• Christopher Smith, Editor-in-Chief

More Than Just the Tip (Jar)

Sad to have to report that the knuckleheads in our community have been busy. This story revisits one we’ve reported on at STATE OF CANNABIS NEWS & OPINION HOUR (@Twitter Spaces) before: The Case of the Missing Tip Jar.


It’s from my good friend Deb Borchardt’s Green Market Report and an article titled, "More Cannabis Tip Jar News"


THE SCOOP

In the Massachusetts market, a dispensary company called Bud’s Goods and Provisions has reached an agreement with the state’s Fair Labor Division of the Attorney General’s office.

“The popular cannabis dispensary agreed to repay numerous current and former employees as part of a $33,000 settlement … following a complaint from an employee that the company kept tips from its budtenders. Sixty-eight (68) employees who worked between March 1, 2021, and the end of 2021 will receive between $20 and $1,500.”


THE DEEPER DIVE

First of all, let’s be clear: the company wants you to think this is about $33,000. It’s not. It’s about the $20 that the company refused to give that employee on the bottom.


It’s not about the big number, it’s about the smallest number because that shows how badly this company has lost its way.


As an outside observer on this fiasco, I am tempted to borrow a phrase from Full Metal Jacket, and ask Bud’s Goods and Provisions “What is your major malfunction, Numbnuts?”


Satire aside, if I were a public relations consultant for Bud’s Goods and Provisions as, a role I perform for cannabis clients, I would switch to CRISIS COMMUNICATIONS MODE if my client’s name linked to corruption of any kind … ESPECIALLY this petty cash variety, which suggests a level of desperation that’s cruel, ugly, and frightening.


Stealing tips is corrupt behavior. It may not be illegal but it's certainly morally corrupt. Seriously, Bud’s Goods and Provisions: Check yourself before you wreck yourself.


This sounds like a movie trailer about when lawyers and MBA’s run a business like it’s a death metal ultimate frisbee game between the Chads from Harvard and the Biffs from Yale. "They play to win, they play to the death…" and now they’re laughing stocks all across America because they couldn’t just drop-the-disk and let a budtender have his $20.


America is ALL ABOUT THE LITTLE GUY. You think no one notices when you do bullshit to your employees? Look what happened to Burger King, a behemoth company, just last week, when an employee who had worked at the same location for 27 years was given a measly goodie bag full of crap? AN INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC RELATIONS NIGHTMARE!


ALSO, imagine you’re an investor in Bud’s Goods and Provisions – or a potential investor in a new raise. What are you gonna think about a company that makes such unforced errors in judgment? That fight all the way to the Attorney General’s office over a measly $20 bucks? Or even $33,000 – in the world of “popular cannabis dispensaries”, that’s like 30 seconds of revenue!


I’m thinking quite a few checkbooks closed over this, AND IT’S SO UNNECCESSARY!


MOVING ON TO CURALEAF

“This settlement comes at the same time as cannabis giant Curaleaf recently pushed back against an employee that sued the company for the contents of a tip jar.


Former employee Morgan Heller filed a complaint in March accusing the company of not giving the employees $126,000 that had been collected in tip jars. Heller says the managers took the money instead. Curaleaf wants the Illinois federal court to dismiss those claims saying it never agreed to pay those tips to workers in the first place. Curaleaf’s position is that tips were not part of the employment agreement and had told the employees as such.”


Again, Chad ... Curaleaf ... KNUCKLEHEADS!!! Drop the rope and step away from the tip jar and dear Lord don’t let it get out that you’re so fucking petty. All politics is local, but CRUELTY TO EMPLOYEES IS POTENTIALLY INTERNATIONAL NEWS.


Cannabis Business Owners: the following questions will be on the test:

  • When is a tip jar NOT a tip jar? Never!

  • Is it wrong to put out a “tip jar” that you know is not really a tip jar? Of course it is! Because now, not only are you stealing from your budtenders, but you’re stealing from your customers, taking their money under false pretenses… and what’s worse, you’ve stolen their trust.

  • AND THE NEXT QUESTION THEY’RE GOING TO ASK IS: if you’re lying to your own employees, what are you lying to me about?

THE LAST WORD

This is how brands die, people.


A brand is a promise, and once you break your promise to play fair, people will use those same feet to go into a different shop. Forever.


STOP THIS MADNESS!


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Image Source: https://unsplash.com/@sam_truong