Are waitresses paid more than waiters?
"As a waiter you live on tips"
SZ-Magazin: Because of the exit restrictions, the tavern in which youwork, closed. How was the last evening
Melina Tobisch (33): There was a mood as if the world would end tomorrow. The dining room was pretty full, the guests stood in rows of two in front of the bar and ordered a lot more schnapps than usual. I heard sayings like: "Let's have another drink before we all don't see each other again."
Wasn't anyone afraid of getting infected?
No. The guests kept coming to their local pub until we had to close. I also didn't have the feeling that sales had slumped in the days before. A few older people stayed at home, but others came who wanted to treat themselves again before the exit restrictions. At the moment the guests can only pick up the food, on some days we even make more lunch with it than usual. Our landlord can really use that, since the evening business has been completely absent. The guests, who can afford it, buy food to support the inn. Among them are many craftsmen, stand builders and other freelancers who are now lacking the jobs themselves. My boss doesn't need waiters either. We are all free.
How hard is that affecting you financially?
I am employed there as a temporary employee on a EUR 450 basis and have another job. With the waiter job I finance my vacation, eating out, everything that is fun. That means: I can still survive. But I know it's brutal right now for full-time waiters. They get 60 percent of their hourly wage as short-time work, but it is so bad that waiters can hardly pay their rent in Munich from it alone. They live on tips. For many, that makes up about half the wages, and that is now completely eliminated.
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Are you considering looking for another job after the crisis? Maybe one with less direct human contact?
No, I definitely want to go back to work in the tavern afterwards. I already miss that. Waiting is not just a job that you can do because you can't find anything else. It's a way of life. Nowhere is it better to observe people and learn more about them than in a pub.
For you personally, however, a different time was more important than the corona crisis. Tell about it.
When I was 18 I started to work in the "Schabernack" in Krailling, a music bar in a suburb of Munich. Many guests called it their living room, there were tons of old records there, there was a stage, the windows were hung, there was a pool table in the back and a picture of Tina Turner was emblazoned on the wall. I kept working there for about ten years. However, I only understood how important this time was when I was sitting in the funeral hall at the funeral of my former boss Klaus Paulus in January and listening to his son's funeral speech.
In what way?
The son said that his father did everything in his life with love and taught him that too. At that moment I understood that Klaus Paulus not only made his son, but also made me who I am today. It was always clear: he was my boss and confidante, not a friend in the classic sense. But he shaped me like hardly any other person.
“Many of the guests are alone, have no families or are divorced. In such places they have a community, and that gives them stability "
How did he do it?
I don't come from a model family and was pretty much on my own. When I asked Klaus if I could work for him, I was still going to school, was shy and had no experience in gastronomy. I didn't think he would hire me. But he took me in and taught me everything you need to know as a waiter and in life. He was kind of a mentor to me. And I think that was what happened to a lot of people in this pub. Everyone was allowed to be as they were. And everyone got a chance. Next to me, for example, Klaus hired one of his tenants, who was a disaster - drank a lot, missed appointments, didn't pay the rent on time. But Klaus gave him a leap of faith and in the end he became the most popular barman ever. This is how you grow together as an unequal family. This is one of the reasons why the current crisis is hitting us all so hard in the catering industry: It's not just about the money.
The "joke" became famous around ten years ago because the two daughters of Klaus Paulus' friend had been murdered - andfrom their uncle. The girls were then eight and eleven years old and lived only a few hundred yards from the pub.
Of course we were all stunned. At first we didn't know who it was, so we tried to explain what had happened to each other in some way. At the same time there were many moments of silence. But at least we weren't alone. And although later not everyone mourned all the time, it was never as carefree as before. Some guests no longer wanted to come because they were deterred or in order not to disturb. Friends then tried to mobilize people so that Klaus Paulus and his girlfriend would not have financial damage as well. We managed to have no fewer guests in the end. But of course you can't go on with such an act unchanged.
How did this act change you personally?
The girls played in the beer garden every day in the summer, went to fashion shows, and met friends there. The thought of how someone could kill two so innocent people for no reason tore my heart apart. Since then I have doubted more whether what people are telling me is really true. Perhaps I have developed a greater sensitivity for who is authentic. But it certainly taught me how important a pub can be. Many of the guests are alone, have no families or are divorced. In such places they have a community and that gives them stability. Now in the corona crisis, we have to do without such social contacts. That is certainly tough for many.
The "joke" no longer exists, it was torn down a few years ago. How was that for you?
Sad. I had spent the whole summer in that house, celebrating parties, working until my feet hurt, and getting to know people I would never have met anywhere else. A newspaper driver who used to be at the circus and taught me to dance the tango. An English teacher who showed me that it can be a gift when someone cancels an appointment because it gives you more time for other things. I even got my current apartment through work.
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