Wednesday, November 10

Talk it out.

Today was awkward. Having yesterday's conversation looming in all things, working with the S (the new girl) and J (the boss) was delicate. Trying to keep in mind that it is work, and not my coffee shop, I put on my big girl pants and I get my stuff done. Drinks are made. Chats are had. I start S working on dosing shots.

I love training new people. I get really excited to take apart the process of making coffee and help someone see how much variation is involved, and at every point, how there are very intricate things that can make the beans' full flavor come out. It's the little things that will make a mediocre place become a great place, and when the shop uses old beans to begin with, every shot can use all the help we (as baristas) can give it.

Tips were mentioned again, as I asked S to tell me what she thought the process of collecting/documenting them was. There was confusion still, and when J came back in, I asked him to (again) try and explain the process to S. This time I stood there and listened. This time I waited until he was finished talking and asked S come questions so J would understand how his message was coming across. This time, he actually used the words "tip wage." S made some excellent observations - such as, if the tips were being documented, how to the tips get split when there is a credit card? How does the computer know to give that to two people.

There are still questions he can't answer. One night isn't going to make his plan change. Today J said that he needs to think about changing his system. S asked what that system would look like. J explained it as a typical restaurant set up where tips are claimed, tips are taken home at the end of a shift, and it would all be reported as such on pay stubs.

I hope it is clear that this isn't about the money. If I wanted to be rich, I wouldn't be working in coffee. I hope at the end of all this (the next 9 days) the people working for J will see that they are being exploited and misled into thinking that they making more than they are. Hiring someone at tip wage is different that hiring someone at minimum wage. Yes, that person will still make minimum wage (either from tips, or from their employer's pocket). But, what would patrons think if they knew their contributions to at tip cup weren't exactly what they thought it was? What if Jim, Melissa, Joe, Frank, and the other wonderful regulars knew that they were not giving their barista a little extra, but instead were doing nothing but throw away money?

Again, this shop is a small coffee shop. For a two week period, the average total for all of the workers collected tips are between $450-475. That isn't a lot when it's divided by the hours worked. But from an employer's point of view, that is a lot of "free money" that (in this case) J doesn't have to come up with. He doesn't have to calculate that expense into his cost of goods. The customers are paying that portion of the labor wages. Again, the customer's are paying that portion of the labor. How would they feel knowing that?

If everyone stopped tipping, J said yesterday that $450-475 is enough "to reconsider having a manager on staff." I don't know if he was saying I would lose my job if I pushed for ending the tip cup. I told him he was going to have to figure out what was going to work for the shop, and whether or not he had a manager was none of my concern.

If $450 is enough for J to be freaking out, his business plan needs to be reevaluated.


Sorry about that. I can't help but get expressive about this situation.

I'm happy to say that S is smart and all of the girls who have heard of my leaving and have read yesterday's post (hey girls!) have been wonderful. Everyone is supportive and most have said they knew something wasn't quite right with the situation. A person I trust (who also use to work there) said I was going out with a bang, and it's about time someone called J on his shenanigans.

I really will miss all of you.

Now, I'm going for a walk, clear my head, will return with groceries, and enjoy the evening with a beer and movie 5 of Harry Potter. A side story - D brought home a flier from (gasp) another coffee shop in town and they are having a Harry Potter dinner. Do I dare ask to go? :)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...