If you ever get a gig bartending at a big establishment where you don’t count the tips yourself, but instead, the managers/owners insist upon counting and divvying it all up, walk, don’t run - get the hell out of there. Your environment undoubtedly is, or eventually will be, ripe for your pocket to be picked and your income compromised.
You’re in an undocumented cash environment. No one yet knows exactly how much you’ve made; that is, unless you suspect unscrupulous goings-on, and have schemed to prove the wrong-doings by counting every dollar you put in the tip jar, before it heads to the pilfering station. Personally, as well as through the accounts of fellow barkeeps, I’ve found this situtation to be all too common in large trendy lounges and big nightclubs where you can sometimes have 5, 10 or even more bartenders in action on a given night.
There are far too many establishments that make it way too easy for assholes to stick their hands in the cookie jar. And far be it from what one may think, it’s easy to do – despite procedures, cameras and other watchful eyes. There are a number of those in so-called “management” that after a while, feel they’re entitled to some of your winnings for whatever reason. It could be jealousy (as bartenders often make more than many managers), spite, insatiable crack habits, gas money… who the hell knows? After a time, I suspect they don’t even make excuses anymore; skimming has just become a habit. It can go on for years without notice or anyone doing anything about it. At a large bar with multiple bartenders, there can often be thousands of dollars a night, mostly singles, to be counted and exchanged. No one’s going to miss $50 or $100, right? Wrong!
Bottom line: No one should have their hands in the tip jar but the folks who’ve earned those tips – period. It’s one thing for the tip jar to be counted under the watchful eye of all bartenders and managers to avoid suspicion and stealing from either party – sure. It’s quite another for a manager to insist on counting wads of cash in unison or alone. They can come back and tell you they counted any number at all! You have no way of verifying!
What’s worse, and if you want to keep your job, you’re now in a massive bind ratting anyone out in any way, lest you be ostracized, yelled at, your schedule curtailed or otherwise be penalized – which I assure you will happen. To add insult to injury, the higher-ups or management colleagues, are sometimes in on the scam or simply turn a blind eye for similar reasons. Note to thieves: payback’s a bitch. Shit on your employees and they’ll shit on you one way or another. There’s vigilante-ism, retaliatory theft, apathy, and all kinds of other nonsense. You’re far better off just getting the hell out of that hell hole.