Starbucks Sued For Wrongful Death

MJS

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http://consumerist.com/2011/03/starbucks-in-wrongful-death-lawsuit-after-tip-jar-dispute.html

The estate of a Starbucks customer who lost his life after attempting to chase down a tip jar thief has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the java giant, alleging that the company invited crime by having an unsecured tip jar on the counter.
In March 2008, a 54-year-old customer at a Missouri Starbucks noticed a teenager swipe the coffee shop's tip jar containing around five dollars. The man chased the pilferer into the parking lot, where a struggle ensued and the man was knocked to the ground when the thief backed his vehicle into him. He died two days later as a result of head injuries.

Ya have to wonder...well, not really, considering the sue happy word we live in, how does stuff like this happen? Personally, I hope the estate loses! This is why, when people ask about getting involved, I prefer to not get physically involved, but IF, that being the key word, I choose to, I 'involve' myself simply by calling the police and giving a detailed description of whats going on.

Did anyone tell this guy to chase after the suspect? I doubt it. After all, for a petty $5, let the guy go, call the cops, give a desc. of the suspect, DOT, a car if he gets into one, etc.

Doesnt matter if the jar is secure or not. This punk could've easily walked into the place and held it at gun point, taking money from the register. Would this 54yo guy still give chase? Probably. Then what? Still a suit? Probably.

People talk about macho behavior. Defending yourself from an assault, robbery, etc. isn't macho behavior. Its SD. Chasing after some punk, who took money that doesnt even belong to you, who gives a rats ***? Was his heart in the right place? Sure, I'll give him that, but thats it!
 

Steve

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This is a company's worst nightmare and why so many have such a hard line against this kind of action. While the guy clearly thought he was doing the "right thing," he knowingly put himself at risk for... $5 worth of tips?

This is very sad, but I don't see how Starbucks or anyone else is at fault for this guy's poor judgement. :(
 

punisher73

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In high school, I worked for a very large retail store chain. It was their policy that you did NOT chase people out into the parking lot. You could stop them in the store, or follow them discretly and get their plate number, but they did not want you confronting any over merchandise that could easily be replaced.

I agree, follow the kid out and get a description and a plate number. No one was hurt in the theft, but you are putting yourself at huge risk by following the subject out into the parking lot and confronting him.

I don't see this lawsuit going anywhere. How long and how many places have done this practice? Starbucks isn't responsible for what happened. Starbucks didn't create some type of unsafe work environment. The tip jar is no different than any other type of retail stores who have merchandise unsecured in their place of business.
 

granfire

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I don't suppose it boils down to Starbucks being perceived unsympathetic upon the death and that a handful of coupons and free coffees could have averted that?
(Rumor is that the uncaring attitude got McDonalds into hot water, no pun intended)

But I have to agree, Starbucks isn't responsible for this man risking his life over a tip jar.
 

LuckyKBoxer

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stupid baseless lawsuit.
how starbucks could be responsible for what a customer decides to do is ridiculous.

although those tip jars all over the place disgust me. Huge turn off.
all these people expect to be tipped for doing their damn job.
Tips have become expected by many industries in our area that simply dont deserve them 99% of the time.
practically any mexican food drive through you go to now days has a styrofoam cup drawn on by pens and scotch taped to the window begging for tips.
tip jars are everywhere..
seriously what is the etiquette now for tipping... especially in a coffee shop like starbucks?
they are not servers like waiters... you place an order, they make your coffee and hand it to you.. what do they do above and beyond that deserves a tip in that process?
as far as I know they are paid at minimum wage or higher level. so unlike waiters who in some areas, at least used to have lower hourly wages because tips were counted into their salary... I might understand tipping them if I was taking my coffee there in the store at one of the tables and an employee came up to me and offered to refresh or refill my coffee... but other then that?
am i missing something?
 

shesulsa

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Sheesh.

I just can't imagine doing something like this.
 

punisher73

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stupid baseless lawsuit.
how starbucks could be responsible for what a customer decides to do is ridiculous.

although those tip jars all over the place disgust me. Huge turn off.
all these people expect to be tipped for doing their damn job.
Tips have become expected by many industries in our area that simply dont deserve them 99% of the time.
practically any mexican food drive through you go to now days has a styrofoam cup drawn on by pens and scotch taped to the window begging for tips.
tip jars are everywhere..
seriously what is the etiquette now for tipping... especially in a coffee shop like starbucks?
they are not servers like waiters... you place an order, they make your coffee and hand it to you.. what do they do above and beyond that deserves a tip in that process?
as far as I know they are paid at minimum wage or higher level. so unlike waiters who in some areas, at least used to have lower hourly wages because tips were counted into their salary... I might understand tipping them if I was taking my coffee there in the store at one of the tables and an employee came up to me and offered to refresh or refill my coffee... but other then that?
am i missing something?

I agree with that one and have thought the same thing. Unless you are providing me a service in which you are not already compensated, I don't tip. If I go to a restaurant, I tip because I know that is how they are supposed to earn their money.

Also, who actually gets the tips? You have 3-4 people working sometimes and you are just randomly putting in money. When I have gone to Starbucks, they have the tip jar where you order and then you go somewhere else to pick up your order. I have to tip before I even know I have good service/coffee yet?

Just put a sign on the jar that says "Spare money that you don't need because I want more". :angel:
 

elder999

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I think they may be suing Starbuck's for allowing the tip jar because it's against Starbuck's policy." They have a monopoly on frou-frou coffee in Los Alamos, and there's no tip-jar. I believe in tipping, and have had more than a few conversations about this. I've also noticed the lack of tip jars when in airports, or getting my coffee at other Starbuck's, though I try to avoid getting Starbuck's coffee beause it usually kinda suckss......
 
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granfire

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LOL, I don't usually tip on pick up stuff, it flusters people.
Hubby tipped the guy at McDonald's once, he was so flusterd, he messed the rest of the order up! I did tip my Caesar's pizza guys once, it wasn't much, but they came in early to bake a stack of Pizzas for me so I could throw my son's class a pizza party and they eat lunch so ungodly early these days.

I prefer the jar for a good cause, though my contributions are earmarked and I seldom carry cash anymore...
 

shesulsa

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The whole point, though, of the service industry is the importance of customer service. People who give excellent customer service according to each individual and knows how to personalize it are rewarded for their superior performance; those who just pour the coffee and shove it under your snout don't.

If the regular wages in that industry were livable, fine, then eliminate the tipping mechanism. It would require restaurant managers to be more responsible in their hiring practices ... but would break most restaurants for their wages.

But then we get into a completely different discussion.

Back to the topic -

I have to wonder if the "estate" is being represented by family, heirs or the state and if it was that entity's idea to sue or some brat lawyer's?

Opinions?
 

LuckyKBoxer

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I think they may be suing Starbuck's for allowing the tip jar because it's against Starbuck's policy." They have a monopoly on frou frou cofffe in Los Alamos, and there's no tip-jar. I believe in tipping, and hve had more than a few conversagtions about this. I've also noticed the lack of tip jars when in airports, or getting my coffee at other Starbuck's, though I try to avoid getting Starbuck's coffee beause it usually kinda suckss......

is it against starbucks policy?
Now that I think of it wasn't there another lawsuit a year or two ago where Starbucks managers were taking a part of the tips, and the lawsuit against the company or the managers forced them to pay back a certain amount of money to the employees?
 

granfire

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The whole point, though, of the service industry is the importance of customer service. People who give excellent customer service according to each individual and knows how to personalize it are rewarded for their superior performance; those who just pour the coffee and shove it under your snout don't.

If the regular wages in that industry were livable, fine, then eliminate the tipping mechanism. It would require restaurant managers to be more responsible in their hiring practices ... but would break most restaurants for their wages.

But then we get into a completely different discussion.

Back to the topic -

I have to wonder if the "estate" is being represented by family, heirs or the state and if it was that entity's idea to sue or some brat lawyer's?

Opinions?

I don't see the state getting into this (but they have been known to spend money on dumber stuff) so that leaves greedy heirs and greedy lawyers...
 
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MJS

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stupid baseless lawsuit.
how starbucks could be responsible for what a customer decides to do is ridiculous.

although those tip jars all over the place disgust me. Huge turn off.
all these people expect to be tipped for doing their damn job.
Tips have become expected by many industries in our area that simply dont deserve them 99% of the time.
practically any mexican food drive through you go to now days has a styrofoam cup drawn on by pens and scotch taped to the window begging for tips.
tip jars are everywhere..
seriously what is the etiquette now for tipping... especially in a coffee shop like starbucks?
they are not servers like waiters... you place an order, they make your coffee and hand it to you.. what do they do above and beyond that deserves a tip in that process?
as far as I know they are paid at minimum wage or higher level. so unlike waiters who in some areas, at least used to have lower hourly wages because tips were counted into their salary... I might understand tipping them if I was taking my coffee there in the store at one of the tables and an employee came up to me and offered to refresh or refill my coffee... but other then that?
am i missing something?

I'll pop in to Starbucks from time to time. I dont tip. Usually anything I buy doesnt amount to much, so......

And judging by the small amount that was in the tip jar, $5, not many others tip either.

edit: and yes, I agree...the suit is stupid and I hope the family of the guy loses! This guy was playing hero and got himself killed.
 
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MJS

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I think they may be suing Starbuck's for allowing the tip jar because it's against Starbuck's policy." They have a monopoly on frou-frou coffee in Los Alamos, and there's no tip-jar. I believe in tipping, and have had more than a few conversations about this. I've also noticed the lack of tip jars when in airports, or getting my coffee at other Starbuck's, though I try to avoid getting Starbuck's coffee beause it usually kinda suckss......

Well, if its against policy, there're some places that're in violation. I go to 2 different SB here in CT, one being inside of a B&N bookstore. They both have containers for tips.
 

shesulsa

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I don't think tips are against Starbuck's policy unless it recently changed:

In this article, Starbucks was ordered to refund tips with interest to their baristas for tips shared with with the shift supervisors.
 
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MJS

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The whole point, though, of the service industry is the importance of customer service. People who give excellent customer service according to each individual and knows how to personalize it are rewarded for their superior performance; those who just pour the coffee and shove it under your snout don't.

If the regular wages in that industry were livable, fine, then eliminate the tipping mechanism. It would require restaurant managers to be more responsible in their hiring practices ... but would break most restaurants for their wages.

But then we get into a completely different discussion.

I'd probably wager a guess that they're pain min. wage at best. High end coffee aside, I doubt they're making $20/hr. That being said, the tips are probably split amongst the crew that's working, at the end of the shift. OTOH, the 'tips' that I've seen, usually amount to more change than actual bills. At the end of the night, that small amount split between 2-3 people, probably isn't much at all.

Back to the topic -

I have to wonder if the "estate" is being represented by family, heirs or the state and if it was that entity's idea to sue or some brat lawyer's?

Opinions?

I'll wager another guess and say that its probably the family of the man. Given that we sue for the most outrageous things nowadays, that idea, put into the brain of a lawyer, equals $$$$$$$$$$$$$. Again, I hope they lose! Sadly, SB will probably bow down, and fork over millions.
 
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