Do Servers Deserve a Real Paycheck?
I have often played with the idea of writing a food/opinion column. I pitched the idea when the Saucon News was still a small local weekly, one that was later bought out and grouped with a series of five other new weeklies by Berks-Mont Newspapers/Journal Register company. That became the Lehigh Valley News Group and at its creation in 2006, I served as managing editor.
But this little opinion column predates all of that, and honestly I had forgotten about it until I recently dug through the crate of news clippings I have in my home office.
I tackle the question: should servers receive a real paycheck? This was at the time that the IRS was considering using a restaurant’s credit card receipts to determine an average amount that each server earned in tips and then use that as a basis for income tax liability.
My guest column in my last issue of The Free Press
I worked at The Free Press (Phillipsburg, N.J.) for about a year. I left when a publisher from another weekly called me out of the blue and offered me an editor position. I hated to leave Phillipsburg and my amazing publisher Enid, but I had long ago learned that regrets often stemmed from not knowing “What if?”
The Free Press was a weekly paper, paid subscription, mailed to those who subscribed. At the point I started working for Enid, I had already freelanced for a decade. This was my first full-time journalism position. I was sitting at my desk in our very tiny newsroom on September 11, 2001. The experience of being part of the media, even if only part of a small local weekly, gave a haunting layer to the tragedy.
After a year as editor of The Blue Valley Times, working with my former science teacher, Larry Cory, I joined the staff of the start-up weeklies from the Morning Call, known as The Chronicles. I returned to Phillipsburg, and in the three years that entity existed, I made some relationships that last until today. Phillipsburg still holds a special place in my heart.
And it’s not just because the gas in New Jersey is cheaper than Pennsylvania. And it’s not because the gas stations are full service.
Part one of a long front page feature
At the Chronicle, I occasionally wrote long features. I loved what these high school students were doing, so my editor gave me free reign to profile them. I took the photos, and the front page photo of Randy remains one of my favorites. June 2003. Ten years ago. I should find out what happened to these youth.
My life is usually funny. When things go wrong, they don’t go average wrong. They go Charlie Chaplin style wrong. I did an entry on my writing blog about this tendency of my life because my friends are always pushing me to be the Erma Bombeck of my age. And I do love the classic Erma!
Here’s a newspaper clipping about my daughter that I think falls under humor.
One of my first humor pieces on motherhood