A while back, a customer - a pastor with a church group, no less - went in to Applebee's. The group - 10 people - ordered a huge variety of customized items, and generally made themselves a huge nuisance. When they got ready to leave, the pastor was presented with a check. The pastor - Alois Bell of St. Louis' Truth in the Word Deliverance Ministries - didn't like the fact that Applebee's automatically charges an 18% gratuity to groups of more than 6 people. So she left the server a note: "I give God 10 percent, why should you get 18?" Maybe because God doesn't have to pay rent, you unconscionably horrible person. I can think of a church that I won't be visiting anytime soon; whatever they may preach, they sure aren't Christians. But one of the other servers saw the note. Took a picture. Posted it online. And now, Applebee's has fired her, and apologized to the customer . We live in a world where employees who make less than fifty thousand dollars a year are considered expendable by their employers. Where "the customer is right" trumps good sense, moral decency, and any sort of downward loyalty from the corporate bigwigs to the people whose efforts keep them in business every day. Where those same bigwigs would rather throw away a valued, long-time employee with no previous disciplinary history, than offend a customer so magnificently callous towards other people that she could write such a note. And they are wrong. The people who wait tables are not irrelevant. They are the face of your business. Treating them poorly results in a direct, immediate impact on your business. Because you've chosen to cater to customer behavior that is horrible, many people feel that the atmosphere in your restaurants is equally horrible. Since you've chosen to favor someone clearly, obviously wrong, over a valued employee who publicly shamed behavior that should have been publicly shamed, the people whose signatures are affixed below feel that voting with our wallets is the best way to shame you. You are wrong. You should be ashamed. And we hope that our refusal to do business with a company that treats its employees so poorly shames you, and makes the conditions in your restaurants better for your employees.
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