Socialism in the Workplace

I’ve had occasion to observe an alarming trend in our food establishments. I don’t know what to do about this, but would like to consider options as to how this might be changed.

I’m referring to the incipient socialism taking over in the restaurants in our area–maybe your area, too.

I was at a Subway for breakfast about 7:15am. There was only one server setting up for the morning. They open at 7. Ahead of me was a lady who had ordered six foot-long sandwiches. The server began my order while that one was working. She was very efficient with her time and her movements behind the counter, plus she was very pleasant.

The lady tried to give a tip for the excellent service, but the girl refused at first. Finally relenting to the older woman, she took it and said, “I will tell the manager about it when she comes in.”

Later, I had opportunity to ask her about the tip.

“We’re not allowed to take tips,” she said.

As I pressed her for more information, she said, “They take all the tips and set them aside for two weeks until the next pay-day. Then they divvy the money up according to who works the most during that time period.”

(slap me six sides of silly!)

But, then I remembered asking about how they handle the tips at one of our favorite restaurants in town.

They put the tips into a common jar, and it is divided equally at the end of the shift.

“We had to start doing this because we found that some servers wouldn’t serve any table but their own, so this eliminated the competition,” I was told by the assistant manager. “They wouldn’t even refill a coffee cup as they passed by if it wasn’t their table.”

Except for the lousy work ethic being tolerated, that actually sounded plausible to me–until this latest episode at the sandwich shop. Then I began thinking about how many places I’ve been where there is a common tip jar. Some of those places, to be sure, there is no one in particular to tip for extra service–Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Panera, etc. And, I realize that the Subway shop probably falls under the same category of eatery.

But, this was special–different–and only one person was on duty doing an excellent job of keeping customers happy. She earned the recognition.

Here’s my problem: servers on the afternoon-evening shift the rest of the week and weekend will benefit from her excellent service whether they deserve it or not.

Yes, the same thing can be said of the morning shift deriving benefit from another–but that is my point. Why should one person (or shift) carry another? There is no guarantee of quality service from one person/shift to another. In fact, my experience at the local DD is that the morning shift deserves all the tips, while the afternoon/evening shift should pay me for what I have to put up with. (so, I seldom stop there after noon.)

This system of sharing equally may also help to explain why there is such dour service at so many places.

What is the motivation to excel if everyone gets rewarded the same?

I understand the superiority of internal motivation over external motivation, but that is not the kind of planet I live on.

What can be done to shift this slide toward socialism in the workplace? Employers are constantly complaining about the lack of quality workers. Apparently we are not able to see a connection between effort and reward.

I don’t have an answer at this time, but if you do, please share it.

Identity Theft

There is much concern, worry, and downright fear about someone being able to steal our identity.

For those of us who do most our financial transactions on-line–from purchasing of consumer goods to managing our assets–identity theft seemingly lurks behind every mouse click. Great measures are taken to make it more difficult for the identity predator to capture his prey.

Long and convoluted passwords are used within firewall protections wrapped within secret encryption devices and codes. In order to make it even more challenging, a different password is used for each account that requires one. Then the passwords are changed every few weeks or even days for each account. This includes not only the financial information accounts, but the social networking accounts and e-mail accounts.

Maybe it works. Maybe it serves. But I haven’t the time for it.

Once again, I find this to be unreasonable and pathetic for the Body of Christ to be involved in this.

My faith is not in the hackers’ ability to crack my encryption attempts. My faith is in the One who keeps me. Therefore my efforts at protection are minimal at best. I do only that which is required by the account that I am using. I’ve had the same password for all my accounts for years. I’ve had the same PIN for accounts that require them for years. In states where it has been possible, my driver’s license number has been my social security number. Simplicity is what works for me. Maybe it doesn’t for you.

My reasoning, though probably not well thought out, goes something like this:

  1. My identity is not how much money I have in my wallet. Neither my money nor my assets define who I am. Therefore, no one can steal my money and take my identity away from me.
  2. My life is hid with Christ in God (Col. 3:3). Therefore, no one can steal my identity–they can only join in with it!
  3. I dwell in the secret place of the Most High (Ps. 91). Therefore, God is my protector, which makes stealing my money even more difficult.
  4. Since God is my protector, I will not fear what man can do to me (Ps. 56:11).
  5. Since I do not fear what man can do to me, I am not concerned about this so-called identity theft.

Identity Theft is a misnomer, and something the devil is using to deceive the people of God.

Every time a child of God uses the term “identity theft,” he/she is giving credence to the lie that our identity is tied up in what we own. We need to pay attention to the words we speak.

The fact that fear is at the root of this whole thing should be enough to persuade the people of God to avoid it. Avoid the discussions, except to interject your statement of faith. Avoid reading about how to protect yourself from identity theft, except for reading the Bible.  Avoid reading about the latest victim’s story, because it only ministers fear.

Some will say that we need to be concerned. I am as concerned as I need to be. But, I am not constantly on the lookout for it.

I recall when we had the news about the “DC Sniper” that people in Missouri were hiding behind their cars while pumping gas. That is not concern. That is FEAR.

The point of all this?

I’m not exactly sure. I just know that I am still bothered by Christians who claim that faith is their message, while fear is their motivation.