The other day on Twitter, @novacharter and @lilcutegirl86 were talking about money in Star Trek.
@lilcutegirl86 wondered why anyone would be a waiter in Ten Forward for free.
It just so happens that being a waiter in Ten Forward on the Enterprise-D is one of my dream jobs.
Let's accept for a moment that there is no monetary compensation for the job as @lilcutegirl suggests.
(We see Starfleet officers use and refer to money lots of times…)
What then would persuade someone to take on this job?
The Enterprise-D is the flagship. The best of the best.
Starfleet officers work really hard to be assigned to that ship.
But first they have to go through four years at Starfleet Academy before being assigned anywhere.
I've decided that you could skip college and go straight to the Enterprise; as a waiter.
As a waiter on a starship, you're a civilian.
You get all of the benefits of the Enterprise with only a fraction of the responsibility.
You get to chat with people of every rank and every department.
You can bring Riker a drink and find out what's going on in the ship; a newly assigned Ensign wouldn't dream of being so bold.
You get to boldly go…
You get access to the holodeck.
When the ship stops off at Risa, you get to say "I'm with the Enterprise".
Your job is pretty easy.
I've been a waiter before. Being a waiter in Ten Forward would be totally different.
You see, people go to Ten Forward not so much for the food, as for the people.
There are replicators all over the ship that will give you food. So most big meals will be eaten in private quarters.
We normally see desserts and drinks being served. No big orders.
(Yes, there is the rare exception)
You don't have to worry about money.
Waiters here in the 21st Century have to worry about people skipping out on their bills. Have to worry about earning tips, and having people stiff them on tips.
If there is no money, there's nothing to worry about.
And dishes? You just recycle them in the replicator.
Basically your job is to help provide an atmosphere of relaxment and be there when they can't afford Guinan as a guest star.
And you know what? You can probably pick up some skills here and there too.
I mean look how far Wesley got before he entered the Academy.