The Big 2011 Compensation Question - Are the Starbucks Baristas Getting Screwed by a Cash-Free Society?
You think I'm joking but I'm not...
Has there ever been a bigger employee relations nightmare related to compensation than what's happened at Starbucks over the last three years?
Tipping's a pack activity at a place like Starbucks. You get some change back, note that the person helping you is pretty nice (airport Starbucks don't qualify), see the full tip jar and... bam... moment of weakness, peer pressure and a need to feel classy, you dump a 25% tip into the jar.
For coffee. Your great grandparents are cursing at you from the clouds. They didn't fight through Ellis Island for you to be dumping cold hard cash at a coffee store, much less tipping at one. You're soft. Doughy even...
But I digress. Tips are gone at Starbucks. The tip jar, if it's out at all, is a lonely place. You hand your card and the barista (I'm calling the person at the register that, I'm assuming they rotate) POLITELY says the following:
"You need a receipt today?"
TRANSLATION: I know you don't want a receipt, and it's a hassle for me.
TRANSLATION #2: I'm forgoing any opportunity for tip compensation by not giving you a receipt (if Starbucks would even have that functionality turned on as a part of the receipt. Never got a receipt, so I don't know).
The bottom line? Someone's paying for the lost compensation opportunity at Starbucks related to tips. Either the baristas are taking it on the chin and don't seem to care, or Starbucks made them whole as suburban America suddenly developed an inability to carry and use cash.
To the credit of Starbucks, I haven't noticed a drop in the experience at most Starbucks. That says a lot about how they hire, or how they were proactive about this compensation issue, depending on what the reality is.
Starbucks associates or parents of Starbucks associates - educate us on the reality.
And no, I don't need a receipt.