I work at a pretty high volume cafe and we have been having issues with people stealing our tips (at least once a week or so). We try to dump it out when there's a lot in there, but sometimes it gets too busy and we forget. Has anybody else had this problem and come up with an ingenious solution? I was thinking about crafting a bottomless tip jar, so if a person tries to pick it up, everything falls out, making their intentions super obvious. But that doesn't really cure somebody just grabbing a few dollars off the top.  

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Things people are about to suggest:

Locking tip jars that are too small for you
Tip jars that a person's hand can't fit into (that are too small for you)
Doing away with the tip jar altogether/moving it to the back counter (probably a really poor idea)
Making sure that it isn't your employees stealing the tips and blaming it on customers

My suggestion:
If you know that you won't be moving the register anytime soon, cut a hole for a garbage shoot. You know, one of these. Put a receptacle below. Also, you don't have a gaudy tip jar sitting on the front counter.

-bry
ugggh how irritatign. that just happened to me the other day. i mean its not like they took more than ten dollars its just a bummer. tips are like compliments from people telling you you did a great job and someone just took them from you lol. nooot fun
a 12 gauge remington pump action shotgun is a great fix for that problem

Just make sure it's in sight so those sneaky mugs are discouraged from grabbing while your back is turned.

Jared Rutledge said:
a 12 gauge remington pump action shotgun is a great fix for that problem
Grrr....

Happened to me yesterday AM... there was a bit in there too. The new guy was on register and isn't as good about grabbing out the singles when they get tempting. Bet he remembers now.

Set up a second tip jar (or box, whatever) behind the counter and try to get in the habit of grabbing the bills every once in a while. Make it a SOP - every time you think of it, every time you wipe down the counter, refill the cream, whatever makes for an easy habit. It takes 5 seconds if you have a designated spot to drop the bills into and while it doesn't prevent theft it sure limits the impact.

For a while we taped the seed dollar to the bottom of the jar so that the jar would rattle when someone got in. Not terribly effective...
Small security camera pointed at the customers, run to a laptop or server. Heck, you could publish the camera on the web so people could get a look at the shop form home, and just have it there as a novelty. Thieves will see it as a remarkable inconvenience, and as evidence.
Yeah, everything everyone said. My personal choice being a bigger tip jar with a lid and hole in the top. You don't want your jar to be too small because people tend to tip the most when the jar seems half full (this goes into psychology of tipping, covered in other threads). Also why I don't think the garbage chute would be optimal; people like to see that other people have tipped.

Anyway, I came up with this idea, just for fun, not to actually be effective, and feel free to use it: Electrical taping an army surplus grenade to the tip jar and attaching a pin tied to a string that attaches to your counter.
Jared Rutledge said:
a 12 gauge remington pump action shotgun is a great fix for that problem

A shop I used to be at had a fire poker behind the counter.

I threatened it once.
Another girl threatened it once and used it once.

-bry
I have a customer with a sub shop who did this recently! They saw the tip jar missing and then pulled some stills off their security camera of the woman that took it.

They then printed up flyers saying the tip jar was missing and posted them all of the store and the complex. Didn't get the money back but I think it encouraged other people to tip more and make up the difference.

Chris said:
Small security camera pointed at the customers, run to a laptop or server. Heck, you could publish the camera on the web so people could get a look at the shop form home, and just have it there as a novelty. Thieves will see it as a remarkable inconvenience, and as evidence.
christopher myers said:
Anyway, I came up with this idea, just for fun, not to actually be effective, and feel free to use it: Electrical taping an army surplus grenade to the tip jar and attaching a pin tied to a string that attaches to your counter.

Could work.
While standing in line, waiting to get my turn to yet again throw another simulated (read: fake, looks like the real thing, works like the real thing, but goes 'pop' instead of "KA-BOOM!') hand grenade, I re-loaded the spoon and re-inserted a pin. And then pulled the pin and let the spoon go. The same half-dozen guys that were standing there watching me re-load the already dead *SIMULATOR* ran for cover.
OTOH, if I were robbing your tip jar, I'd know that this now gave me fifteen seconds to make the door, and provide me with a great distraction (You'd be left in the house with a live grenade...) and the better possibility that any photographic evidence was about to be destroyed!

I love the flyers of the thieves. That's just the best!

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