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Just the Tip

Updated: Aug 31, 2019

This week It isn’t all about tits. It’s about tips in the service industry. Let’s face it, this is more of a talk for women, since 67 percent of all tipped employees in the country are women. Unfortunately it is another tender issue that brings unequal treatment of the sexes into the spotlight. Unfortunately we are still fighting unequal treatment of the sexes. America hit puberty. Here we go! Pimples, hormones, and general confusion about if we are grown up yet. Our shit is not sorted out. There is a wage difference of 71 percent for minimum wage versus the tipped minimum wage. That is bananas. Just a small zit on the pimply face of the United States, but listen to this. Tipped minimum wage hasn’t changed in 23 years. YEARS. YEARS. Wait…. One more time. The tipped minimum wage hasn’t changed in 23 years. Are you kidding me? For those of you who have never worked a minimum wage job and earned tips let me explain. The minimum wage is typically not enough to live on alone, and this physical and mental work is extremely fast paced and thankless. Being a server is in some of the most stressful work you can do. This is due to ever fluctuating hours, and so many variables out of your control that you are the face of for 6-15 tables at a time. Luckily  for me Washington State does not practice tipped minimum wage, so I could go work my booty off at a restaurant and pull 50K a year, and it would be well-earned. This would be without sick leave, vacation time, or benefits. The minimum wage in Washington is 11 and some change outside of seattle, but let’s say you work as a server in Texas. If you are able to make the difference of the tip minimum wage which is 2.13 dollars to the federal minimum wage of 7.25, then you lose 5.12 dollars an hour to your employer. What? That means if you work 40 hours a week in Texas as a server, then your employer can take 340 dollars of your monthly income to subsidize the cost of owning a restaurant. Does that seem right? A person who is likely scrubbing the toilets and mopping the floors of these restaurants have to pay 340 dollars a month because running a restaurant is expensive? People what is going on? Also I would like to point out how freaking low the federal minimum wage is. 1,160 per month for working 40 hours a week? Blow me. So let’s get back on track. Based on that insane tip credit loophole, something like 67 percent of those workers are women. It might be lower, or higher if you exclude the states that do not use tip credits. To dig a little deeper I looked at how men and women's tips differ in the service industry. Take a guess at who makes more in tips. Yep, men do. Why is this? In my personal experience the men who work as servers or bar tenders aren’t any better than the women that I have worked with. Honestly the better part of them were lazy ego maniacs who got away with doing a shitty job because they are men. Yet even in my personal experience of seeing certain men actively not doing their job, people still would refer to the space at his. This is regardless of if he works there more than anyone else or not, and it is acknowledged by people who worked with them, above them, and customers. Men are not incapable or lesser than women are, but they receive a lot of unearned credit. Don’t take my word for it, just look at the numbers again. Would that push people into the belief that women aren’t tipped as well as men because they aren’t as good? Or would people turn their brains on a little bit and realize that the way society views women is oppressive? Hard to say. I usually go into a very cynical place after looking at things like this. Am I wrong for doing that? 

So next time you stroll into an establishment with low blood-sugar on your side wanting to be upset at employees or restaurant workers for an included gratuity or otherwise, consider adjusting patriotism into anger at the systems that created inequalities such as these. 


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