the total. Without fail, she is the woman who is calling the following day saying she read online that the enzyme mask could cause her itching and rash if she has hay fever which she claims she definitely has. "I deserve a refund!" I'm sure you do.

This is the costumer who insists you have a fish stew not listed on the menu. "I'm sorry sir, maybe you are thinking of the Cioppino?" They go on to pull up a Yelp review on their Iphone and tell you since their fellow Yelper enjoyed your fish stew so much on January 7th that is they only reason they came in to eat today. Getting off to a smooth start, they order the cioppino recommended with 4 refills of bread and only one glass of diet coke unless there are free refills. They leave a whopping 15% and upon exiting he smiles and says "This is the best meal I've ever had. I'm going to come back here all the time and request you as my server!" Thanks for the verbal tip buddy.

The European: Really you can't blame them (unless they live here). When we go to their country we don't tip. I'm sure it doesn't say ANYTHING about going out to eat and leaving gratuity in one of their 3 ginormous guide books they own. Maybe it does and it just doesn't say how much? I think they give it a good guess and if they're generous leave 12% and if they are clueless (I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt here) they leave 10%.

With this said, a tip can say a lot about who you are. Are you cheap? Broke? Needy? Needy, cheap and broke? The service industry works very hard to ensure you have a nice experience so do them a solid and strive to be great.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Botox, Lipo and a trip back home...

Growing up in a small town on the South Shore of Boston, I didn't know many people from Columbia, Brazil, or, really, anywhere north of Boston. My senior year of high school I attended boarding school in Winchendon, MA (the armpit of Massachusetts). What I thought was going to be a 50% rich kids 50% hott male athlete ratio turned out to be 90% Asian 5% athlete 5% kids who thought the same thing I did when they applied. When I moved to Boston to go to Suffolk, I started working in restaurants and began working with all different ethnicities. At the restaurant I work now, the kitchen staff is all from Columbia. At my school, the Brazilian accent outweighs the Boston accent. With that said, I am learning my fair share about the Brazilian and Colombian cultures. Mostly, what I'm intrigued by is their take on beauty.

While punching in at work, I always take a second to notice my surroundings. Naturally, my eyes are drawn to the brightest color in the room, which inevitably is one of the girls outfits. I give them a lot of credit. Their shirts are never without a hole, rip, tear or string holding it together. They love their aqua's, neons, sparkles and spandex. And, of course their make-up always always always matches their outfits to a T. It is actually really impressive. I can only hope, one day, to have their self-confidence.

Recently one of the shuckers went back home for a 5 week vacation to Columbia. She was so excited to go and I assumed it was because she has a daughter back home. 5 weeks go by and in comes the new (subtract 20 lbs add braces) Natalia. I couldn't believe it. She came in all smiles Natalia: "Hola Kristina"
Me: "Natalia??Liposuction??"
Natalia: "Si Kristina!"
Me: "Natalia, are your eyebrows and eyeliner tattooed on!??"
Natalia: "Si,Si Kristina!!"
Me: "Natalia...Te llama Natalia?"

Fast forward two months. I'm at school. One of the ladies in class decided to take a 5 week hiatus from school to go home to Brazil. Considering she was slightly behind as it was, all the girls thought it was what we wouldn't consider to be the best idea. At first we thought she was just a slower learner because of course it would be more difficult to learn about microbiology in a different language. But then, as time went on we came to the conclusion she A: just didn't want to learn, or B: just not that bright. WE have about 3 rules in school: 1. wear white and only white. She wears polka dots. 2. Don't eat in class. She eats snickers bars while steaming and masking clients. 3. You are only allowed to miss one class. She missed 5 weeks. When she finally did return, we were all speechless at what we saw. Rumors started flying and whispers were exchanged. Was she beaten? Bad relationship? She owed someone money? Oh no, she had botox gone bad. Note to self, don't go to a private practitioner for botox while on vacation in Brazil.

All I know is when I come back from a vacation home on the south shore, the only thing I'm bringing back for show is a slightly larger love handle, a new item of clothing I stole from my sister, a couple rolls of toilet paper from the Christmas Tree Shop and a jar of Peanut Butter. I'm looking up flight to Columbia as I write this entry...

Friday, January 14, 2011

Last entry, over 2 years ago, I was what one would call...bitter. So I graduated and couldn't find a job. Who didn't? So I was in debt $20,000 and had no health insurance. It happens. So I was single and sleeping with my personal trainer at a shitty gym down the street from my shitty apartment. It happens. I was young. I was naive. I was working at a restaurant thinking "my life sucks" when I should have been saying... "negative $20,000? not so bad. Free wine and oysters? Not so bad. Thanks to Obama I am covered by Mom's health insurance until I'm 26? I'll take it!" These are the things I couldn't wrap my head around in 2008. I was still riding the wave from college. Now it's a different story. For better or worse, you can decide...

I now live in the North End with my boyfriend Jon and our two dogs Millie (5 years) and Peanut Butter (a miserable 9 months). We met through mutual friends in restaurants. What started as a hook-up turned into a little dog family in a small apartment, a crazy girl (yours truly) who has planned their jewish meets Irish Catholic wedding with no engagement ring and a brand new collection of Lululemon to add to our debt. In all honesty, I couldn't be happier. Still slinging oysters and serving lobster rolls ("hot with butter or cold with mayo?") I work at one of the best restaurants in Boston. Not only am I serving and saving for taxes, but now I am pursuing my dream to be an Esthetician. I am enrolled at the Elizabeth Grady School. I can honestly say, I thought the characters at the restaurant would make a good blog, but esthetics is a whole different beast. I'm talking brazilian waxes, black heads galore, ESL and snickers bars. Oh, and did I mention, more debt?

I came to terms with the fact I would never get the job I wanted in Print Journalism. The Devil Wears Prada was just a book, only Anne Hathaway would land a job like that, and no one gets free samples of Gucci. With that said, I decided I would do what I love most....make-up and facials. Call me shallow, but I think it's my calling. Since enrolling at Elizabeth Grady, I really feel I am where I belong. I mean it hasn't all been smooth sailing, I can't lie. The whole brazilian waxing threw me for a little loop when I found there actually ARE people out there who have never shaved or waxed down there EVER other than my mother. Oh, and I can't forget to mention the idea I cant shave any part of my body while attending school until designated "waxing days" was a make it or break it deal. But everything else, like popping black heads, exfoliating, steaming, massage and make-up is so much fun to me. I'm right where I should be. Another $5,000? Put it on my tab.

Let's just say today I gave my co-worker his first facial. For Christmas Santa brought me a steamer, loop lamp and esthetic table. Little did I know, I would be performing my first back wax tonight. Two months ago I gave my 14 year old cousin his first eye brow wax. Between the 36 year old who never saw herself without a power bush, a 14 year old who never knew he had two eyebrows, to a man who never thought he would see the skin on his back again, I'm changing mens lives with each rip of wax. I will share my life changing stories and I promise, it will be before two years have passed.