Saturday, August 14, 2010

Don't Fret, We're All In Debt

Debt is a funny thing. I mean, the majority of Americans are in some sort of debt whether it be from mortgages or car payments, or in my particular case, student loans, and that's a scary thing. We've built a society around the idea that it's acceptable to get things right away and then pay for them later. Rather bizarre if you think about it. And what's weirder is, a lot of people in my generation who have graduated or are about to graduate from college are going to have some sort of debt to pay off. We're all in this great big boat of debt and at times it feels like we're going under.

You know why else debt sucks? It doesn't really improve your chances of wooing women. I mean, you'd think it would be such a turn off for ladies to be interested in a guy who's $40,000+ in the hole. But the fact of the matter is, almost everyone, men and women alike, owe money to someone. Creepy.

Today, as I waited on America's upper crust, I pondered about the general idea of debt; that is "Something that is owed or something that one is bound to pay for" and I realized that my job sort of feeds into that idea of debt. Hungry people bark at me what they want to eat and I bring it to them as soon as they tell me. They don't have to pay for their food right away, but instead they put off paying until the end of the meal. Sure it would be weird to think about paying for food right away at a restaurant because it's not what we're used to, but don't you usually have to pay for something to get it? Not in America.

This thought arose in my mind when one of the women who was sitting at my table, a party of 11, said to me, "Thank you so much for doing all of this for us. You really accomodated us well." They were a needy bunch and I bent over backward to please them. Frankly, when she uttered that phrase, I was taken aback. Her daughter's fish tacos came out 5 minutes after everyone else's food and I was sure she was going to rally. However, much to my surprise, she did not. She was grateful. But after she told me how appreciative she was, it made me think that she was indebted to me for providing her and her brood with exceptional service. Now honestly, I don't have delusions of grandeur and think I'm the greatest waiter known to mankind (in fact, sometimes I think I'm not even that good of a waiter, but my uncanny ability to smile through anything and talk my way into peoples' hearts helps me out) but the woman felt like she owed me something, which was interesting.

It turned out, the kindly family tipped me extra after I added the gratuity onto their bill.

So, debt. It's everywhere, all around us, lurking behind every American Express card and palatial mansion. It's interwoven in our culture into things we do not even think twice about. Though it, according to my collegiate peers, "feels like you are paying for things and can't catch up", it's an all-too-real facet of society that we have to suck up and deal with because it probably will never change. Sounds like a bright future, right? Bring on those student loans, baby...

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