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Tipping at $tarbucks

ElsieDee Mar 21, 2008 12:33 AM

Interesting article in the L.A. Times about a court case involving the tip jars and how the tips were divvied-up :http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi...

  1. Azizeh Barjesteh Mar 29, 2008 01:11 AM

    It's amazing to me the attitude of the posters who think that people who work in food, coffee, or retail get minimum wage because that's all they're worth. But yet, they want professionals that are highly trained to be serving them their dinner at any restaurant nicer than Denny's.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Azizeh Barjesteh
      jgg13 Mar 29, 2008 07:25 AM

      I don't see anyone saying that. I don't expect the same sort of treatment at Dennys that I would at a 3 star place. Basically anyone over the age of 15 could manage working at *$, McDs, Dennys, Outback, etc - which means that's not a skill that's in demand, which means they're not worth anything.

    2. alkapal Mar 28, 2008 05:48 PM

      company is not going to change their practice on tips, despite court's ruling:
      http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/080328/starbu...

      2 Replies
      1. re: alkapal
        m
        miss_bennet Mar 28, 2008 11:33 PM

        I don't speak "legal," but I did some research, and I am a little confused.

        The labor law defines "employer" as every person who has to direct one or more other employees, has the authority to hire/fire, and/or is the owner. An "employee" is every person "rendering actual service in any business for an employer." Tips belong to the "employee," not the "employer." It is illegal for the "employer" to take tips.
        http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/faq_tipsan...

        The problem here is that Starbucks shift supervisors are both, as per California law. The judge had to decide one way or another, and I think he decided to penalize the "big guy" instead of the "little guy." While I normally support this kind of behaviour, in this situation, the supervisors are doing the exact same work as the baristas, plus extra stuff. So they're the people getting screwed.

        If I were a shift supervisor in California, I would refuse to serve coffee, wipe tables, or do anything that would include actual service. I mean, if the law "says" you can't benefit from your job, why do it?

        1. re: miss_bennet
          jgg13 Mar 29, 2008 12:14 AM

          It ain't just CA anymore, a MA coffee zombie drone filed a similar suite here in Boston:
          http://www.boston.com/business/articl...

      2. Veggo Mar 24, 2008 03:54 PM

        Hey, this issue is not cannon fodder for a Che Guevara style revolt. Recurrent polls indicate that more than half of employees in the US are unsatisfied with their jobs. And practically everyone with a job feels that they are underpaid. Whiney Starbucks employees? Take a number and step in line. And have a latte while you wait for Godot. You earn only slightly less than your garbage collector. Care to trade jobs?

        1 Reply
        1. re: Veggo
          n
          New_2_718 Mar 24, 2008 06:06 PM

          Garbage collectors in NYC earn waaaaaaaaaay more than starbucks workers, I assure you, and they get good city benefits.

          I do think it's worth discussing. Do Wall St guys who earn over 200K think they are underpaid? Maybe. My question is why are they valued more than a schoolbus driver? I think this country is insane and I don't understand the value that is placed on things. In Europe to be a waiter or a counter person in a cafe is considered a professional job and is compensated accordingly.

        2. MaspethMaven Mar 22, 2008 06:03 PM

          It was this way when I worked there in late 90s.
          The "shift" did all the same things we did, but was also responsible for closing up the store, counting out the registers, managing deliveries and cash control, taking care of inventory, all while also helping out "on bar." This is back when we had to grind the espresso ourselves, the coffee urns were on timers, and we also had to sell whole beans.

          At my location, workers were scheduled so that everyone saw at least one or two tough shifts a week. It depends on your schedule, though. I did'nt open much, since I was in college and had AM classes.

          It really wasn't a big deal to share. But the tips made a difference. I worked 30 hours a week, and commonly made $35 in tips. That $35 bucks bought groceries.

          1 Reply
          1. re: MaspethMaven
            n
            New_2_718 Mar 22, 2008 06:38 PM

            And this, my friends, is why I tip. These days, more and more of those jobs formerly held by teenagers are being held by adults and they don't pay much.

          2. Paul Weller Mar 22, 2008 05:39 PM

            Schweeet!!!!!!! I can hardly wait for my check to come in. I'll probably get about $3 after they pay the lawyers. When I worked at 'Bucks many years ago, the majority of employees were teenagers that gave away drinks to all their friends, complained nonstop about having to do anything remotely like work and had no clue about working in the real world. Not all employees were like this, but a large majority were. I never cared about sharing tips with shifts, they did the same work I did, were paid hourly, were not paid a whole lot more money. As a footnote the propoganda that corporate and store management pushed on us all the time was pretty Orwellian.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Paul Weller
              z
              zin1953 Mar 23, 2008 06:06 PM

              No wonder they dumped the Lineas for those crappy super-autos!

            2. c
              crt Mar 22, 2008 03:25 PM

              The crux of this case is not whether as shift supervisors $tarbuck$ chooses to pay them an hourly wage rather than salaried wage as they do a manager, or that it expects them to do the same job functions as the baristas. They gave them the title of shift supervisor and in so doing they become, in the eyes of the law, and the judge in this case, an agent of the company. And that is where the law is clear. And that is how the judge found in this case. In any event shift supervisors are already compensated for their title by earning a higher hourly wage than the baristas. As someone stated here according to San Francisco Chronicle, anywhere from $1.50 to $2.65 more an hour. Based on expert testimony to the Superior Court, the average tip rate was pegged at $1.71 per hour. Hardly seems fair to me that someone already being compensated for their title should be doubly compensated because they chose to accept that title, the duties expected of it, and recieve a higher hourly wage rate for it. $tarbuck$ has lots of other ways it can compensate shift supervisors ... but the money should come from $tarbuck$, not from the [tip] pool from which the baristas recieve to help to compliment their lower wages. $tarbuck$ earned $672 million on revenue of $9.4 billion during its 2007 fiscal year. But I guess one just can't expect the corporate big wigs to return some of that profit in the form better wages for their shift supervisors. And heaven forbid they dip into their own multi million dollar bonuses or stock options!

              1 Reply
              1. re: crt
                m
                miss_bennet Mar 22, 2008 05:58 PM

                I entirely disagree with your conclusion that shift supervisors are "doubly compensated." Look at you paragraph, and the numbers. a shift supervisor can make $1.50 - $2.65 more an hour, and the average tip rate was $1.71 per hour (with shift supervisors getting a cut). So, by that math, it is entirely possible that, because the average hourly worker is eligible for tips, they can make more per hour than the supervisor who is not eligible. Suddenly, that shift supervisor's "compensation" changes from $1.50 - $2.65 more per hour to $0.21 LESS per hour to $0.94 per hour.
                There is no "doubl[e] compensation." The tip pool upholds the original compensation the supervisors receive.

                As for the notion that Starbucks should mereky compensate shift supervisors other ways, is being a Starbucks shift supervisor truly supposed to offer a great wage? And if you think that Starbucks should share their wealth, shouldn't they share it with their baristas, too, so we don't have to supplement their wages with tips?

              2. d
                dustchick Mar 22, 2008 12:41 PM

                Having spent a bunch of time using several Starbucks stores as a place to do my grading, I will state that I've never known a shift supervisor who did NOT work the register or make drinks. In fact, it's difficult to tell who is the person "in charge" during any given shift. Having done my time in fast food years ago, the manager wore street clothes and never lifted a finger. Shift supervisors at Starbucks do the work on the floor, including sweeping, clearing tables and restrooms... at least from my experience as a customer (and I was a regular at a particular store for about 5 years). I have no problem with these employees sharing tips.

                2 Replies
                1. re: dustchick
                  n
                  New_2_718 Mar 22, 2008 01:50 PM

                  I have no problem with this either. I would last about five seconds at starbucks waiting on all the whiny skinny-chai-latte a*holes who line up around the block. I think they all deserve a few extra bucks.

                  1. re: New_2_718
                    momof3 Mar 23, 2008 06:35 PM

                    amen.

                2. yayadave Mar 22, 2008 08:45 AM

                  I see a lot of posts saying that they are not tipping to pay someone's salary and I wonder why. For most places the minimum wage as set by law is MUCH less for workers receiving tips than for other workers. Your tips ARE expected to make up the difference. That difference in minimum wage is why there is tipping in the US and not in Paris.

                  Pooling tips as corperate policy is a whole 'nother mess.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: yayadave
                    d
                    Docsknotinn Mar 22, 2008 08:49 AM

                    Starbucks emloyees are not receiving lower hourly wages set by minimum wage standards for tipped employees such as servers in a restaurant.

                    1. re: Docsknotinn
                      yayadave Mar 22, 2008 09:04 AM

                      Nationwide or just in California?

                      1. re: yayadave
                        z
                        zin1953 Mar 22, 2008 09:08 AM

                        As I understand it, the decision covers just California . . . at this time.

                    2. re: yayadave
                      jgg13 Mar 22, 2008 02:19 PM

                      *$ employees, and really, any place using the "tip jar" method aren't covered by that rule.

                      1. re: yayadave
                        rockandroller1 Mar 22, 2008 08:23 PM

                        This is not true with these jobs, nor most jobs with a tip jar. They are paid at least minimum wage, often over the min. wage. Now, I am completely on the side of people who argue that the min. wage is not a good living wage anymore, but that's not the point. There are a lot of people not being paid what they're worth but they aren't paid LESS than the minimum wage and expected to make the rest up in tips - only servers have this construct (as far as I know). That's why I tip servers. Baristas are paid minimum (or above), so I don't tip them. Nor anybody else who works for minimum wage, which, as I mentioned before, would include most of the people who might assist you at a retail store, people at drug stores or department stores, etc.

                      2. Azizeh Barjesteh Mar 21, 2008 12:19 PM

                        I don't really like Starbucks too much, but almost every day I stop by a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf here in Los Angeles. They are also a fairly large chain in the region, but nowhere near the size of Starbucks. I just noticed yesterday that the barista who makes my same drink daily is a shift supervisor. She also does the best job on my drink, it's always consistent and perfectly made.
                        So, if being a shift supervisor is a promotion, then making only a dollar or two more an hour than regular employees, but not receiving tips, it's possible that they are making the same or less than the regular employees without as much responsibility. That was a giant run-on sentence, but what I'm trying to say is that if the tips are good, an average employee will probably make more than the extra $2 an hour the shift lead is being paid. I don't think that's fair if the shift lead is doing the same things as the regular baristas, and more. I think you also become a shift lead by having a good work history and ethic, are a good example to other employees and have earned it. I highly doubt that they advertise and hire for these positions externally. For someone who is making drinks and helping to make sure a shift goes smoothly, they deserve the tips.

                        1. dave_c Mar 21, 2008 11:32 AM

                          After reading this article and a couple others, I actually think the baristas are a bunch of whiny, money grubbers.

                          Why?

                          The supervisor works side by side with them making drinks, doing cash register work and are paid hourly. Shouldn't they deserve a portion of the tips? Now, if the supervisor just stayed in the back room directing, that's a different story.

                          In regards to the tipping at Starbucks, I don't. They are doing the job they're getting paid for. They don't do anything extra - clear my plates, bring me water, etc. The only time I've tipped is when my kids start rattling out orders with special requests tacked on.

                          1. rockandroller1 Mar 21, 2008 10:36 AM

                            They could be killing the golden goose with the publicizing of this knowledge. I think when the public at large learns that a) they've been "subsidizing" the pay of all starbucks employees and b) what a huge figure it adds up to be, and that's just in one state, it's quite possible people will quit tipping them all together.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: rockandroller1
                              n
                              New_2_718 Mar 21, 2008 10:55 AM

                              Where there is a tip jar, I tip. I think tip pooling probably sucks for them, but depriving them of my tip also sucks.

                              Also, Starbucks sucks and I never go there. But if I did, I would tip.

                              1. re: New_2_718
                                d
                                Docsknotinn Mar 21, 2008 11:05 AM

                                I had the same thought about depriving them of tips at first but I refuse to tip someone I've never seen or met or who has never served me. In the stores near me there is on average three people working. If I leave a buck I'm leaving .33 each. Now dividide that dollar by the entire staff and what am I really tipping the people that served me .02?
                                I'm absolutly not paying the wages for any mega corporation. I already paid my share of wages when I purchased the product. That is part of the expense. Tipping is not. They are already being paid a fair wage.

                              2. re: rockandroller1
                                ccbweb Mar 21, 2008 11:25 AM

                                I don't think there was any assertion that the tips are going to all employees; only people who work on "the floor" (that is, those who ring at the register, grind beans and make coffee/espresso drinks). The managers weren't a part of the tip pool, only the "shift supervisors." The legal question had to do with California definitions of "manager."

                              3. rockandroller1 Mar 21, 2008 08:07 AM

                                I am just against the tipping at Starbucks. I tip waitresses. When baristas make $2.13 an hour and are expected to make up the rest of their income from tips, I'll tip them. Until then, I won't tip them nor anyone else who is in the service industry just because they're doing the job they were hired for. I mean, if a girl at the Gap goes and gets you different sizes of pants, you don't tip her. WTF.

                                14 Replies
                                1. re: rockandroller1
                                  jgg13 Mar 21, 2008 01:28 PM

                                  Agreed. I don't really care what the heck *$ does with the money, I don't put money in tip jars.

                                  1. re: rockandroller1
                                    n
                                    New_2_718 Mar 24, 2008 10:53 AM

                                    Working at the Gap and working at Starbucks are totally different.
                                    Do you think $7 or $8 an hour is a lot of money for a baritsa? I don't. Even $10 is not a lot of money for what they do.

                                    1. re: New_2_718
                                      rockandroller1 Mar 24, 2008 11:29 AM

                                      I believe there are a lot of similarities. I have had more retail and restaurant jobs than probably anyone you'll ever know and IMO there are a LOT of similiarities.

                                      1. re: rockandroller1
                                        n
                                        New_2_718 Mar 24, 2008 11:32 AM

                                        it really depends on the job. I have had lots of retail and food service jobs too. I think retail is pretty much always easier.

                                        As for you having more service industry jobs than anyone I'll ever know...how old are you exactly? Not sure you want to get into that contest with me.

                                        1. re: New_2_718
                                          rockandroller1 Mar 24, 2008 11:36 AM

                                          :) I am 40. All my life I have worked at least 2 jobs at one time. I have had 45 jobs (am currently working a PT retail job in addition to my FT office job). You?

                                          1. re: rockandroller1
                                            n
                                            New_2_718 Mar 24, 2008 11:43 AM

                                            Well, I'm a little older than you but you've probably got me beat since I haven't worked food service or retail in a while. I have NO idea how many jobs I've had...scary question. Anyway, we can agree to disagree, but I'm still going to toss my change into the tip jar!

                                            1. re: New_2_718
                                              rockandroller1 Mar 24, 2008 11:53 AM

                                              agree to disagree works for me. :) I actually had to sit down and count my jobs last year (and only counting things where I had to pay taxes/actually got a W-2, so no acting work, no volunteer work, etc.) as it's part of a book I'm writing. My first year out of college I filed 13 W-2s and the next year, 11. But alas, I get off topic. Generally speaking, I think they're very similar but it depends on the retail job. The only obvious difference to me is I don't come home smelling like food. But I do come home tired, injured, having dealt with nasty customers and nice, been on my feet all day, nearly constantly moving (and not comfortable shoes either as when waiting tables), dealing with "special orders" and people angry about not being able to use coupons, complicated register transactions, unsupportive/stupid/uneducated management who are focused on the "corporate goals" only ($$), etc. Believe me, if they tipped me in retail, I'd take it. When a guy comes in with triplets and only has an hour to pick up a wedding gift and there are only a few things left on the list and you have to run to three different stock rooms to get each thing (while other customers are kept waiting, because there's never enough staff - must keep an eye on the bottom line after all), climbing on teetering ladders searching frantically for things that aren't where they're supposed to be, getting covered with dust, banging your head on a metal ladder or shelf, getting hit by a slamming door or dragging a 50 lb. set of dishware out for them and then they get angry because they can't use a coupon that would save them a whole $5 and they walk out, it's just as tough as the days when I was waitressing.

                                      2. re: New_2_718
                                        jgg13 Mar 24, 2008 11:59 AM

                                        Counter service doesn't deserve tips.

                                        1. re: jgg13
                                          jfood Mar 24, 2008 02:03 PM

                                          jfood wrote a while ago:

                                          If jfood receives the food standing up he does not normally tip

                                          1. re: jgg13
                                            m
                                            miss_bennet Mar 24, 2008 02:32 PM

                                            "Counter service doesn't deserve tips." jgg13

                                            As I have worked counter service for 8+ years, I find this statement unsettling. I would NEVER expect a tip, and when I receive them (few and far between), I am very grateful. But using the specific word "deserve" is inflammatory. While, more often than not, counter service is quick and simple, sometimes it goes beyond that. I have often gone to great lengths, above and beyond the normal call of duty, to please a customer many times.

                                            I would never say I deserved a tip at counter service, but I have often felt I have earned the few tips I have been given. I don't think that tips should always be given, and I do not like tip jars (in fact, I think they have gotten quite out of hand). In truth, I would prefer that the customer wrote a letter to the company to commend my service skills rather than drop a buck or two onto the counter. That can lead to a raise! But saying that "counter service doesn't deserve tips" is a generalization. And to state my favourite political quote, "all generalizations are false."

                                            1. re: miss_bennet
                                              jgg13 Mar 24, 2008 03:45 PM

                                              Let me go into a bit more detail on my statement. What I'm not including are situations like the diner a few doors down from where I live. There, I sit at a stool at a bar, there's a woman who takes my order, they have the cooks right in the little "fenced off" area, she brings me my food from them, refills my coffee cup, if she has time she'll interact with me, etc. IOW, she's basically a server but I'm sitting at a counter. That's a situation where "counter service" (which it effectively is, on a literal usage of my phrase) should be tipped IMO.

                                              What I *don't* think should be tipped is where I walk up to a cash register, I place an order, pay my money, and a minute or two later my order (whether it be coffee, a big mac, a bottle of vodka, etc) is handed to me, thus completing the transaction. In establishments like *$, McDs, etc, tips aren't factored into the business model ... those aren't "servers" and if I have some special request it is their *job* (built into their wage) to service that request (or not, not all places will "do it your way"). In fact, when explicitly talking about the big boys - places like BK, McDs, *$, etc, you can be sure that any allowable customization is already priced into their product (in that they've done efficiency studies to see how much extra cost on a macro level is involved with the time lost in customizing an order)

                                              1. re: jgg13
                                                m
                                                miss_bennet Mar 24, 2008 04:16 PM

                                                You can go right ahead and think that such counter service (i.e. when you're standing) should not be tipped. Just don't say they don't DESERVE to be tipped. And as for their wage, to me minimum wage = minimum service. Often, these employees are not sufficiently empowered to accomodate some special requests.

                                                And most of the time when I got tipped, it seemed to be when the customer would be in line, and watch me handle a particularly rude, inconsiderate jerk, then see me smile and be polite to them. I think when they saw how bad it could be, yet I managed to be friendly, THEY felt I deserved a tip. (And I'm human; I don't always recover form an angry customer right away.)

                                                1. re: miss_bennet
                                                  jgg13 Mar 24, 2008 05:30 PM

                                                  Well, my sense is that unless one's job is explicitly set up where tips are a real part of their income (and thus their compensation is structured accordingly) that the only time a tip should ever enter the picture is if they go *well* above their job description. Simply providing "good service" in an environment like that doesn't deserve a tip - just the same as how I don't deserve a tip at work if I'm actually doing my job.

                                                  1. re: jgg13
                                                    n
                                                    New_2_718 Mar 24, 2008 05:56 PM

                                                    My trouble is that I think the whole system is broken. The idea that people make what they make because "that's the way it is" doesn't work for me because I don't think it SHOULD be that way, and it doesn't kill me to add a little change to the tip jar so I do it.

                                                    I also tip if I drop off laundry, again, because it's a crappy job and they don't get paid much. Shall I assume that they don't get paid well because they somehow aren't worth it? Yikes! No. I give them a buck. Big whoop.

                                      3. d
                                        Docsknotinn Mar 21, 2008 04:08 AM

                                        If shift supervisors are hourly employees and work right beside the regular staff, taking orders and making coffee it seems appropriate that they should receive tips. What does seem rather odd is that tips were collected, saved, then distrubted weekly. I've never been a fan of houses that pool tips. IMO tips should always be divided at the end of the shift. What I didn't read in the article is if the shift supervisors are the same as managers in the Starbucks chain of command. At McDonalds for example there are shift supervisors that are really just leads and are still hourly employees. If the shift supervisors at Starbucks are salaried staff and not hourly then IMO it would be innapropriate for them to be taking a share. I wonder if it will impact the way the average Joe tips.

                                        21 Replies
                                        1. re: Docsknotinn
                                          j
                                          Jeserf Mar 21, 2008 05:29 AM

                                          When I worked at starbucks, that's how we did it.

                                          Why?

                                          because even though a "rush hour", say a friday night, is busy, it can be full of non-tipping kids...or conversely, a morning commute full of people using prepaid cards that leads to not tipping.

                                          I never saw it as unfair when I worked at Starbucks, but it is interesting that some people would think it's unfair. Maybe they think they work harder than everyone else? No idea.

                                          then again, when I worked at starbucks, people had to actually...you know...make coffee...

                                          1. re: Jeserf
                                            d
                                            Docsknotinn Mar 21, 2008 07:18 AM

                                            "Maybe they think they work harder than everyone else? "

                                            Not sure exactly what you mean but yes I think it's fair to say some shifts work harder than others simply due to peak times. More importantly I think some people just work harder than others and that's why I really don't like the concept of the tip pool. It's not my intent to pay normal weekly wages with a tip. I'm tipping for a job well done. Especially in a coffee house. I actually hope that when I leave a tip the person who made my coffee is getting it or at least it is being divided with those who are working on that shift.

                                            1. re: Docsknotinn
                                              t
                                              thedoorchick Mar 21, 2008 07:57 AM

                                              Exactly; I generally do not tip at Starbucks, or other places with tip jars for that matter, but if I make a special request or get unusually good service, that is when I tip. I like to think my tips are going to the person I intended them for, and the person who actually did go above the call with good service.

                                          2. re: Docsknotinn
                                            t
                                            thedoorchick Mar 21, 2008 06:01 AM

                                            It does seem to me that if the shift supervisors are hourly and are in fact doing plenty of serving customers and making coffee, that they should be entitled to a share.

                                            $1.71 additional per hour for everyone in tips; wow, that's a heck of a "raise" and from my understanding Starbucks pays pretty well by the hour to begin with.

                                            1. re: Docsknotinn
                                              ccbweb Mar 21, 2008 07:40 AM

                                              It looks like the determining point in the suit was that the judge decided that in terms of California law, the shift supervisors did count as managers and, thus, under California law it would then be illegal for Starbucks to include them in the tip pool. Starbucks doesn't consider the shift supervisors to be management (and doesn't appear to pay them at that level either); the managers are fewer and appear to have significantly more responsibility than shift supervisors. Shift supervisors, according to a San Francisco Chronicle article, are paid somewhere between $1.50 to $2.65 per hour more than non-shift supervisor employees but are not salaried and are expected to make and serve coffee as well as to supervise the other employees on the shift. It seems that this is really just a question of the definition of shift supervisor vs. manager as Starbucks has an explicit policy about pooling tips in this manner (ie, there was nothing hidden or covert or sneaky about it). If they want to continue handling tips in the same way, they'll just need to redefine things in a way that fits within California law.

                                              I doubt this will do anything to how anyone tips.

                                              1. re: ccbweb
                                                d
                                                Docsknotinn Mar 21, 2008 08:24 AM

                                                I have to dissagree slightly here. I personally will probably never tip at Starbucks again. The tip pool thing is just wrong. I do think it's fair that leads or shift supervisors share in tips *IF* they are taking orders, making coffee etc but I'm not tipping to supplement the wages Starbucks or any other company pays. I'm tipping the person that served me or not at all.

                                                1. re: Docsknotinn
                                                  ccbweb Mar 21, 2008 09:11 AM

                                                  I completely agree about tipping the person who served me.

                                                  From the description in this article:
                                                  http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article...

                                                  it seems that the shift supervisors do take orders, make coffee and do the rest of the same work as the other employees on the shift in addition to whatever their supervisory roles are.

                                                  "At a Starbucks on Fourth and Mission streets in San Francisco, Glenda Guzman, one of two baristas working the afternoon shift, said she hadn't minded sharing tips with supervisors because sometimes they worked the cash register and brewed the coffee."

                                                  1. re: ccbweb
                                                    d
                                                    Docsknotinn Mar 21, 2008 11:56 AM

                                                    It's an interesting case. I'm wondering if the difference under California labor law is just the job description or if the shift supervisors are hourly exempt employees or perhaps get some form of bonus or other perks. The hierarchy seems rather efficient because Starbucks pawns off a lot of it's supervisory responsabilities for a pretty low wage. If the average is $2 more for a "shift supervisor" and the stores run with a single manager for multiple units that's a huge labor savings for the corporation. I don't think there's any thing under handed about it but I also don't think it's at all what the average consumer expects when leaving a tip.
                                                    What sort of smacks of some thing slightly off color is that corporate has a specific policy in regards to tips and they are taking control of those funds and distributing them as wages. The other thing I expect is that when I leave a cash tip the server reports an appropriate amount to big brother. (wink wink) Not really an option when your tips are being managed. This reduces the financial impact of a tip even further.

                                                    1. re: Docsknotinn
                                                      ccbweb Mar 21, 2008 12:28 PM

                                                      Yeah, I think I pretty much agree across the board with your thinking on this. its not underhanded or sneaky or anything, but its clearly benefiting the company to some extent. I saw a comment on the Chronicle's website in which someone who claimed to be a Starbucks employee wrote that the weekly tip pool was a good way to account for otherwise inexplicable differences in tips during a shift (ie, morning shifts during which regular customers use Starbucks cards with no tip option).

                                                      I'm definitely curious enough to follow this a bit as Starbucks surely appeals the decision.

                                                      1. re: ccbweb
                                                        d
                                                        Docsknotinn Mar 21, 2008 01:21 PM

                                                        No question Starbucks will be dropping some bucks in legal fees to appeal. I don't see them laying down on this one.

                                                  2. re: Docsknotinn
                                                    momof3 Mar 23, 2008 06:31 PM

                                                    shift supervisors are not considered management. They are paid hourly, as stated they do get paid on average $2 more hourly. It is a keyholder type position that does carry some management responsibilities such as cash handling, opening and closing the stores. The shift supervisors do all the work plus more than the baristas. Please dont stop tipping because of this suit. Also, the lawsuit is based on California laws only.

                                                    1. re: momof3
                                                      n
                                                      New_2_718 Mar 24, 2008 09:34 AM

                                                      I hate to say it, but I think people are really spiteful about tipping and are looking for an excuse not to do it. I would prefer that we did not operate on this kind of system, too - for example, a bunch of my friends were just laid off when their restaurant was closed as a result of eviction by a ruthless landlord/greedy real estate deal, and they'll all collect unemployment based on their actual paycheck, which is crap. I would rather that waiters and servers and baristas got paid really well and had pensions and health insurance like in Europe. Meanwhile, I am going to keep tipping 20%.

                                                      1. re: momof3
                                                        d
                                                        Docsknotinn Mar 24, 2008 09:48 AM

                                                        Shift supervisors are being paid extra for managerial duties irrespective of how Starbucks tries to catagorize their chain of command. Placing orders, locking up and managing the cash drawers are duties that most consider managerial responsabilities.
                                                        As far as stopping tips in my case I feel I was guilty of mindless tipping at Starbucks Caribou etc. Lets be honest here. They don't make a very good product and it's fairly pricy. I'm already paying their wages when I buy a drink. I wonder how many would tip at McDonalds if they sat out a tip jar. The comparison to me is pretty fair as I consider Starbucks the McDonalds of coffee. Both establishments make coffeee and you can request special orders. No way would I ever tip 20% at either establishment. To me that is a huge insult to servers who bust their behinds for two bucks an hour plus tips.

                                                        1. re: Docsknotinn
                                                          n
                                                          New_2_718 Mar 24, 2008 10:35 AM

                                                          I don't go to Starbucks or McDonalds anyway, but if I go to a coffee shop I generally tip pretty decently. Say I spend $2-3 on a coffee drink (though hopefully I don't) I might tip fifty cents which is a pretty good percentage. I just think food service is hard work - baristas are on their feet all day too - and dealing with the public sucks. People at Starbucks, for example, tend to be demanding and nasty. I just think its kind of a no-brainer to drop some change in the damn jar.

                                                          1. re: New_2_718
                                                            d
                                                            Docsknotinn Mar 24, 2008 01:57 PM

                                                            "People at Starbucks, for example, tend to be demanding and nasty. I just think its kind of a no-brainer to drop some change in the damn jar"

                                                            Sounds like mindless tipping to me. I'm neither nasty nor demanding so I'll leave putting the change in the "darn" jar for those who are. I guess I never considered push button coffee a real challanging job. Maybe every cook and dish washer should set out a tip jar. IMO they work a lot harder than the coffee house people, in less pleasant conditions and often get paid less.
                                                            ;)

                                                            1. re: Docsknotinn
                                                              n
                                                              New_2_718 Mar 24, 2008 02:53 PM

                                                              It's not mindless at all. It's very mindful. I'm doing my small part to correct what I see as a huge inequity in how people are paid for what they do. I think coffee shop workers should be paid more than they are because they work hard and put up with a lot of crap. So I tip them. This seems simple to me...I don't know why it should be so controversial?
                                                              As for cooks and dishwashers, I got my first fulltime dishwashing job when I was 16 and that's how I paid my rent, and yes, I made minimum wage, which was then less than $3 an hour, and yes I busted my ass and should have been paid more, etc., but I see no logic in not tipping coffee shop workers because dishwashers or cooks or waitresses "deserve" it more. How does that help put a few more dollars in the coffee shop worker's pocket? It doesn't. And I don't see a problem with putting a few more dollars in somebody's pocket, whether they personally made my coffee or not.

                                                              1. re: New_2_718
                                                                jgg13 Mar 24, 2008 03:25 PM

                                                                If they were worth more as labor, they'd be paid more. Clearly the workers there are *not* worth more otherwise they'd be able to demand higher wages. If the current employees all left en masse, they'd be immediately replaced by staff earning the same wage as they are now.

                                                                1. re: jgg13
                                                                  n
                                                                  New_2_718 Mar 24, 2008 05:51 PM

                                                                  So you believe that everyone in this country is paid what they're worth? I must respectfully disagree. And you actually make my point...if they don't like it, they can leave and be replaced. Is that what you mean by "demanding higher wages?" Yeesh.

                                                                  1. re: New_2_718
                                                                    jgg13 Mar 24, 2008 06:40 PM

                                                                    It is (more or less) a free market. Any person, and any position is worth exactly what someone is willing to pay for that job to be performed. No more, no less. And yes, if someone doesn't believe they're being fairly compensated they can always choose to get a different job - if they can't find one that pays higher, obviously they weren't correct in their belief that they're worth more.

                                                                    1. re: jgg13
                                                                      n
                                                                      New_2_718 Mar 24, 2008 06:58 PM

                                                                      wow. I wish I lived in your world.

                                                  3. re: Docsknotinn
                                                    z
                                                    zin1953 Mar 21, 2008 04:13 PM

                                                    Another story here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7...

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