Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanks a Lot, John Metz

Back in the early 80’s, I left a violent marriage and was on my own with a six year old and two part time jobs. I responded to this change in my circumstances by becoming depressed, although how deeply depressed I only recognized when I finally began to feel better. There were days that I actually got through in ten minute increments. I’d tell myself I’d get up, take a shower and then decide whether to get dressed. I’d tell myself to get dressed and then decide whether I was going to go to work. Then I’d tell myself just get in the car and head for work and then decide whether to stay or tell them I was sick and go back home.

As you might imagine, this was not a good way to live.

My very smart son reacted to the break-up of his family and a depressed mom by having trouble in school. When his troubles were compounded by the death of one of his best friends, he began leaving the classroom and sitting outside “to think about Bear”.

During this depressed and gloomy time, I used to take the two of us to the nearby Denny’s for dinner from time to time. They had (maybe still have) an extremely inexpensive children’s menu, but even better, they had some of the kindest waitresses I have ever known.

Apparently these women could recognize a troubled soul. When I came in and my son immediately began wandering around with the excuse he was going to the restroom, I would hear, “Oh, he’s all right; now what can I get you to drink?” Whenever I needed mothering, I’d dig up stray pennies from under the couch cushions and head there.

One afternoon, I had a parent teacher’s conference before lunchtime. I took one look at my son’s report card and burst into tears. He was so obviously struggling, and I felt like it was all my fault.

After the conference, I went to Denny’s. I ordered a sandwich, I forget what kind, but whatever it was, they were out. I burst into tears again.

“Let me get you something else, no charge,” the waitress said. I tried to explain that I wasn’t crying over the food, but she refused to take payment for my lunch.

My life eventually improved. I got help for myself and my son, I met my husband, my son graduated from high school with honors and from college and has a good paying job he enjoys. When I have to think back on that dark, dark time, the waitresses at Denny’s are one of the few bright spots.

And now John Metz had to go spoil all that. John Metz is the owner of several Denny’s franchises who planned to add a five percent “Obamacare” surcharge onto his customers’ tabs, and suggested that maybe the customers could deduct that amount from his employees’ tips. 

"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. 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," Metz told The Huffington Post. "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."
This did not go well for him. Unfortunately, it also did not go well for other Denny’s owners, even the ones who had no intentions of mistreating their employees or customers. Metz is a one man wrecking ball.
He even managed to wreck some of my cherished memories. Thanks a bunch.

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