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Woman calls out coffee house chain for lying about actual pay in job listing, sparks important conversation

It became clear her hourly pay would be way less than what the ad had promised only after she received an official offer from the company.

Woman calls out coffee house chain for lying about actual pay in job listing, sparks important conversation
Cover Image Source: TikTok/zhanball

TikTok user @zhanball recently posted a video venting about a disturbing job interview experience she had and to call out the deceiving barista job listing for lying about what the job actually pays. In a video that's been viewed more than 500,000 times since being uploaded, she explained how she'd interviewed with the Louisiana-based coffee house franchise PJ's Coffee after seeing a job listing that promised a salary of $13.50 an hour. However, when she received an official offer from the company, it became clear that her hourly pay would be way less than the ad had stated.

"Hey employers, you cannot state this as your salary when it's actually a minimum wage," @zhanball says in the video, pointing at a job listing that mentions a pay rate of $11.50 to $13.50 an hour. "I applied last week for a barista job. I love being a barista. It just does not pay well. So when I saw I could be making $13.50 at this job, I was like, I'll go back to being a barista. $13.50 plus tips is an amazing rate for this area. I went in yesterday, had an hour-long interview [and] it went great."

"It wasn't until the end of the interview and when she sent me the offer for a job, turns out they pay $7.50 an hour. But after you factor in tips, you make around $13.50 an hour. So you're counting on half of your employees' salary to come from the generosity of your customers," she added. @zhanball went on to explain why it's not OK for employers to promise such misleading pay rates that are based on their customers' generosity. "You cannot say that this is your pay rate when you are paying $7.50 and your customers are picking up the rest," she says in the video. 

@zhanball $7.50 is not anywhere near a living wage #workreform #unionize #jobs #workingclass ♬ Crazy - Patsy Cline


"Needless to say, I not only declined the offer, I sent them a very informative email that will hopefully make them not only reevaluate their pay rate, but change that job ad," the TikTok user concluded. In a follow-up video, she shared the email she sent the company in response to the job offer. After thanking the hiring manager for meeting with her, @zhanball clarified in the email that she had to decline the offer as the starting pay rate is nowhere near what was advertised in the job listing.

"I found it quite misleading to advertise a starting pay rate of $11.50 - $13.50 and not clarify that nearly half of that rate comes from customer gratuity, which is never guaranteed and should not be relied upon or factored into employer pay," she explained in her email. "$7.50 per hour is nowhere near a living wage in any part of the country in this day and age, and your employees should not have to rely on the generosity of the customer to survive." Concluding her mail, @zhanball quoted former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and left a profound parting message. "'No business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country.' If the starting pay is minimum wage, then it's likely every promotion and step up the ladder is severely underpaid as well."

@zhanball Reply to @sjplife #greenscreen and to no surprise i haven’t gotten a response lol #workreform #jobs ♬ original sound - Anakin’s left hand


Speaking to Bored Panda, Christine Mitterbauer—a licensed and ICF-approved career coach and serial entrepreneur based in the U.K.—agreed that the job listing was an extremely unethical move. "This is completely unethical behavior on part of the company. Following such an incident, the woman should ask herself if she wants to work for a company whose word she can't trust," Mitterbauer said. "What uncomfortable situations might she encounter in the future given such a misleading start? The company should ask themselves what kind of people they attract; people who are desperate for a job or who don't have any backbone or ability to stand up for themselves."

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