The way workers in the restaurant and service industry are paid in America is awful. Anyone who has paid even the slightest attention to the stories coming from servers and bartenders could tell you as much.
But even knowing what we know about how much the people who put up with endless nonsense from customers depend on tipping, sometimes it’s easy to fail to recognize just how utterly dire things really are.
A video shared by Aaliyah Cortez on TikTok recently illustrates why tipping is not only the right thing to do, but literally imperative for these hardworking employees to survive.
“So this is why you should always tip your bartenders, servers, anyone who waits on you or provides a service for you,” she says at the start of the video.
LOOOOOOOOL Americans have it tough pic.twitter.com/upuz0Uv1AP— sabs 🚩 (@sxbvna) February 10, 2020
Pointing to her payslip, Cortez notes that she worked 70.80 hours over the course of the two week pay period.
Her hourly wage is $2.13 for work as both a bartender and a server, which is pure insanity in and of itself. That puts her wages for nearly 71 hours of work, only 9 hours shy of full time, at a measly $150.81.
And as if $150 for two weeks of work isn’t already abysmal, it gets even worse.
“But because I have to have social security, Medicare, and income tax taken out,” Cortez continues, “I was paid $9.28 for 70 hours of work.”
The video quickly went viral, sparking controversy between people sympathetic to restaurant workers’ plight and those who still just don’t get it.
Just say you hate ppl and keep it moving.— Mother of dragging 🐉 (@Lauren86145438) February 11, 2020
If you can’t tip then do go out to eat. People work in the food industry because it is good money when people tip which they should because they were provided a service— ✧ ⋆𝒮𝓉𝑒𝓅𝒽⋆ ✧ (@Stephh126) February 12, 2020
Forcing tipping will stop when the laws change and it forces restaurants to pay a living wage. The 2.13 shite is allowed by federal law so employers will always abuse it.— Eldon Russell 🌈🐐 (@ThorneTheViking) February 11, 2020
It becomes societies job to take care of the servers. While in many countries trying to tip is an insult.
Hey American here 👋— Jazzingitup (@jazminconcepci4) February 11, 2020
Soooooooo no one is supposed to be a waitress? Also we kinda going through a recession so depending on where you at it’s VERY hard to find a job. Even with a bachelors degree in a lot of states you not getting paid more than $30,000 a year.
Where you may have the privilege to do that, others do not. Which is why employers should have to pay service industry workers a base liveable wage. Do not shame people for taking on jobs they are capable of doing.— Christine Cupo (@CCupo) February 12, 2020
these replies are exactly the problem.— kimberly (@litasadiamond) February 11, 2020
y'all love blaming minimum wage workers instead of the REAL PROBLEM ⚠️
It’s not a matter of whether I can afford to tip or eat out…if I want to eat out I will and if I want to not tip then I can😗
— 𝐧𝐢𝐲𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐲𝐚🖤 (@chocdolljaniya) February 12, 2020
But Cortez has a message for those trying to say she should just get another job if the pay is so low.
In a subsequent video, she calls out people shaming her for keeping her job.
“I like my job. Bartending, serving, it’s fun. However, I don’t agree with the state laws that allow restaurants to pay under minimum wage and expect the customer to pay our wages,” she says. “I don’t f—k with that.”
@f.aa.dedWATCH MY LAST VID #psa #fyp #foryou #bartender #server #work #tips #hardwork #viral #serverlife #bartenderlife♬ original sound – f.aa.ded
Clarifying that she herself makes what she considers good money in tips, she adds: “However, this is not the case for all service industry workers. Why? Because motherfuckers ain’t tipping even though their state is expecting them to tip. So educate yourselves.”