I'm pretty sure that sucks for you, F3SS. And men are just the same like old women when they get to talking, by that I mean in gossiping and digging for info. But you know it's bound to happen and it's just one of those things that comes along with being an employer. Because Sheetrock Dan is liable to hear Roofer Joe brag about his new boat and wonder how Roofer Joe could afford such a thing when Sheetrock Dan hasn't been able to even afford another riding lawnmower yet. Sheetrock Dan may ask him if Roofer Joe "got it on credit" and Roofer Joe may say "no, I paid for it in full". And then before you know it, Sheetrock Dan eventually manipulates the details out of Roofer Joe into admitting his take home pay and figures out how much he's getting payed per hour, job salary or commision-based salary. Then before you know it, here comes Roofer Dan asking you for a raise. You might give it to him just to shut him up or keep him from quitting, if he's worth it, or you might might not and start looking at applications again just in case. But if you do give Sheetrock Dan the raise, you suspect Roofer Dan is gonna be feeling not so special when he finds out about it and then before you know it, he comes to you asking for a raise just to feel special again. Aaah, the endless circle of employee probabilities. It gets you every time, it never ends.
It's a pain and on that part of being a business owner, I don't envy you, F3SS. But you know it comes with the territory and this is such a common thing now, that even game designers put these type of situations into computer-based business simulation games in one type of probability or another; when working with fake employees. Of course it's not quite the same in real life but that just shows you how common it is and a well known situation of being a real employer.
That's why I wonder why they (Wal-Mart) even bother, telling their employees not to mention their pay rate to other employees, those other employees are gonna find out one way or another, either by accident or out of curiosity. Makes no difference, F3SS...that's all I'm saying.
Your scenario is pretty much how it goes but most of the time they just tell each other and if one feels jaded about the others pay the jaded one then tells everyone else. It's ridiculous sometimes but it surely is nothing for you to envy. I enjoy my freedom as the owner but it certainly has its headaches. I had one guy, whose gone now, a couple years ago so damn obsessed with what another guy was making that he actually went snooping through the guys truck and found his pay stub, still in an envelope, and opened it up. The dude was and ass before but after he fund out he wasn't making as much as the guy he snooped on he just became so irate and immateur. He thought I couldn't get by without him and eventually quit thinking he got some kind of last laugh or something. Came to find out from him keeping in contact with another worker that he thought we were really fledgling without him. So cocky. It's a shame because he was very talented but he wasn't better than me like he liked to think and we got by just fine without him. In fact, even better because we didn't have a whiny little girl bringing bad moods and gossip to work every day. He was a talent but man was it a weight off my shoulders when he was gone. Everybody was in a generally better mood when he left.
I'd say my biggest gripe about talking about pay rates is one, I tell them not to and two, there are only a handful of us! I understand Walmart can't stop it because they have hundreds but I only have 4-6 employees at any given time. Oh well. If they deserve it ill give them a raise and if not then I just have to tell them why and what they need to do to get one and that results in two ways. They either prove themselves and get better and earn a raise or they just don't get it and I usually end up firing them because well, they deserve it and they never really tried in the first place. Most of my past employees haven't quit on me. I've had a pretty steady crew for a couple years now and the ones who have gone have mostly made my decision easy and most of them don't even argue it. They knew they suck.