A to Z: W is for Waitress: Student becomes waitress for tips

La Grange junior Tia Allen enjoys being a waitress at Cheddar’s Casual Cafe. Allen has worked there for two months.

Alexis Custard

La Grange junior Tia Allen sees hundreds of new faces at a variety of tables daily, not knowing what kind of surprise each table will bring.

Allen has been a waitress at Cheddar’s for about two months and works about 32 hours on a good week, she said.

“I go into work around 3:30, and I never know when my day ends until I’m cut,” she said. “Sometimes it’s not over until 11 at night.”

Allen said the best thing about her job is also the worst sometimes – the tips on the weekends are good, but the tips throughout the week aren’t as good.

The largest tip someone ever left her was $40, while her record low tip is 12 cents.

“It makes me mad because it’s like you work hard to earn your tips and then, left with nothing,” Allen said.

She said she uses this job to pay for her gas, rent, groceries and other necessities.

She wanted to become a waitress because she thought it was money she would get to take home daily.

Nashville junior Semhar Ghebreselasie met Allen though their business fraternity, Alpha Kappa Psi, she said.

“I think she’s a good waitress, because she’s personable and has a good attitude toward people,” Ghebreselasie said.

Allen deals with many customers on a daily basis, but she deals with rude customers differently.

Within three seconds, Allen knows if she’s going to like a customer, she said.

“I tell my manager that I don’t think me and this table are about to get along,” Allen said. “I think it’s wrong to be mean to servers, because we put your straws in your drinks and bring out your food.”

Her friend, Nashville junior Tiona Hill, said Allen is fun to be around.

“I think she makes a good server because her personality is bubbly and she can hold a conversation with people really well,” Hill said. “She has an overall good spirit whenever you talk to her.”

Allen already has some interesting stories from her two months waiting tables.

Once, a woman tripped over a server’s foot and fell, she said.

Another time, she said, it turned into “Daddy Daycare.”

“These kids were running around in the kitchen, and the parents were just sitting there eating,” Allen said.

Though Allen enjoys her job, she doesn’t like dealing with rude customers, and she has a tip for them: “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you literally.”