Physical Brawls Are Not The Best Way To Resolve Coworker Conflict

, , , , , , , | Working | November 5, 2018

At the café where I work, we don’t have a tip jar, but if a customer chooses to give the cashier a tip, we’re allowed to accept it. It’s a dumb corporate policy, but there’s nothing we can do about it.

Generally, what most of us do is divvy up whatever we get with whomever else is working with us; that is to say, if I get fifty cents and only have one other coworker on the floor, he gets a quarter and I get a quarter. But this isn’t an official policy, and if someone chooses to keep all the tips that they get, there’s nothing anyone else can do about it. It’s not very good form, in my opinion, but if that’s the choice that someone makes, no one gets too bothered by it. And it’s pretty much expected that if someone doesn’t share their tips, no one else is going to share with that person; it’s a trade-off.

I have one coworker who not only doesn’t share his tips, but also loudly announces to the rest of us whenever he gets a good tip. He’s even gone so far as to wave a handful of change in my face at the end of his shifts. Although no one gets too bothered by someone choosing not to share, this guy being so “in your face” about the whole thing has always rubbed me the wrong way.

I was on the register when one of our regulars came up, and said that he paid with his card almost every time he came through, but that he wanted us all to know how much he appreciated our hard work. And then he handed me sixty dollars.

In the café that day, I had two other coworkers on the floor with me. One of them has always shared his tips with me. The other one was the hoarder I mentioned earlier. So, instead of handing out a twenty to each of them, I opened the register, broke one of the bills, and gave the sharing coworker $30, keeping the other $30 for myself.

My coworker whined. He begged. He complained to our manager. But what I had done was completely in line with our store’s policy. My coworker cornered me after my shift, got very close in my personal space, grabbed my wrist so tightly that it left a mark, and asked me what he’d ever done to deserve me “acting like a stuck-up c***.”

I was going to be mature(ish) about this. I was planning on giving him $10 and then reminding him that that’s a bigger percent than he’s ever given me. But after he called me that? I let him have it.

And then, I filed a harassment complaint with my manager. Turns out, I was not the first person he’d gotten physical with.

My coworker is now my former coworker.

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