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Blinded By Your Own Douchiness

I’m talking about John Schnatter (even his name is douchy), CEO of Papa John’s (barely) Pizza, as well as Darden Restaurants Inc (who own Red Lobster, Olive Garden, and Longhorn Steak House) who have all said that they will be cutting their workers’ hours so that they don’t have to offer them health coverage, as mandated by ObamaCare.

Let me tell you the number of ways this is douchy. The most obvious, is that this is a PR nightmare. I believe that most Americans are good people, who want the people that prepare their food to be able to live a life that includes health insurance. I don’t believe that (with the exception of ideologues) most of us have a problem paying a few cents, or even a few dollars more for restaurant meals if that means providing health coverage to the employees that prepare and serve those meals. How do I know this? Because since 2008, restaurant patrons in San Francisco have been paying an extra 4% on each meal they consume, so that the restaurant workers in San Francisco have universal coverage. This 4% charge hasn’t made it any easier for me to get a table at The Slanted Door when I’m in town, so I’m guessing that San Franciscans aren’t eating at home because that 4% is overly burdensome. 

It’s also douchy because these announcements are clearly politically motivated. The announcements didn’t have to be made. They could have quietly implemented the WalMart model of two part time employees, rather than one full time employee in order to avoid providing any benefits at all. No, they want to make a last ditch effort to scare people into believing that ObamaCare is a bad thing.

But the douchiest part of this, is that it demonstrates how bad these people are at business. Remember what I told you about San Francisco and the added charge for health insurance? Well, a lot of restaurants in San Francisco have turned these surcharges into a profit center. They’re pocketing some, if not all of the money. Wayfair Tavern in downtown San Francisco collected almost $64,000 from it’s customers in 2010. They spent a little over $6,000 of it on health insurance for their employees. I’m not going to go into how they did this, since it’s not relevant to this post. You can click on the link in this paragraph to get more information on it. My point is that John Schnatter, who claims that providing insurance for his employees will cost consumers fifteen cents more per shitty pizza. If he weren’t so blinded by his own douchiness, he would have realized that quietly raising the prices by fifty cents for each inedible pie, would have increased his profits. This would have enabled him to buy another obnoxious castle, while treating his employees to doctor visits. It would have been a win/win, but he douchebagged himself into a lose/lose.

When people don’t have insurance, and can’t get full time hours, they leave as soon as they can so you create a fast-spinning revolving door of employees. As an HR professional, I can tell you that it costs significantly less to keep an employee happy than it does to replace them. In the high tech arena, the cost of replacing an employee can range between 60 – 200% of that employees annual salary. I’m positive these percentages are much lower in fast food, but I’m also positive that it’s cheaper to garner some loyalty and slow the spinning of that revolving door. You have to pay to add an employee to your payroll system, and then you have to pay to remove them. You have to pay someone to perpetually interview new employees, and you have to pay someone else to process the new hire and termination paperwork.

This whole thing is douchy, and it’s bad business. So I say boycott, boycott, boycott! And to the idiots who say that this will cause layoffs, don’t you think I thought of that? You can take your business to Little Caesars, who have no plans to fuck their employees because they never wanted to treat them humanely in the first place.  An increase in business at Little Caesars means more hiring of employees who will get the benefits they need. Laid off Papa John’s employees can get a better job down the street.


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Your Work Is Not Done Part I

Now that the distraction of the election is over, it’s time to get to work. I know that you thought that you were done after you voted, but you’re not. Don’t worry conservatives, this series of posts won’t all be about pushing a liberal agenda so bear with me through this post. I promise they won’t all annoy you.

So liberals, I’m speaking to you right now. There’s something you need to do immediately, and repeatedly over the course of the next eight weeks, in order to get congress moving along again. Basically nothing changed last night, in terms of the balance of power. Congress is still held by a GOP majority, the senate is still democratically controlled (albeit by a slightly larger margin), and democrats still have the white house. This means that the do nothing gridlock that we’ve been treated to for the past four years may continue.

I say may, because we can put pressure on Harry Reid to stop it. We need to send Harry Reid a torrent of letters and faxes demanding that he change the filibuster rules. The majority leader can change senate rules with a simple majority at the beginning  of each session. A new session begins when the new senators are sworn in, in January. We need to send letters and faxes to Harry Reid immediately and frequently. Additionally, you need to send one letter or fax to your democratic senator asking them to vote for a rule change. I want you to send letters and faxes as opposed to emails because they’re more impactful. They create a physical presence and a physical mass. It’s harder to gauge the volume of emails than it is to look at a stack of physical paper and get a sense of the volume.

This will take maybe fifteen minutes of your time, so it’s not a huge undertaking. You spent more time voting, even if everything went smoothly. Not it’s time to make that vote mean something. We need to stop the minority from hijacking the government at every turn. Ignore the bullshit about how changing the rules will eventually hurt “your team” when they’re in the minority. The majority leader, any majority leader can always change the rules at the start of a new session. I promise you that republicans will change the rules if they ever regain control.

This rule change will empower the president you voted for to move his agenda forward. And if he doesn’t, you will all know that he, and not congress is the problem. I’m tired of hearing this crap about how powerless Obama is, in order to defend him. I’ve never believed that he’s as powerless as some people maintain. Regardless, let’s find out. If we discover that he’s the problem, we can focus our pressure on him. Here is the contact information for Harry Reid’s Washington office; 

          522 Hart Senate Office Building 

          Washington, DC 20510

          Fax: 202-224-7327

Click on this link to get the mailing and fax information for your senator.

You have to do this in order to make last night’s vote count! Please, I’m begging you! Don’t make me get bitchier!

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