This TikTok story tells how a brave bartender revealed how low salaries are the norm in service industries and her pay check proves it!
A Gruelling Shift With Nothing to Show for It
With fervor and determination, Aaliyah Cortez, a bartender and a mother, shared her eye-opening revelation in a now-infamous video that quickly spread like wildfire.
In the haunting clip, Cortez held up her paycheck, a mere fraction of what one would expect after toiling for over 70 grueling hours.
The sting of reality set in as she realized that, after federal taxes, Social Security, and Medicare deductions, she was left with a paltry sum of less than $10.
“This is why you should always tip your bartenders and servers, anyone who waits on you or provides a service for you,” Cortez passionately conveyed in her viral video, hoping to ignite awareness and empathy among viewers.
A Plea for Tips
She pointed out that her hourly wage stood at a pitiful $2.13—an alarmingly low rate that fails to meet even the most basic standards of living.
Her heartfelt plea for fair compensation resonated with the millions who watched, captivating their attention and urging them to reconsider the importance of tipping.
Unfortunately, the abysmal truth Cortez exposed is rooted in the policies that govern the service industry.
Tips Subsidizing Poor Pay
Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, many states, including Texas, North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama, permit employers to pay their employees a mere $2.13 an hour.
They are relying on the premise that their cash tips will bridge the gap to meet the federal hourly minimum wage of $7.25, as stipulated by the U.S. Department of Labor.
As Cortez bared her financial struggles for the world to see, she emphasized the dire predicament faced by countless service industry workers.
“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,” she lamented.
A Glimmer of Hope
In a bittersweet turn of events, the immense response to Cortez’s TikTok video brought a glimmer of hope. Faced with an outpouring of support and an army of advocates rallying behind her cause, she returned to the platform to express her heartfelt gratitude.
“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,” one viewer pleaded.
“I always tip 20%. If I can’t afford 20% I don’t go to a restaurant,” another added.
Blame the Business, Not the Customer
Other viewers weren’t so quick to take her side.
“Get a different job,” one viewer simply put.
“Blame the business not the customers keeping the business open,” someone suggested.
Cortez thanked each and every person who lent their support, spreading her message far and wide, igniting a conversation that demanded change and justice for the service industry workers who toil tirelessly for the benefit of others.
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Roman Samborskyi. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.