Starbucks Now Accepts "Laissez Faire":

Since the publication of David Boaz's op-ed, several readers have tried ordering their own personalized Starbucks cards emblazoned with "laissez faire." Whatever Starbucks' policy was before, they now allow such cards, as at least one VC reader received his "Laissez Faire" Starbucks card in the mail today. I'll post the picture once I figure out how to do it.

UPDATE: If I'm doing this correctly, here's the picture of a "Laissez Faire" Starbucks card.

David Boaz also has more here. As he notes: "In this case the market worked, 'Laissez Faire' cards are fully acceptable, and my Starbucks-addicted colleagues can breathe easy again."

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Starbucks Now Accepts "Laissez Faire":
  2. No "Laissez Faire" at Starbucks:
cirby (mail):
Well, I guess the market decided...
4.10.2008 3:00pm
devil's advocate (mail):
wow, just my luck , a virgin starbucks thread.
glad he got his card. hope to see it in the update.

For starbuck lovers (e.g. me) and haters (e.g. everybody else I guess) a vitriol filled (i.e ADULT LANGUAGE)bit of social commentary focusing on that pinnacle of corporate coffee,

And maybe this change over the laissez faire cards isn't due to the boaz editoral but to the sudden realization of Starbucks corporate types that laissez faire got up and left.

A 100 MILLION DOLLAR VERDICT against starbucks in California and no legal blogs seem to be paying much heed, at least according to my google efforts earlier this week. And copy cat suits coming in Minn and Mass. and a state near you no doubt.

In a nutshell, 'super special' servers called "shift supervisors" who are paid hourly and serve customers were spliting tips with the other starbucks kids who were paid hourly and serve customers (all over the minimum wage although don't know if they were eligible to be paid under the minimum wage) and the california case found that under california law this was the equivalent of management putting a siphon in the tip jar. What thinks anybody who knows california labor law. also, fyi, inside gossip on the starbucks chat circuit.
4.10.2008 3:18pm
Thales (mail) (www):
Phew. I thought the terrorists had won.
4.10.2008 4:25pm
this is what you call a Libertarian's tempest in a teacup.
4.10.2008 4:26pm
Sasha Volokh (mail) (www):
Obviously, nothing wrong from a libertarian point of view with Starbucks choosing what not to print on cards. More like a libertarian's peeve.
4.10.2008 4:29pm
A $100 million judgement?? Over some shared tips?

The law judge is a ass.

~C. Dickens
4.10.2008 4:39pm
A $100 million judgement?? Over some shared tips stealing someone's income?
4.10.2008 5:04pm
plutosdad (mail):
darn I wanted to try ordering 2 cards "Fair Trade Rocks!" and "Free Trade Rocks!" and see what happens.

As it is my current card just says "I'm about to enjoy an extremely hot beverage!"
4.10.2008 5:06pm
TomH (mail):
So, do you think "Steal my Tips" would make the grade?
4.10.2008 5:29pm
Mark H.:
Very good TomH, very good :-)
4.10.2008 7:41pm
I believe it was Patrick Henry who said, "Give me a starbucks laissez fair card or give me death."
4.10.2008 11:12pm
A Guest:
Stupid-*ss law in California (oh, wait, that's redundant.)

Any good libertarian would say that Starbucks should be free to have the rules say that anyone up to and including Howard Schultz gets a cut of the tips and potential employees are free to decide to work there under those conditions or work at the other stores that would obviously pop up to employee baristas who don't want to share tips if the market really "thinks" that's a superior solution.
4.11.2008 12:46am
bornyesterday (mail) (www):
Sticking my head back in here as the local Starbucks barista.

A shift supervisor really isn't anything but a barista with keys. They are paid hourly, and generally only make about a dollars worth more per hour than a regular barista who has been employed for just as long as the shift. Above them are the salaried manager and assistant manager. Hourly employees divide the tips amongst themselves each week based on the percentage of the hours that they worked that week. Starbucks is actually concerned enough about managers stealing tips that they are not allowed to handle the tip money at all. The idea is that generally speaking the managers' job is not to be on the floor making drinks and serving coffee; that is the job of the baristas and shift supervisors. As such, those two categories of employees are the ones earning the tips and therefore are the one who receive the tips.
4.11.2008 3:43am
devil's advocate (mail):

as the coffeeslinger law-yer have you followed any discussion on what california law actually says and the verbiage the judge actually used in applying california law.

my suspicion is that the case have focused on the title "shift supervisor" and possibly on subtle dut or hierarchy rules that say that the shift supervisor has some authority within the kabal of hourly workers.

but this is complete supposition.

given the policy regarding management not even touching the tips it seems pretty cynical that the case came out this way. indeed, given the whole business model which I understand doesn't do away with management at the store level, but attempts to give more of a sense of participative ownership down to grunt-ista level.

Of course it must be impossible to run the place with the true feel of every barrista as an invested owner and plenty of the same petty workplace reality intrudes in the real world, so then you get some disgruntl-ista and the rest is history [or precedent in this case given the copy cat actions across the country ] .

But as I said above, I bet Starbucks is really going to be wishing for a return to Lochner if this verdict is upheld. Don't know where Tim Sandefur from Pacific Legal is blogging these days, I got to go looking, because he has the Lochner cite for license plate and I bet Pacific Legal is on this like a rug, either lifing from the sidelines at the corporate self-hating mentality that impells this kind of stuff or writing and Amicus for the appeal.
4.11.2008 8:35am
glangston (mail):
Molon Labe would be my choice but I don't care much for their product.
4.11.2008 11:45am
bornyesterday (mail) (www):

as the coffeeslinger law-yer

I'm not actually a lawyer, just someone with an interest in the law who has been working at a Starbucks for the last two years, and thankfully only has 2 more shifts to work until he's done with the company other than for occasional cinnamon dolce chai lattes.

have you followed any discussion on what california law actually says and the verbiage the judge actually used in applying california law.

my suspicion is that the case have focused on the title "shift supervisor" and possibly on subtle dut or hierarchy rules that say that the shift supervisor has some authority within the kabal of hourly workers.

When the story first broke a couple weeks back, I read about it in the local paper, and I vaguely remember something about a California statute that prevents "managers and shift supervisors" from receiving tips. Like you, my supposition was that the decision rested solely on the phrasing of the law, and I couldn't figure out how a judge could be that dense (or the defending lawyer so ineffective), so I have been assuming that there was more to the decision that I don't know about. If I were actually hanging around with the company, or if the decision had effected me at all, I probably would have done some more digging, but I'm mostly focused on finding an apartment in DC so I'm not living off a friend's couch when I start my new job.
4.12.2008 1:11am
TokyoTom (mail):
See, as I predicted, the market works!

Even libertarians perversely upset about how corporations choose to exercise their economic freedom still can influence such behavior, should they choose to exert one.
4.12.2008 1:48am