Friday, August 7, 2009

Firings can be funny

In my life, I have fired over 120 people. This is a result of having a couple of different management jobs, including a stint as an HR Manager of a company with 145 employees, and also managing a restaurant that opened with 129 waiters. Even though it isn't an enviable position to be in, having the skill set of terminating someone legally is a valuable one in a business environment. The first one was by far the toughest, but I want to talk about one that was in the middle- and funny.

In 2000, I was working as the General Manager of a Chick-fil-a restaurant in Corinth, TX. One of the interesting things about working fast food is that you literally have to depend on the work ethic and attitude of kids ranging from 14 to 18 that work the front of the restaurant for you. This, as you can imagine, sometimes is problematic. One such case was Jerry. Jerry was a typical teenager- tall, gangly, with a zit-ridden face and greasy hair. When he first came to work for us, he had a great attitude- he smiled a lot, was pleasant to talk to, and interacted in a very respectful manner with the customers. Over the course of a couple months, the light sort of went out of Jerry's eyes. He became moody, started showing up late for work, and his uniform was a mess. On one particular day, he was really being nasty to his co-workers and some customers. In the middle of the lunch rush, I pulled him over to a table at the back of a restaurant for a "chat". He was just being a little punk. During our come-to-Jesus talk, I sent him home for the day, and let him know that it would be advantageous for him to have a better attitude the next day.
When the next day came, Jerry's attitude was even worse. It was time for "Hatchet-Man Harsha" to make a cut. I took him back to the same table, to get it done. "Are you going to send me home again?" he asked. "Yes" I replied, "But this time you can stay there. Jerry, you no longer work here." He stood up, kicked a chair, and yelled "This is Bullshit!". I calmly just looked at him, and said "Please turn in your uniform sometime this week", and walked into the back of the restaurant to fill out the requisite paperwork. A few minutes later, I noticed some commotion on the cameras, in the front where people order their food. I walked out, and some big Texan dude was absolutely cracking up. "What's going on?" I asked. "Umm...there's his uniform" the guy said, pointing to a pile of clothes on the ground. A review of the tapes showed Jerry stripping down to his tighty-whities and storming out of the store wearing only his underwear, shoes and socks....all of this in front of a crowd of 18 or 20 people.
I smiled, laughed a little, and said "Well, at least he turned his uniform in!"

A few other random Friday facts about yours truly:

I have no problem eating Foie Gras or Veal.

I once shot two rabbits with one shot- It's true, ask Frank Brown, he saw it happen.

I have a collection of antique fishing equipment at home

If I could choose another profession I would want to be a stand-up comedian, or a country music singer

My favorite song of all time is "Tryin' to Reason With The Hurricane Season" by Jimmy Buffet, followed by "Blue Eyes" by Gram Parsons.

Today's wine suggestion is in honor of the 97 degree weekend that we have coming our way. As you are sitting poolside, or letting your grill warm up, grab a cool, refreshing glass of Torrontes. This is a very widely planted grape from Argentina, and goes perfectly on a hot day. The best ones out there are made by Crios or Santa Julia. Expect it to have a floral, honey-dew taste, and to smell like Fruit Loops cereal.

Cheers, and let's go Sox...dropping one to the Yanks is enough.


  1. Still bragging about the ole 2 rabbits in one shot eh.

    Weekend starts in 5 hours - only big decision is which bottle of wine to drink first

    Great Blog by the way - actually has some good info


  2. So, I guess losing 4 in a row to the Yanks is cause for a hanging ;-)