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View Diary: Chain Restaurants, exploitation of employees, arrogance, greed, and crappy food. (175 comments)

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  •  Trouble is.... (14+ / 0-)

    from all accounts, JC Penney's own "JC Penney's moment" hasn't worked out well for them at all.

    How do you make the idea of "doing right by our employees" a marketable quality that you can sell to your customers, when so much marketing is being done by the 1% to sell the 99% on just the opposite?

    Intended to be a factual statement.

    by ipsos on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 03:22:10 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  I don't know, but it seems like (18+ / 0-)

      it is something that somebody would try.

      I know that in my personal purchasing patterns, I will choose a good employer to buy from (in the case of food -  fresh and prepared - and manufactured goods) over a bad one.

      I know that in fact businesses in a few areas are starting to advertise things like "made in USA by workers who get healthcare benefits" and even "strawberries picked by union workers"....and they get business.

      It is a similar concept to fair trade coffee and chocolate, which by all accounts, ARE successful.

      You won't get the most price sensitive customers, but for most people, there comes a point where they don't really buy for price on some stuff.

      For me, when I was working minimum wage, any expense over about $5 was watched closely.

      When I had a 20k/year job, any expense over about $50 was watched closely, but I stopped sweating weather a pizza cost $12 or $15.

      When I had a 50k/year job, any expense under a couple hundred dollars wouldn't have price as a consideration at all.

      When I bought a home, I stopped noticing any expense under $1000 (because your house will mug you for 4-5 digits, randomly.  If you can deal with that in your normal cash flow, most expenses measured in hundreds of dollars won't disrupt things much)

      So somebody using this approach as a marketing model wouldn't get a lot of the under 30K income bracket, unless they got some because it was their friends/family working there and spreading the word that they're a good employer (and whatever they're selling is still affordable with the markup, if not the most inexpensive)

      But they might get a good chunk of extra business from the over 30K income crowd.

      •  I do not go out (17+ / 0-)

        to eat that much and when I do I never go to fast food chains. I never did even when I was poor. The food is too scary and not appealing.  When we do go out to eat we go to local restaurants. I look at eating out as a treat much like going to a movie or a concert. Locally owned good restaurants offer much better food and a variety of cuisine that is fresher, and have real food as ingredients. Some are just as inexpensive as the corporate chains and always a better deal for the money you spend.      

        On my city block we have 3 cooks and a pastry chef they all work in local restaurants and bakeries. I like supporting local business as the money stays in your community and these days we need to support our local businesses.. I just don't want to spend my money at businesses that are making obscene profits by screwing their employees.

        The only chain 'fast food' restaurant we go to is Laughing Planet. a burrito chain started by a hippie in Boulder CO. There are several in Portland OR and the food is cheap, healthy, locally grown and good. I am going to find out if they treat and pay their employees decently as they are our place to go for takeout when were too tired to cook..  

        I worked for 9 years in restaurant's as a waitress and sometimes a hostess. They sustained me through art school and college. I never worked in a corporate chain, but I did work for some real creeps. Owners who treated their hard working employees like they we're doing them a favor paying them at all. It's hard and stressful work without having to deal with abusive, exploitive owners and managers.      

        •  Fast food is sometimes cheaper and faster (12+ / 0-)

          than any other alternative.   It's also probably the cheapest way to get calories if you lack a real kitchen or any way of storing food.

          Takeout can be nearly as efficient from a time standpoint if you call ahead and know your travel times (and it is close to wherever you need to be), but not as cheap.

          If I've planned badly or life throws me  a curve, the choice is either inability to think/function due to low blood sugar or I can take 10 minutes and get a hot, filling, meal.    Generally if I've screwed up badly enough to need fast food, I'm not in the right place to have called ahead for yummy local restaurant take-out food.

          If I could take that 10 minutes and choose a fast food outlet that wasn't a total dick to its employees etc, I'd prefer that.

          A sit down restaurant is an hour long commitment.  When I do that, yeah, I almost always eat at local restaurants, of which we have many good ones.   (I also sometimes eat at better regional chains, if they have a dish I really like that I'm in the mood for, but that's fairly rare)  

          But if you are driving on I-5, halfway through an 8 hour drive and the only choices that aren't fast food are low-end chains like Dennys or Applebees, that's when I'd eat there.  And in those situations, which, granted, are not as common now as when I was younger and my future wife lived over 600 miles away...I'd like to have some kind of choice.

          Bottom line...fast food and low end chains wouldn't exist if they didn't serve a purpose the good local restaurants can't.   Price is a part of it, but isn't the whole story.   The big chains usually have a speed advantage, plenty of parking and are open 24x7 or very late/early.

          Someone who fit that demographic of speed, hours combined with ALMOST as low prices as the nasty chains, but had a rep for happy, healthy employees....

          I think they'd do pretty well.  

          •  You know you're broke when... (26+ / 0-)

            ...you've got 2 bucks and you're staring at a fast food menu looking for the thing with the most calories because it's the only thing you'll eat all day.

            It's also probably the cheapest way to get calories if you lack a real kitchen or any way of storing food.
            Unfortunately you're right.

            That was when I was really Broke and Unemployed, on my first year of school, before I got a job with the university, and Obama raised my financial aid. Now I can at least afford to fucking eat.

            "I read this- Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. I read every last word of this garbage, and because of this piece of $#!^ I'm never reading again!"-Officer Barbrady

            by Broke And Unemployed on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 05:51:36 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  A banana an apple, an orange (4+ / 0-)

            some cheese or even a bag of nuts cost less and saw me through in times when I had neither money or time or a place to cook. There really are ways even in this day to avoid toxic corporate fast non food. Nit being preachy but pizza or pink slime are not really cost effective or time saving and certainly are not worth the price of slave labor or the damage done to our environment or our economy.

            •  I eat very well due to planning, (4+ / 0-)

              a good kitchen and freezer, access to excellent farmer's markets and natural food stores.

              Soup from scratch, main dishes from scratch, generally using meat from humanely treated animals grown in a sustainable way, salad and seasonal fruit in every lunch and dinner.

              Half my weekend devoted to preparing food for the rest of the week.

              And you know what?  In spite of all that, sometimes I STILL find myself in a place where I don't have that food handy, need some calories right now and would prefer a balance of macronutrients (some protein, fat, carbs).

              Fast food is fastest and cheapest and easiest to find damn near anywhere compared to healthy food.  That is why there is so much of it, and why so many people eat it.

              For me, at this time in my life, it is the freaking time that matters most in the decision to eat fast food.

              No time to go home and get the healthy food that for some reason I don't have with me.  A schedule shot to hell by unexpected events that means too many hours since I last ate.   A need to quickly get enough calories in me to go another 4 hours without need to eat anything else, because there wont' be another opportunity than this 15-20 minute window of time.

              And yeah, when things are that bad, HOT food makes a difference.

              If modern jobs were sane with predictable schedules and only 40 hours a week, maybe things would be different.  But it has never been like that my entire adult life.  

              Before I worked in an office I never drank coffee either.  The need to think even when my body wanted to be asleep meant that an available, free (most places I've worked) stimulant wasn't optional, although again I try to limit it to when it's most needed (because it works poorly for that purpose if you drink it all the time)

          •  sometimes i have to do fast food too (0+ / 0-)

            i tend to go to Subway..they have been trying to promote a little healthier choice..i know all fast food employees are paid pretty low, but does anyone have the skinny on Subway? hope it isn't one of the bad guys

            •  just looked on the 'grren list' someone linked (0+ / 0-)

              to below...subway was # 1 on the list but it was a pretty horrible # 1..as in it got 'D' grades in a lot of areas, compared to the 'F's all the other chains got!!! Fortunately it doesn't happen that often..but on  freeway interchanges, it is often that or the gas station prepackaged stuff...unless it is a short trip and i brought my snacks and a cooler for food...

          •  Pack a lunch? (0+ / 0-)

            I guess I'm old school but my mom and grandma trained me to pack a lunch/dinner/snack.

            Way cheaper.

            •  This works some times. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              llywrch

              The last few years I was messing with retail, floor plans were getting to the point where all merchandise was on the shelves and build outs had no back rooms or stock rooms for the store. All available space was sales floor. If an employee was on break they couldn't be on the floor, and there is no where on the premises for them to go. No fridge to put a packed lunch in either, though you can get lucky if you know how to pack a nutritious lunch that doesn't need refrigeration and can find a place to stash it at work since there aren't any lockers or break rooms.

              Things are getting pretty draconian. Not all stores are like this, but there was a push in several of the strip mall chains to do those sorts of things with zero consideration for the minimum wage or slightly better than minimum wage staffers. If you didn't drive, you had nowhere to store or eat your packed lunch.

      •  Buy a house making $30K? (0+ / 0-)

        Not in our area. Not even close.

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