Bagel Street Deli workers were diligently making sandwiches for hungry Uptown visitors when their tip jar, located by the take-out window of the shop, went missing.
The deli took to social media in hopes of locating the tip jar.
“HELP!! Some extremely lame person just STOLE our beloved tip jar straight from our window,” Bagel Street Deli tweeted on June 9 from its official Twitter account. “If you see it, please just bring it back. We’re so sad right now.”
Bagel Street Deli social media manager Hope Gamin said that employees of the bagel-wich shop ended up asking their nextdoor neighbor, Hocking Valley Bank, for camera information. From there, Bagel Street Deli employees were able to see exactly where the thief was coming from on camera and pinpointed in what direction he went.
The tweet for assistance proved to be useful.
“Some dedicated bagelers checked out the alleyways,” Gamin to The Athens NEWS. Eventually, someone found the jar ditched on an alley stairwell, minus the inside contents.
“All in all, the person probably stole no more than $20,” Gamin said. “It sucked, but it’s no chip off our shoulder. We’re all just happy to have our jar back and to be able to keep serving the great folks of Athens.”
The jar itself holds tips, but it also nods to the history of the bagel shop.
Gamin noted that the stolen recycled pickle jar replaced their tip jar that the shop had used for 20 years.
“It all started when the closing crew decided they wanted to have some extra cash at the end of the night to go buy beers to have while cleaning up shop,” she said. It’s used for that purpose to this day.
Everyone who has worked there in that time has slapped some kind of sticker onto it, all offering a glimpse into that person’s personality and interests.
Some of the stickers are reportedly for companies or brands that the bagel shop’s previous workers have started on their own, such as Ash Woodworking Co., ran by Ashley Martin.
“You could ask about any sticker or random thing taped to it, and there’s a story behind it,” Gamin said. “Bagel Street is such a close-knit crew, we treat each other like brothers and sisters. I guess the tip jar just became part of the family in that way.”
The legendary tip jar saw a bit of action in its 20 years. Gamin said that it has been broken, chipped, basically shattered a “hundred different ways.”
Employees have often mended that tip jar with tape, but the number of stickers on the jar also helps to keep it intact. The tip jar has since been retired and is now in the hands of a past bageler, Gamin said.
“It eventually became so shattered that it was only the shell of stickers and tape, so all we did is wrap it around a new glass jar,” Gamin said. “It’s silly, because it probably just looks like a lump of trash to most people but for us it’s like a story book or a collage of the history of everyone who has been lucky enough to work at BSD.”
The precious tip jar has been tucked away to keep it safe from passersby looking for quick cash, but its legacy lives on.