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View Diary: What restaurants should you eat in if you care about workers? (100 comments)

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  •  Chatterbox Cafe, St. Paul (0+ / 0-)

    This restaurant at the corner of Highland and Cleveland in St. Paul accepted Daniele as a trainee before they even opened, and took a month to teach her the menu, and the procedures.

    She dyed her hair black to fit in. The Chatterbox opening meant a lot to her, and she was proud to be a part of it. They weren't a dive. People would leave decent tips. Customers wouldn't be grabbing her, or stealing from her, or arguing with her. Maybe she would even get some level of benefits. It was the best shot she ever got at being part of the middle class.

    Then, three days before the scheduled opening, they cut her and five other trainees. Why? We never were told. Daniele had a mouth on her. Maybe they thought she had too much attitude. But she insisted to me that she kept a lid on it during training. Maybe it was her humor. She saw humor in everything, and not everyone does.

    She came home from the diring, devastated. I flew into a cold rage and drove down to the restaurant and entered through the kitchen. I located the training director and laid it out for her. How much the job meant to Daniele. That she learned everything they asked her to learn.

    “Were you aware that she attempted suicide three months ago, and this was her effort at coming back from that?”

    The training director just looked at me. “Look, that really isn't my problem. If you'll excuse me, I have work to do.” And she turned and walked away.

    There was nothing more I could do. I had tried an appeal to good will, and then to fear, and then to shame. Chatterbox Pub was beyond all three. If they found out the next day that Daniele had died, it would be nothing to them. Oh, maybe they would be sorry. But change a business plan, to keep a young girl alive? Don't be ridiculous.  

    Daniele reeled from the rejection. To her it meant she would have to go back to the dives. To the drunks and people who skipped out without paying and the jerks who thought the reason you existed was to play grab-ass with.

    And she did it. But she never regained that joy she felt at the idea of working for the Chatterbox Pub.

    There's nothing I can do to bring her back. Daniele is gone from my life, and I miss her like I would miss my skin if it were taken off. But I am still capable of spite, and I would take it as a personal favor to me if you never ate at Chatterbox Pub again.

    They have a fun menu, and they win annual City Pages polls as best first date place in our market. But the place has no heart, and no sense of responsibility to people.

    There are a few things I have a hard time forgiving, and inflicting pain on the unwell is one of them. It's what Chatterbox Pub does to its workers. I will work on the forgiveness part. But I so wish they had had the human kindness to give my beautiful daughter a chance to live.

    - Mike Finley

    From the home of "Future Shoes."

    by mfinley98 on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 04:15:36 AM PDT

    •  ((((((mfinley98)))))) (0+ / 0-)

      You brought tears to my eyes.

      So many companies subscibe to Mittens' "I like to fire people" philosophy of management and plan to fire most of the provisional employees, regardless of how well they do.

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