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Living off tips is a mystery, instability, a constant question. Living off tips, you never know what your income will be for that day.

My mother raised me and my sister on tips and had to go monthly to our local department of Health and Human Services department to receive food stamps for money to eat. We lived with my grandmother because my mother did not make enough money to be able to afford a apartment or home of her own and raise two children by herself. I have been in the industry for 8 years now and I love what I do. I love making people happy and making them great cocktails and giving them an enjoyable experience. However, not all of society is on board with tipping. So I can pay out of my pocket to serve someone because I must pay taxes on their check but I didn’t actually receive that tip that the government expects me to be taxed on. I have worked a double ( approx. 8 hour shift) on a Monday and made a total of $13. Now granted that isn’t a common occurrence, however, it does happen and how am I supposed to pay bills on 13 dollars or $1.60 an hour. I have had people yell in my face, other industry workers not tip me and much other discouraging things happen. However I am currently pursuing a Restaurant and Hotel management from a Tier One University. I believe in this business and this industry and it’s great, but servers, bartenders, and hosts cannot make a living wage off tips because some people flat out suck and don’t tip or don’t tip very well. Thankfully I have another income in my house hold that allows me to continue to pursue my dreams of owning a bar one day.

While I am aware that an increase in tipped minimum wage will increase my labor costs, I am hopeful for myself and future industry workers to be able to do what they love and make a living just as much as a secretary, teacher or any other profession.