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December 15, 2011


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All your tips are belong to us.

"what do you do when a customer wants to "reward" a specific barista?"

You do it discretely :D

Anyways, sometimes when i bus, or doing whatever, I'll find random change or gift cards >.> If it's $1.00 or more ill definately pocket it. If it's a gift card i go back and check the balance, if it has $3.00 or more ill pocket it as well

Rule of thumb.


I am not sure pocketing random gift cards and cash is considered a "reward". More like, stealing money. I don't think all that stuff is left for you to discretely pick up. :O

Be careful, if you get caught finding a card with $3 or MORE and pocket it you could be fired for theft.

Jeff Tom

I predominantly get drip, for which I do not tip. When I get a latte or hot chocolate, I am tipping about every third drink.

For AYTABTU... if the card is registered, what do you do?


We got tipped $50 from one customer yesterday, and get cards from customers addressing partners as a whole as they realize it's a team effort. We never pocket anything, I found $5.00 on the floor today and it went right into the tip jar, as any money found does.


Our tips aren't that great still, but as far as non-cash tips one customer did give me a pack of spree which is my favorite candy. That was pretty awesome. The only time I ever kept a tip that A customer said was specifically for me was my last day at my old store when I regular have it to me as a goodbye present.


Maybe it's just me, but tips seem to have been consistent or gone down at my store. Perhaps everyone has over-leveraged themselves on holiday shopping and have decided not to shell out quite as much for tipping, which is of course optional. We are, however, located across from a very prominent shopping center and have managers from stores like Bath & Body Works come by with gift baskets filled with goodies like lotions and what have you, which is always nice.

Regarding "pocketing" tips for yourself, that's a big no-no (pretty sure that's stated in the partner handbook). Every time someone has given me money on the side or says "This is for YOU"... as much as I wanted to pocket it, I *ALWAYS* put it in the tip jar.


Good God, here we go again. . . . . .


If you are pocketing anything, shame on you and you should be fired. It's stealing.

livin' la VIA loca

Webmaster Jim...

maybe a thread on this story?



Not sure if this is an open thread discussion or not, but I'll ask, and webmaster can delete post if so. How many of you that sold options in 2010 are being audited by the IRS because fidelity reported not witholding income tax? I remember them holding 40% but I get a letter from the IRS stating that there were no income taxes withheld on these transactions. A few people in my city have gotten them. similar experiences elsewhere? Digging for document right now, no fun.


Yes...absolutely going through the same exact situation right now. :-/


Let's be real...after nearly 8 years I know that I give service that is OFTEN far above and beyond the others that I am working with. Sad, but true. The regulars have come to count on me for many things including exemplary service. During the holidays many of them will give me personal cards that include money. That is meant for me and the services that I provide for them. They tip the jar when they come in, but if they wish to recognize my services then that is totally mine to keep.


Bigger news today might be that Starbucks did NOT make The Human Rights Campaign top businesses for LGBT which I find very interesting.


lattelady, you don't work by yourself. You're not alone on the floor. That money is not yours to keep. You're only lying to yourself so you can feel justified about your theft. Pathetic.

FormerNY Barista

If someone handed me a tip directly while I was on the bar, I would pocket it. In most cases, it was from a regular customer who handed it to me to show appreciation of my work, not that of my coworkers. It was often specified to me that it was for me, not the tip jar. The point is moot now since I no longer work at Starbucks.

As a customer now, I understand how much a tip is appreciated. And if I witness one barista going the extra mile to give good service, I will put the dollar in their hand and praise them for their service.

For the holidays, though, I took all of my extra change, totaling somewhere in the range of $10, and gave it to the morning shift at my regular store to add to the tip box for all of the store's partners. I think I will go the extra change route in the future. It adds up and I'm never going to use it.

@ livin' LA vida loca: I read that article this morning. I've worked at two stores in Michigan and in New York City. That article is the most accurate depiction of working at a New York City store. I'm sure it applies to all stores in some ways but NYC is a challenging market.


Hmmmm. While I was giving special attention to a customer, someone else was doing what I would have been doing if I wasn't giving the "special attention." So, NO, I didn't earn a "for me" tip.


Any time I'm ever given any money, it goes into the tip jar. Unless a gift is addressed specifically to me only, anything I receive, monetary or food, etc, goes to everyone in the store. We all work hard, and it's everyone's store, so it's only fair that everyone gets a little something.

Venti Urnex Latte

I know this is not the open thread, but my store is one of the busiest in NY and therefore in the nation.

New partners are routinely thrown on the bar with inadequate training during hours when the line is dozens of people long. They have no idea what to do. Even a bunch of experienced partners during those hours can barely keep up. There is no time to help the stymied newbies. It's chaotic and it's pathetic.

If Starbucks were smart, they would put new people in slower stores during slower hours and give them proper training. This would also weed out those who can't keep up to speed, and place them in a more suitable atmosphere -- a less frenetic store.


"Regarding "pocketing" tips for yourself, that's a big no-no (pretty sure that's stated in the partner handbook)."

It's not.


Waltie, how about actually contributing to the thread instead of just nit picking.
On topic-
Our tips have been lousy. They've gone down a bit since the summer, which is expected from what old timers at my store say.


Just a note to Frapette, yes I might as well be by myself! We hardly have enough people who care about customer service and since they are not prone to giving it I am certainly well within my rights to accept a gift card, labeled to me, that might have a monetary gift inside. generally speaking the younger, 18-22 year olds that we hire have such lax work ethics that they do not deserve any of the extra tips that I might receive.


Tips have progressing downwards and the holidays haven't helped much at all.

Sam Brown

I often tip with the small airplane bottles of vodka.


@Sam Brown

That is the most appreciative tip I could receive.


"Waltie, how about actually contributing to the thread instead of just nit picking."

Somebody posted an inaccurate statement about policy, I corrected them. How is that nit picking? Isn't the point of this thread to discuss how tips are dispersed?

Here's the deal: If somebody hands you a tip and says to keep it, the nice thing to do would be to put it in the jar for everybody to share, but you don't have to, it's not required by policy, and it isn't stealing if you keep it. I wouldn't let your partners find out about it, however, because it's definitely rude and more than a little unkind.

However... we've all worked in stores and on shifts where we've done all the work because the other partners are lazy, rude, and downright unhelpful. I wouldn't blame you for pocketing a twenty if somebody handed it to you and specifically told you to keep it.


If the tip is in an envelope addressed to me, I'm totally taking it. It's got my name on it and the customer is giving it to me because they think I deserve it. It's my money now- if one of my coworkers sees it and feels badly, well then, perhaps he or she should work on creating the kind of relationships with customers that would lead to a nice chunk of change in the holiday season.

I guess that reads harshly, but whatever.

If a customer hands me loose cash, that goes right in the jar.

Coffee Chump

As a customer, I tip into the tip jar on the counter; however, there are a few extra special baristas whom I give a direct tip around this time of year, and randomly throughout the year when I feel like doing so. These tips should be kept by the person; putting them right back into the tip jar, while technically OK, I would feel a little bit "decaffed". If you get it directly, KEEP IT!


If you want to show gratitude to a specific barista, I would recommend a gift card or some non-monetary gift. Giving cash to a specific barista as a gift is a grey area that could get them fired.

I don't advocate pocketing tips. I did have customers tell me to keep the tip for myself (mostly elderly women), but the bills went right into the tip jar.


As a partner, I tip at my store under two conditions: my weekly tips include fives or ones (I hate those bills), or if I get change back and it includes more than quarters. :)


When they hand me an envelope, with my name on it, and I take it home...it is mine to keep. Just as if they had mailed it to my home. Just like otterinthewater stated others should pick up their game if they want the kind of relationship with customers that I have!!

All your tips are belong to us

Honestly, I don't care if it's policy, and besides there's no cameras in the cafe, just @the safe, backroom, and front door.

I once found a $50.00 starbucks card when i went on my bus on the floor, i thought it would be empty (most are), but this one had $50 :D... and of course i pocketed it, lasted me for quite awhile. In terms of a registered card, I'd probably go to another starbucks and buy a bunch of merchandise... if it had a lot of money on it.

I'm from Canada, so we some coins that have a value of $1-2.00 if I see any of those loonies or toonies on the floor, of course i'm putting it into my pocket! I don't really care if it's technically stealing, and sharing is not caring.


To be honest I am kind of surprised at the admission of using gift cards that people have lost or forgotten. Maybe I work with a group of extremely honest folks but I dont know one partner in my store that would do that. That isn't my point so ANYWAY.

Tips in my store are slowly climbing now that the holiday is getting closer. Our store will be open on Christmas so that will be interesting. Since Christmas day we will be splitting tips from THAT day with partners who worked it. Hope everyone has a good holiday none the less :)

Oh and just wondering as far as tips go what are your stores averages? I always wonder if we are above or below the normal


It is definitely against policy to accept "gifts" from customers, monetary or otherwise. There was an action item sent out fairly recently (last month or so). However, I've never seen any manager prevent this from happening, and our regulars often gift their favorite baristas subway giftcards or bake a batch of christmas cookies for the team to share. I think the customers would be offended if we refused their gifts.


Customer here...

I'm a M-F morning Pike drinker. I always give $3, with the $1.28 change as a tip. During this week, I'm paying $5 each day for my tall Pike, balance to tips.
Also, still buying a bracelet every Monday.
If the day comes that I can't afford to do this I'll stop. Until then, 'share the wealth' is my motto.


@sbuxlifer: Our store manager does enforce that as far as food and personal gifting goes. We do have a regular who personally knitted each of us a scarf or a beanie in our favorite color which is kind of hard to say "sorry cant take it" to her she spent a lot of time on them and made one for every partner in the store. This was the only time she has let us keep anything that was given to us.

@GregN: Thats really nice of you! we have a couple of customers who are doing the same with the bracelets.


I wish to share that as a Barista I regularly go above and beyond the standard of service and many of my customers recognize this. A couple years back I was given a card with my name on it by a regular customer; I should never have opened it while I was still at work because when another Barista noticed there was a $50 bill inside she complained (out of jealousy i'm sure) to our store manager who proceeded to write me up for not putting the tip in our tip jar and sharing it with everyone. Be careful if your given a personal gift. Simply put it away and open it at home.


Waltie... I hate to say it because I nearly always agree with you but you are wrong. P. 29 of the parter handbook under the "gifts" section clearly states that cash gifts are unacceptable except as given to hourly retail employees and then the customer should be informed by the partner that the money MUST be pooled in the weekly tip pool.

It's very clear. Read the handbook or call PRSC but if you're pocketing personal tips you are stealing from your fellow partners. As someone already said, that personal tip you got for spending extra time with that customer came at the expense of the other partners on the floor doing the thankless jobs of dishes, dusting, brewing coffee, warming food, marking cups, stocking fridges, etc so you could have that time. EVERYTHING that we do is a TEAM effort.


ACTUALLY over-indulging some customers to make up for a couple of certain rude and lazy partners is a ME effort so I will keep that $50, thanks.

Get a LIfe

to "Anon" You must work at a slow store to have time to memorize the Partner Handbook......and, tips are separate from the store business.......i've called business contact center on several occasions with tips questions and they will not answer them and informed me that tips and how they are handled and distributed are at the Store Managers discretion.....So, that $10 I got in a card from a regular (and each partner got one), I will pocket.


Actually my store is very busy, you know what happens when you assume, right? I happen to know this because I had to call the contact center about it recently and they did very much have an answer for me about it. Tips are the opposite of store manager discretion. Store managers are removed from the process of distributing tips or deciding how/when other than "weekly".

My point was and is that it's black and white and part of policy and procedure which means violation of the policy can come with corrective action or termination depending on the rest of the circumstances....


Dare I ask the perennial and unanswerable question: What's a good tip for me?

I'm at the same Starbucks 3-6 times a week. I usually buy drip and don't tip....because I use my card.

But when I buy something special (French Press or mist) I pay cash and tip.

So what should I do on Christmas Day? If I throw $20 or even $50 into the jar -- who gets the money? The people working that day, or everyone?


Verni Urnex Latte:

I feel your pain.

Not sure where in New York you work. But I used to live on the UWS. Among the various Starbucks I frequented was what I called: "The Regis Philbin Starbucks" across the street from his studio and right near his apartment.

The place was unreal! Always hugely busy. Lines out the door. With cranky, entitled customers and partners always struggling to keep up.


@TorontoDude On Christmas the people working will split tips. The other 364 days will get split up on a weekly basis. It sucks cause I work M-F so I had my hours for the week and not able to work. I know that some of our regulars came in and tipped good. That left the rest of us hanging. That is the breaks.The Baristas that day made around $150ea.

Our store is busy. We do $5500 a day and run $2.25 rate for tips. Our numbers are up 13% from last year.


I work at a store where more than half the partners have been baristas for 5+ years. Regular tips are $4ish per hour, peaking during the holiday week at $5.70.

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