An Austin bartender has turned to TikTok to highlight the meager wages she receives, further fueling the ongoing debate surrounding the divisive tipping culture in the United States.
Aaliyah Cortez, a mother who has been employed as a server at a local sports bar for slightly more than a year, recently shared her disheartening experience of receiving a mere $9.28 in compensation after accounting for federal taxes, social security, and Medicare deductions following 70.8 hours of work.
In addition, Cortez emphasized that her base wage is only $2.13 per hour, underscoring her dependence on customer tips as her primary source of income.
"So this is why you should always tip your bartenders and servers, anyone who waits on you or provides a service for you." This revelation was shared by Cortez in a TikTok video she posted in January 2020.
"Of course, I got tips, but this is what I got for my hourly," Cortez added. "This is why you tip."
Furthermore, the mother expressed her dissatisfaction with the service industry, emphasizing her desire for fair and consistent compensation.
She told Buzzfeed: "There are laws set up that allow tipped employees to be paid under the federal minimum wage, which makes us rely on the customer to pay our wages.
"It's not right that we have to do this, but I wanted to shed some light on the issue and inform the public about the importance of tipping."
"If I had a good two weeks from tips, my check will be on the lower side. At my last restaurant, my checks would come out to be $0."
"I just wish we were all being paid adequately and consistently. As you can see — by my check — I cannot afford to live off of $2.13 an hour, so I solely rely on the generosity of my customers."
Her video has sparked a divided response among viewers, with one individual commenting: "This is why the US should be like EVERY other developed nation and not have a tip culture. Businesses should pay your wages. Tips shouldn't be a thing."
Another added: "Tips are optional always have been always will be. The whole iF YoU cAnT tIP dOnT EAt oUT thing is point less we pay our bill that's it."
"Blame the business not the customers keeping the business open," a third thought.
However, there were those who showed a bit more empathy, with one individual expressing: "No mam, your bar/restaurant is getting free labor and that's not ok."
A second added: "The people mad at this are the people who don't tip lmao."
"I don't get why people go to restaurants and can't leave a decent tip like just go to a fast food place instead," complained a third.