As an addicted Starbuck’s customer I have a set routine as I drive into
Imagine my amazement on a stop last week just a few blocks from my office, (I call this Starbuck’s 3b because I am not as familiar with the staff as I am at Starbucks 1 and 2a, respectively), when the Barista who I had never ordered from before appeared before me with a forearm wrapped in gauze. The bandage was a good four inches long and encompassed his arm on both sides. A tragedy had occurred, or so it appeared.
The line at 3b was lengthy and at first I thought it may be caused by the employee inability to move his left arm and make change as rapidly as a customer would like. However, upon further observation I realized that his movement was fine.
The next obvious step, in the tabloid world we live in, was to review the gauze, which was held on with some style of tape. Looking for the blood, or some sign of an incident or accident, I found none. Did the Barista catch his forearm in the convection oven door? Did a Frappacino unload blades in air and slice through the young man’s left arm? Was it an angry customer who only got one and half pumps of Chai in their Latte? All of these thoughts filtered through my mind.
While waiting for my drink a shift change had taken place. The gauze-clad Baristas eventually emerged from the back room sans gauze. In its place a tattoo taking up the majority of the employee’s fore arm, hence the reason for the gauze.
Starbuck’s policy on tats and piercings is iron clad and strictly adhered to. And, many restaurants today – especially the corporate chains have similar policies that disallow tattoos to be shown in public.
However, in order to be protected from any legal ramblings later on in the employee employment relationship you do need to address these two ancient forms of human artwork in your employee handbook.
Don’t begin shaking your head claiming you don’t have an employee handbook because that won’t work with any labor relations hearing – and, if you opt to ban tattoos and piercings without having a written policy that is exactly where you will end up.
Now Starbuck’s manager, at 3b was obviously caught off guard by the employee with the fore arm canvas. I hardly believe if Howard would have walked into the store and saw the gauze that the employee would have been allowed to continue the shift.
However, the gauze wrap was a temporary solution in adhering to the handbook rules.
With tattoos and pierced noses, tongues, cheeks and eyelids becoming more popular you have to make a decision on whether or not you accept these as artwork or annoyance to your customers. Once you make that decision make sure you address the situation, and include your standards in your handbook.
Without a clear cut policy you could turn a simple solution into a piercing problem.