Tip Jars: The New Public Health Threat?

Julie Ryan Evans

tip jarTip jars are annoying no doubt, but are they deadly? A Missouri family says yes, and they're suing Starbucks over a tip jar they say killed their love one.

In 2008 Roger Kreutz was at a Starbucks when he saw a young man, later identified as Aaron Poisson, grab the tip jar and make a run for it. Not willing let to him get away with such thievery, Kreutz ran after him.

Out in the parking lot, things got ugly. Kreutz was thrown to the ground, and Poisson hit him with his car. Sadly, Kreutz later died as a result of his Good Samaritan ways.

While Poisson was sentenced to a year in prison after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter, that wasn't enough for the family. They are now suing Starbucks because the shop "did not employ security to prevent the perpetration of such crimes" and it "invited the act of perpetration of said crime" by having a tip jar.

I'm sure they're still grieving, and people do inexplicable things in the face of death, but ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I would love to see tip jars abolished, but not because people might steal from them. Might they not also steal the coffee cups, the CDs, bags of coffee, and all the other merchandise not under lock and key at every Starbucks across the country? Those expensive coffee makers sitting out are certainly worth more than the contents of any tip jar (the one in question contained less than $5).

Cash may be even more tempting, sure, but even if someone steals it, it doesn't mean you have to chase after the thief. It was a nice gesture, but Starbucks never asked Kreutz to do it and shouldn't have to pay because he did.

I also can't help but think how disappointed Kreutz might be to learn of his family's actions. Here he was selfless enough to put his life on the line to help Starbucks employees out for no reason but his own good heart, while this lawsuit screams of much less selfless motives.

Do you think Starbucks should be held liable in this case? What do you think of tip jars in general?

Image via ingradtaylar/Flickr

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