Inhospitable Hospitality: An Unappreciated Minority

I been working in the hospitality industry for the past 15 months. This was my first job ever so at the time it was exciting and nerve wrecking. As time passed I started seeing and experiencing the annoying and frustrating situations in a restaurant business. One of these situations is getting stiffed or getting a really bad tip. All my co-workers, including me, and others in the industry hate this. As this situation continues to happen a trend can be seen: serves are bound to get stiffed or badly tipped when guests are Latinos or African-Americans, to name a few.

Although this statement can be true to an extent, servers start over generalizing and sometimes this leads to stereotyping.  This is an everyday issue, I’ve seen it happen. I understand it is frustrating when we get stiffed or run around for a mediocre tip but not all Latinos are the same, so should we, the servers, treat everyone the same? I am a Latina myself and it bothers me when I hear racist comments at work and even worse, when I go out to eat with family or friends and get bad service because I’m Hispanic.

I have two examples that I want to share. The first example happened at work. There never fails to be a time when I don’t hear the statement “your people” or “blah, blah Mexicans.”  While I try to ignore this it still is aggravating. First of all, just because we Latinos, have dark skin and speak Spanish, it does not mean we all are Mexicans. It feels that this is one of the many reasons to why Americans and others don’t like Mexicans or have bad attitudes towards them. It is understandable for servers to be upset for it is not fair for them to do all this hard work to provide the customer with a great dinning experience and not be properly compensated. However, it’s not fair of them to generalize and make such comments to show their dislike. It is offensive to others mainly when you are Latino or of Latino decent. Plus, just because a server encountered  a bad experience it does not mean your next latino table won’t leave a decent tip.

The next experience happened during this summer break not too far from campus. It was one of those days when I had been running around campus so I stopped for a bite before heading to the School of Liberal Arts. I walked in to a nearby restaurant and asked for a table for myself. I sat there for at least ten to fifteen minutes without being greeted. There was a few servers but I didn’t know whose section I was sitting in. After a long time of wait a guy approached me and asked if anyone had been with me yet and offered to get me a drink. When he came back with the drink a girl approached and asked if I was ready to order. This was the same girl who had been cleaning her other tables and took drinks to a table that had been sited  minutes after I had been sat. By the time she approached me she had already taken this other table’s order. I wasn’t furious about this but it did make me feel like I was inferior. Little did she know I do the same job to get through college and I know what it is like. I decided to not make a big deal. I  took a few bites,  gave her my card, asked for a box and left. Although,  I felt like the girl did not deserve a tip I decided to leave a good tip anyway. I figured karma would get her back.  My point is that regardless of what the person looks like the server should always provide the same service to all customers.

Whether Latinos are bad tippers or not, we all deserve to be treated with dignity. Because society continues to judge a book by its cover we fail to see the potential of this social group. The Latinos are a growing community and whether we like it or not they are part of the diversity this country and economy.