For insatiable cupidity, unexampled persistence and "monumental gall," the average Memorial Hall waiter can probably never be excelled. When this interesting specimen of sable humanity is not engaged in talking politics or adroitly pilfering from the table of his neighbor, the chances are that he will be filling the ears of his helpless victims with tales of imaginary woe or visions of enjoyment which the donation of a "quarter" or "half" will give. The ingenious devices resorted to are worthy of admiration. At one time an extra dollar is needed to pay the month's rent; again, a pitiful story of a dying child is used to work upon our sympathies. Furthermore, he can suit his conversation to the tastes of his auditors. On Washington's Birthday and Decoration Day he sympathizes with us and bewails the cruelty of the faculty in not giving us a holiday, at the same time hinting that he expects to take a little vacation himself, and that a slight donation will not be amiss. Once in a while we come in to breakfast and find his face wreathed in smiles, the cause of which we soon learn, when he confidentially whispers in our ear that he is twenty-six years old today; he then draws off a few feet and watches the effect of his scheme. In short, if there is any limit to the waiter's avarice or his ingenuity in extorting fees, no one has yet been able to find it. The more you give him the more he expects. If once you favor him, he regards it as a wrong if after a reasonable time he is not again made a happy recipient of a small donation, and if one man at a table is rash enough to fee him the other men who do not do so are in his eyes the souls of meanness.
The only way to stop the evils of the fee system, and save ourselves from being a subjugated race, is to inaugurate a vigorous crusade against the extortionate demands of our waiters. No reason has yet been adduced to warrant the system; if the waiters do not receive wages enough they are at liberty to go elsewhere. Furthermore, the donor in nine cases out of ten receives no benefit from his gift, for the waiter is stimulated more by the hope of the reward than by the gift when given.
The system is an evil one and should be destroyed at once; if the members of the association will not do it themselves, we hope to see the matter brought before the directors, and a rule to discharge any waiter who is known to have been seeking fees would be in no wise out of place or detrimental to the interests of all concerned.