Not Tipped To Be A Good Place To Work

, , , , , , , | Working | January 29, 2018

I worked for a coffee shop chain and had just transferred to a new store after moving. The way the company did our tips was to collect them for the week, count how much we had received, and find an hourly tip rate based on the number of hours worked that week. Then, people were tipped out based on how many hours they had worked during the week. Tips only went to hourly employees, and we weren’t supposed to discuss tips with management. We didn’t know how much came in in tips, or how much the hourly tip rate was. We didn’t keep a record of the tips from week to week. Once everyone had picked up their tips, the tip sheet was tossed.

At my old store we had three people who were trained on how to deal with tips and would rotate doing so. I was one of these people. When I transferred to my new store, I found out that only one person did tips. I found that a bit odd, and when I inquired as to why, I was told they hadn’t had time to train anyone else. So, I let my store manager know that I knew how and would be happy help with tips here.

After my first week at the store when I got my tips, I was a bit sad to see that I only got $1.32 per hour; my old store tips had been about $2.50 per hour. I wasn’t too surprised, though; my first store had been in a more affluent area and this was more rural. I had also come from a stand-alone store, and this was a drive-through, which meant we had a larger staff and that people would sometimes steal our tip box.

The next week, I got my tips again, and again they were $1.32 per hour. I found this very strange as we didn’t often get the exact same hourly rate. My first store we had as much as a 75-cent swing based on time of year, hours worked, and other factors. The third week, the tip rate was once again exactly $1.32 per hour.

The fourth week, my manager actually took me up on my offer, and I got to do tips. When I was finished doing tips, they were $2.14 per hour. The following week, the first person did it again, and tips were $1.32 per hour. The following week, I did tips, and they were $2.20 per hour. After this I went to my manager.

I told him that I thought something fishy was going on, that I had never seen a tip rate be the exact same week after week, and that when I did tips they were at least 80 cents higher and they fluctuated like they were supposed to. He told me that he would look into it.

A couple days later, the assistant manager came to me and told me that they had decided that my personality didn’t match the store’s atmosphere and that they had decided to transfer me to the other store in town. At that time, nothing happened to the other person who was doing tips. The other employees had now seen that something was going on with their tips, but there was no paper trail or any way to prove how much they should have gotten.

I was actually glad to be out of that store; it wasn’t a great working environment. After I left, they did change the way they did tips, and now two people had to count the money and figure out the tip rate, which was around $2.25 per hour with a normal fluctuation. A year later, the assistant manager and the other person who did tips were both fired for stealing from the company.

Fifth Time’s The Charm

, , , , , | Learning | January 28, 2018

(Every year, my college does a fundraising push to the alumni. The following story summarizes my first four years of calls after graduating. Year One:)

Student #1: “Hi! I’m calling with [College], and we just want to update all your information in our system. We also want to talk to you about making a donation to your alma mater.”

Me: “But I just graduated a couple of months ago. I don’t even have a full time job yet!”

Student #1: “So, are you interested in making a donation?”

Me: “What do you think?”

Student #1: “Is that a no?”

Me: *heavy sigh* “It’s definitely a no.”

Student #1: “Have you considered how this will effect my education? Most [College] students benefit from scholarships that are funded by alumni.”

Me: “Did you hear me say that I don’t have a full-time job yet? I have no money!”

(It continues like this for five minutes until I just hang up. Year Two:)

Student #2: “Hi, I’m calling from [College], and we’re calling today to talk to you about investing in our future–”

Me: “I’m going to stop you for a second. I have a job this year, but I’m still paying off my student loans to get my degree, and I will be for a long time. So, I’ll answer all your questions if you put me on the Do Not Call list for next year.”

Student #2: “I can do that. Thank you! Most people just hang up.”

(Year Three:)

Student #3: “Hi, I’m calling from [College]. How are you today?”

Me: “Is this a fundraising push?”

Student #3: “No, of course not! We’re calling to update your information.”

Me: “Uh-huh. What do you need to update?”

Student #3: “Um… your phone number.”

Me: “Seriously?”

Student #3: “And I’m here to talk to you about donating to the alumni fund!”

Me: “Okay. Stop. Read my record. What does it say?”

Student #3: ”It says, ‘Do Not Call.’ Oh…” *hangs up*

(Year Four:)

Student #4: “I’m calling to talk to you about donating to the alumni fund!”

Me: “Again? Do y’all even read alumni notes before you call? What does my record say?”

Student #4: “But it’s for a good cause!”

Me: ”I asked nicely for y’all to stop, and you won’t. I’m still paying off my degree. Stop calling me. Do you understand?”

Student #4: “But it will help other students!”

Me: *click*

(The phone rings again. I pick it up.)

Me:  “Look, I know most kids who attend [College] are wealthy and can donate a lot. I AM NOT WEALTHY! I took out student loans to get a good education. I am still paying those loans off. STOP CALLING ME.” *click*

(It’s Year Five. I haven’t gotten any calls this year.)

Your Card Has Been Frozen

, , , , | Right | January 27, 2018

(I’m at the register for a textile discounter that also sells toys, candy, and small domestic items like soap dispensers. It’s the evening shift, shortly before closing time, when a lady and her little daughter come to the register. Note that we accept cards, but only if the sum is 5€ or higher; it’s company policy.)

Me: “Good evening. Did you find everything?”

Customer: “Oh, yes, thank you.”

Girl: “Mummy, want this!”

(We both look at her, and she’s pointing at a PEZ-dispenser with the face of Anna from “Frozen.”)

Customer: “Oh, no, darling. You have already five of these.”

Girl: “Want Anna!”

Customer: “[Daughter], I already said no.”

(The girl doesn’t let go, though. She sits on the floor and has a full-blown temper tantrum, while the mother remains relatively calm and tries to persuade her child to stop screaming. Finally, the girl puts the toy back and starts sulking, silently.)

Customer: “I’m sorry. This doesn’t usually happen, and I know you’re about to close.”

Me: “Oh, don’t worry;this wasn’t even the worst today. Happens sometimes, even with the best-behaved kids. So, I scanned your items. That will be 3,46€, please.”

Customer: “Of course. Here you go.” *hands me her debit card*

Me: “Sorry, but you need to buy 5€ or more to pay with card. This is the company policy.” *points at the sign that explains this*

Customer: “Oh, this can’t possibly be real.” *before I can react in any way she turns to the girl* “[Daughter], give me that thing there that you want!”

(The smirk on the girl’s face was priceless.)

Switching It Up And Going Down

, , , , , , | Working | January 26, 2018

(After employees count down the tills at the end of day, money goes into plastic bags with strong adhesive strips closing them. They have to be cut open by accounting. Because counting down the tills is important, but difficult for people who struggle with math, I’ve had my store split between employees asked to count down tills and those in charge of floor resets at end of day. The district manager visits, and he takes issue with this.)

District Manager: “Why do you only let some employees count down tills? It would make more sense for every employee to take a turn.”

Me: “We only let employees who are able to demonstrate they can close tills quickly and correctly actually do so. There’s more than enough work for everyone else to recover merchandise.”

District Manager: “Hmmm… Humor me. Tomorrow, let’s switch the two groups, just for tomorrow’s shift.”

(We did. Thankfully, he was there to witness employees struggling with counting out the change and massive cash discrepancies. I expected that; not everyone is good at math. What shocked us was the number of people confused by the adhesive plastic bags. Several people had to be instructed that the bags had to be sealed and how to seal them. One employee somehow managed to get the bag stuck to his hair, money still inside. The adhesive was so strong, we had to cut it out. I let the district manager be the one to actually cut the employee’s hair. It drove the point home, and he bought the accounting team — and me — lunch as an apology.)

The Next Generation Needs Some Changes

, , , , , , | Working | January 26, 2018

(I have just pulled into a fast food restaurant after a long drive. I’m tired and not really with it.)

Cashier: “That will be $10.25, please”

Me: *hands over $20 note, thinks for a moment* “Oh, hold on. I’ll find the 25 cents.” *I hand her the coins*

Cashier: “I don’t need that; you given me too much. I don’t know how much change to give you now.”

Me: “Just give me a $10 note; I don’t want a handful of coins back.”

Cashier: “No, I can’t do that. I’ll have to explain to my boss where the $10 went to.”

Me: “You are supposed to give me $9.75, but I also gave you 25 cents, which adds up to $10.”

Cashier: “No, you are confusing me.” *gives me back the 25 cents and counts back $9.75 in change*

(I looked at the coins in my hand and wondered just how the next generation is going to survive.)

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