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TikToker Reveals She Makes $2.13 an Hour As a Bartender; Her Wage After 70 Hours of Work Refreshes Debate on Tipping

Aaliyah Cortez said that after working for 70 hours, she was paid around $9.28 after federal taxes, social security and Medicare.
Cover Image Source: TikTok | @f.aa.ded
Cover Image Source: TikTok | @f.aa.ded

A 2013 article by The Guardian talks about how tipping in America is not optional and how waiters and waitresses are still relying on tips to sustain. Over a decade years later, things do not seem to have changed a lot. A TikToker revealed the shocking amount she earns after working for 70 hours as a bartender. After the video surfaced on the video sharing platform, people took to the comment section to discuss the problem yet again.

Aaliyah Cortez, who worked at the local sports bar, posted the video in which she reveals that she is paid just $2.13 an hour without tips. She also talks about how she has to rely on the generosity of customers. 

TikTok | @f.aa.ded
TikTok | @f.aa.ded

Cortez then said that after working for 70 hours, she was paid around $9.28 after federal taxes, social security and Medicare. "So this is why you should always tip your bartenders and servers, anyone who waits on you or provides a service for you," Cortez says in the video. "Of course, I got tips, but this is what I got for my hourly," Cortez adds. "This is why you tip."

"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," she further says. "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," she continues.

"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," per Cortez. She wishes waiters would be paid adequately and consistently. "I cannot afford to live off of $2.13 an hour, so I solely rely on the generosity of my customers," she states.


People were quick to tell the creator that it's not the customer's duty to make sure that she gets what she deserved, rather the business should pay for the labor just like every other sector. "No mam, your bar/restaurant is getting free labor and that's not ok," read the top comment. "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," read another comment.

Many people also agreed with the creator, one responder said, "Tips are optional always, always will be. The whole 'if you can't tip, don't eat out' thing is pointless. We pay our bill, that’s it." Another person said, "The people mad at this are the people who don’t tip lmao." "I don’t get why people go to restaurants and and can’t leave a decent just go to a fast food place instead," complained another commenter. 


Tipping became the norm in US in the early 1900s and the practice likely moved from Europe where it stemmed from aristocracy. The Americans were a bit too enthusiastic about the culture and started tipping more than the Europeans. But why do people in the service industry have to rely on tipping to sustain? Well, in the the 1960s, the US Congress decided on a so-called "tipping credit." This meant that the employer could pay the employee under the minimum wage if they earn tips. This system is still prevalent in many states till date.