The Tip Jar Should Have Been A Tip-Off

, , , , , , | Working | June 20, 2018

I am one of two people who work at an ice cream shack in a water park. This is my third and my coworker’s second year working there. We are the only workers trained on ice cream, so we are both here almost every day. Though I am not paid at the supervisor level, I have been there longer than most employees and have most of the duties of a supervisor.

I already know this summer is going to be a difficult one when I speak to the owner about the conditions of my hiring. He is perfectly agreeable and responsive, until I bring up the subject of my receiving a raise, since it’s my third summer and I’m still being paid minimum wage —  $7.25 an hour. I finally finagle a $0.50 raise out of him, which is good enough for me, and am excited to come back to work.

The season gets off to a rocky start due to an unusual amount of inclement weather, but the park is by no means struggling. One slow day, my coworker decides to make a cute little sign for our tip jar. I don’t think anything of it until the owner comes over and begins to berate us about it. He rants on about how tacky it is and he’ll take away our tip jar if we don’t remove the sign. He’s rather rude about it and the whole situation leaves a bad taste in both our mouths. Thankfully, we get to keep our tips, but we’re a lot more careful about how we behave around the owner.

Summer ends, we both go back to school, and I don’t think any more of it. Then, in September, my mom sends me a post from the water park’s Facebook page. Apparently, the owner was caught embezzling from investors and all his funds were pulled. He decided to make himself the victim by handcuffing himself to the top of the flume slide and refusing to leave until people had helped him raise enough money to keep the park. Of course, once the truth was out, nobody wanted to help him and he conceded in less than a week. The park was sold to another group better at not stealing from investors, and it went through a heavy rebranding process, but neither I nor my former coworker plan on going back any time soon.

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