I worked at a local coffee shop when I was a teenager. I had been there two days and my mom visited each day and would tip at least five dollars. She is a nice person and assumed that the tip would be going to me or it would at least be split between us.

When I started working there, of course, I was simply being trained the first couple of days but they did, in fact, have me greet customers and make drinks. I was told I would not get any tips the first day but I was told the next day I would be receiving one-third.

Don’t believe what you hear, one-third of the tip jar was mine and I had a lot of people I knew, stop by to get drinks. The increase in money apparently was too tempting for the other girls so they decided to tell me I wouldn’t be getting any tips until the first week of training was over. I told my boss when he came in and he sided with the girls. My coworkers had been there for years and mastered the art of manipulating by then.

It was very obvious he did not make that rule and he had never enforced it in the past. My mom found out I didn’t get any of the money and was obviously angry.

Though this made us really think, how often do you think you’re tipping someone and they never get it? The simplest solution is to hand the money straight to the target person. Despite its obviousness, it is the best method.

I did not bring up the issue again and I figured I would get paid eventually. Despite my complete lack of stirring up any drama, the girls who I worked with decided to convince my boss to fire me anyway. No, this was not a professional or healthy environment, but I was young, it was summer and I needed money.

Everyone eventually found out how I was treated and the coffee shop lost a lot of business. To all of my customers, it was more than infuriating that their tip money meant for me did not reach the target at all, even though I was the one who served them.

A cautionary tale, for businesses as well as workers, everyone should be careful. When you think you are scamming someone out of money, or you put the concept of acquiring money over the ethical laws then you may end up alienating a lot of your customers. I was lucky that I knew everyone in town, but what if it had been someone unknown? There would not have been any consequences for their actions.

I never expected to get treated that way working for a family owned business, but honestly, it can happen anywhere. It doesn’t matter how regulated or unregulated a business is, make sure you are being treated fairly.

Written by Jason

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