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.

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