Sunday, November 18, 2012

Shut-up Stupid Sunday: Crossing the Line

Over the past three years I've been pointing out really stupid things people have said publicly. However as much I disagree and think they are stupid, I believe whole-heartedly they have a right to say stupid things.

Not only do I believe people have the right to say stupid things, they have the right to tell outright lies, misrepresent the truth, even call people names. However, I don't believe someone has the right to lie about someone publicly that hurts their livelihood. This crosses the line and becomes liable.

Recently, John Metz, who owns around 40 Denny’s and multiple Dairy Queen Locations in Florida, as well as a franchise called Hurricane Grill & Wings, made news and ruffled diner food fans’ feathers when he told the Huffington Post that he planned to add a 5 percent surcharge at the start of next year.

“If I leave the prices the same, but say on the menu that there is a 5 percent surcharge for Obamacare, customers have two choices,” he explained to HuffPo. “They can either pay it and tip 15 or 20 percent, or if they really feel so inclined, they can reduce the amount of tip they give to the server, who is the primary beneficiary of Obamacare… Although it may sound terrible that I’m doing this, it’s the only alternative. I’ve got to pass the cost on to the consumer.”

First off this is a total lie. The wait-staff work for under minimum wage in most places. Metz won't be paying for their healthcare, it will be covered under Medicaid. Under Obamacare, workers making less 133% of the federal poverty line will be covered under Medicaid. I serious doubt Metz is paying the wait-staff at his restaurants over $39,000 a year. Probably about half that.

I'm not saying Metz won't have to cover some of his employees, the managers and administration, but it is an outright lie when he says the server is the primary beneficiary of Obamacare, at least his obligation under Obamacare.

Metz isn't just publicly telling a stupid lie, he is doing it with the intent of hurting his employees, by encouraging customers to tip less. That is liable, and just being an asshole.

So to all these restaurant chains that are using Obamacare as an excuse to be assholes to their employees, I say, “Shut-up Stupid, if you publicly blame your employees for your problems, then I will call your competitors and ask about the 'Not an asshole special'. I'll gladly pay 5% more to eat at a restaurant where the owner isn't an asshole to their employees.”

Update: It seems someone may have told John Metz that lying in order to hurt your employees is illegal as he has backed off that statement and said he was only thinking about it.

Update #2: Denny's has issued a statement on John Metz comments saying they do not agree and will take actions to protect their brand.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of I KILLED THE MAN THAT WASN'T THERE

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