The people who smile at you and serve you and try to make you comfortable in hundreds of outdoor cafes, cafeterias, restaurants in Yerevan – several hundreds of waiters and waitresses in Armenia, most of them young, good looking boys and girls are usually not paid a regular salary in Yerevan.
Instead, they have to rely on tips, or the so-called ‘tea-money’ to make a living.
I first heard about this on a TV talk-show program. Throughout the past month I’ve been asking the waiters I’ve met in various locations in Yerevan – and they have all confirmed this.
Clearly, it isn’t so bad if so many good looking and apparently quite well educated boys and girls (most of them speak at least 3 languages) prefer that profession.
However, there are several points that make me uneasy:
- According to Armenian employment legislation they must be paid some kind of salary. So if all those waiters and waitresses are not paid a regular salary, that means the cafes, cafeterias and restaurants employing them are manipulating figures – which is a crime and should be punished.
- There is usually a charge for service – 10% included in restaurant bills. I always thought that is for the waiters, and sometimes I felt I didn’t have to leave any tip. To my surprise – this is also not for the waiters – they never see anything of that money. So now – going to a restaurant, cafeteria, I am feeling more obliged to leave more money… which puts an additional pressure on me… I kinda hate that feeling – because while in the past I considered tip as a way to award good service, now I’m feeling obliged to leave a tip – and a bigger one at that. And feel guilty if its not big enough… and big enough is such a subjective thing… etc, etc, etc…
- Bastards!!! The restaurant owners have all that money and they build all those huge buildings and they don’t want to pay anything! What is this? I’ll become a marxist-leninist if I keep feeling like this 😀