How would you react if you received a paycheck worth $9.28 for 70 hours of work? For people in the service industry, it's the norm. One bartender's TikTok video has gone viral, sharing how much service industry workers rely on tips from customers.
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Meet Aaliyah Cortez. She's a mother of one and a bartender and server at a sports bar in Austin, Texas where the state minimum wage for servers is $2.13 an hour. After the money was taken out due to federal taxes, social security, and Medicare, she was left with a $9.28 paycheck, sharing in the video, "Of course, I got tips, but this is what I got for my hourly," Cortez said. "This is why you tip."
Aaliyah Cortez shared with Today that the reason she posted the viral video was to shine a light on the service industry's low wages and the importance of tipping. The working mom has had weeks where her paycheck was $0, relying solely on the generosity of customers. Most of the time guests tip, but other times, tables simply leave without giving a tip. During one instance, a group of sports fans didn't leave a tip because their team didn't win.
Legally, tipping is optional, but if you've ever been in the service industry, you know how important those tips are.
How to Tip Waitstaff
According to cultural standards, a gratuity of 15-20% of the total bill is standard, and when at the bar, a $1 per drink is standard. Don't base your tip on the taste (the server has nothing to do with it) but rather the level of service you received. Even if you have terrible service you should leave a tip. If the service was awful, bring over the manager and let them know you had a problem.
The easiest way to calculate your tip is to move the pretax bill amount by one decimal point then double. For instance, if you paid $40.53 for a meal, a tip of $8.10 would be perfect to leave on the table.