Barrista Babies…

I don’t know about you, but whenever I go into my local Starbuck’s I have a heck of a time just getting my darn coffee and getting out of there. The funny thing is that it doesn’t seem to matter how many customers are there or not there, nor how many barristas are standing behind the counter. They just don’t move like the greased lightning that I’d like them to.

Happily, I’m not addicted to their coffee and don’t need to hit the local unit on a daily basis, or I’d have a serious breakdown and probably end up in jail.

Aside from their slower than molasses in January approach to service, the other thing that kind of gets me is the ubiqutious tip jar. I’ve noticed over the years that many fast food, or fast service places have taken to putting up tip jars on the service counter. And somehow we’ve all become convinced that we should tip the guy for doing his job. I mean, how much service is there involved in ringing up a latte and yelling it to the other pimply-faced kid to make it?

It could very well be that I’m a little sensitive about this because I waited tables for many years and I have the bunions to prove it. Serving coffee to a bunch of people who will patiently wait in line until the milk foam is just right is nothing compared to feeding 50-60 people lunch in a one to two hour period, who are all hungry and in a hurry. Sometimes it’s not too pretty. And truly, for that kind of stuff you do deserve a tip if you give good service.

Many people may not know that the word tip, insofar as the food industry is concerned is an ancronyn that stands for ‘to insure promptness.’ And was a tradition that started in jolly ol’ England during the major seafaring days. When the sailors who’d been out to sea for God knows how long and finally returned to shore they would hit the local pubs. It was a mad house by all accounts and in order to get the serving wench’s attention they would put money on the table. The wenches being the clever gals that they were would naturally go to the tables that had the most pennies waiting there for them. And the money did indeed promptness.

These days the only thing you’re ensuring is that you feel fricking guilty if you don’t tip anybody who seems to expect it.

Anyway, the point of this story is the ridiculous court case that recently came to the conclusion that Starbuck’s had to pay employees millions of dollars in tips that were shared by shift supervisors in their many California stores. This is one of those, now I’ve heard everything stories. Clearly, whomever sat in the jury or the judge or both, never worked in the food industry because if they did, they would realize that a shift supervisor is not a manager – which was their claim – but really just an employee who the management feels is trustworthy enough to give a set of keys to. Actually, generally speaking they are likely the most responsible of the crew and the person who steps in and helps you when everybody else is ignoring you – and basically does all the duties of any regular worker in addition to being responsible that the place doesnt’ burn to the ground.

All this aside, since when does the government get to tell a private company what policy to have in their business – unless it has to do with safety or health the government has no dang business telling Starbuck’s or anyone else who can and who cannot have tips, guiltily extracted from customers too spineless to object.

Personally, I’d like to meet the barristas who filed this lawsuit, I’d be willing to bet they are a hoard of shiftless and relatively useless individuals who really need to get a life. Rather than find a career or job that pays better, they’d rather stick a knife in the back of a fellow worker for a few coins. Yeah, I have to say, this really makes me want to tip them more, how about you?