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It’s our cash, not yours

It’s our cash, not yours

Message to the petrol stations: It’s our money and we’ll do what we want with it – that should include tipping your staff, if we choose.

December 28, 2010 2:51 by

Many staff at petrol stations are routinely subjected to strip searches by suspicious employers, sometimes during their shift and often before they go home, reports Emirates 24-7.

The measures are taken to combat theft, according to employers. A supervisor at one of the petrol stations told the website: “We have security cameras in strategic places to detect fraud and disputes with customers. In case of any major incidents, we retrieve camera footage and solve the problem. However, not all areas in the shop or petrol pump are covered by security cameras and, therefore, body searches are essential to control theft.”

But the measures are also used to keep check of whether employees are handed tips by drivers, says the report. One of the workers said: “We get only a small salary. Our respite is the tips that customers give. Some customers give us Dh100-Dh200 and ask us to keep the change. But if our supervisor sees it then we are terminated. In fact, in the last six months many new staff have been recruited to replace those terminated for alleged theft.”

Kipp is fortunate enough to earn well above the paltry 1,400 dirhams per month that one petrol station employee told the paper he earns. And we can say with confidence our job is not as testing as theirs – after all, when was the last time we had to work on our feet outside all day during the sweltering summer months? Never, of course.

We just can’t understand it. It’s no skin off the petrol companies’ noses if Kipp decides to let one of the forecourt attendants keep a few dirhams change. If anything, the companies should embrace it – it would make their staff happier, doubtless spur them on to better service, and might even leave the very few crooked employees less likely to steal from the shop.

What do you think? Should petrol station employees be allowed to accept tips? Is it acceptable for them to be strip searched if theft is suspected? Can you understand why companies pursue such measures?

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  1. Andrew on December 28, 2010 7:23 pm

    We all know it’s got little to do with letting people keep their tips, and all about corruption. Each tier in the organisation wants their cut.

    It works just like the mafia; they’re not worried about theft and corruption, they’re just worried they’re not getting some of the take.

  2. Arshia on December 28, 2010 7:27 pm

    Well, i don’t think its inappropriate to leave someone at service stations with a tip if a customer wants it, it encourages better service ethics as well as a way to help those who are less fortunate, people at service station etc are truly paid very less and if a tip can help to make their life feel a lil better, there shouldn’t be any harm in doing so.

    However, keeping in mind, that due to some employees, management does take such measures to keep a strict track system, hence management can find a way to suit their objectives hile at the same time looking for their employees welfare in means of having a screened tip collection system… trust this helps!

  3. S.K. on December 29, 2010 6:42 am

    Definitely! Petrol Station employees should be allowed to accept tips. Where does the question of theft arise as definitely they have some procedure in place to calculate the collections of sale. If the employee hands over the collections, then what is the issue if they keep any tips. Alternatively, petrol companies could provide a “Tips Box” where all employees shoud deposit any tips they receive and share it equally at the end of the day, overseen by a supervisor.

  4. GreginDubai on December 29, 2010 6:50 am

    I thought I’d heard it all. Kipp, what an amazing revelation and what an absolute scandal. I have routinely tipped the attendants since I have lived here. Can you tell us what petrol station company this is or does it apply to all operating across the UAE according to your sources?

  5. Abu Dhabi Driver & Tipper on December 29, 2010 7:01 am

    Absolutely right. The companies have no rights whatsoever to do this.

    Effectively, its would seem to be almost accusing the employee of theft and, under Sharia law, false accusations should land the accuser in jail.

    Of course, it may be written into their employment contracts, in which case we now know how petty and mean their employers are.

    Solution might be for all forecourt employees to make some small cards with their name and bank account numbers on, give them out to anybody – maybe a regular customer- who wishes to tip and we can pay them tips directly into their accounts…. lets see the employers steal that money!!!

    Anyway, Kipp is right. Tips are precisely targetted rewards for good work on the front line where a company has direct interface with the customer and should, absolutely, be encouraged although it should still be forbidden to directly ask for tips.

  6. Fifi Labelle on December 29, 2010 7:24 am

    ……….. has banned the baggers from taking tips too. I simply do not understand why supermarket or petrol execs should care! It is cruel beyond measure, a simple exercise of power “because we can”.
    Once a month, lets head to the pumps with treats (that are obviously bought elsewhere)!

  7. Plum Endemon on December 29, 2010 7:53 am

    I found out about this a couple of years ago. The money allegedly goes back to the company. I always ask the pump attendants if they are allowed to keep their tips. If they say no, then in the summer months I go inside and buy them a cold drink instead. I also give them the receipt, just in case their employer thinks they have stolen it!

  8. Dina on December 29, 2010 8:40 am

    They should immediately institute the TIP BOX, and place it infront of the cameras in a very public place…This way anyone can leave a tip (big or small), and it’s justified, and at the end of the day the employees can split their makings. Although there is no guarentee the station owners won’t steal it, but at least if it’s infront of a camera and they can’t say it’s theft.

  9. Rowena Alderson on December 29, 2010 1:51 pm

    These people deserve every dirham they are gifted. They wash windscreens unprompted, they smile even in the sweltering summer. It’s the only perk of an otherwise dire job. This practice of firing employees must be stopped. After all, we can tip in a restaurant for good service, what difference is it tipping on the forecourt?. I fill up every 2 days at the same petrol station from Dubai to Abu Dhabi – all the staff know and welcome me. I wondered why I’d started to see different faces – now I know. I am so disappointed with this attitude.

  10. Miss Anne Thropic on December 29, 2010 4:12 pm

    A certain well-known supermarket in the UAE also has a no-tipping policy. Staff have to refuse any offers of tips. It’s a disgrace.

  11. Dismanirie on January 3, 2011 2:23 pm

    I doubt this is a corporate policy, since they cannot prohibit their customers from tipping. Andrew is probably closest to the true story…

    Disgraceful practice, nevertheless, and management at these companies would do well to end such abuses.

  12. Andrew on January 3, 2011 4:47 pm

    Oh I know the one Anne is referring to, unfortunately embarrassing someone into having to refuse one. I make a habit of shopping there as little as possible.


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