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Restaurant’s entire staff quits en masse, leaves note on door; management disputes claims

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The great pandemic of the 21st century — at least, the initial installment thereof — is teaching Americans some valuable lessons, though it remains to be seen whether the nation will apply these lessons going forward.

The greatest lesson of all may be that power in the hands of government authorities, once usurped, is rarely surrendered on a voluntary basis. Another key lesson is that when you subsidize the act of not working, you get more of it. Not surprisingly, folks being paid to stay home tend to grow fond of the arrangement, as business owners desperately searching for workers can attest.

Those who are working end up carrying more weight than they have been accustomed to and that appears to be the motivation behind a restaurant staff that walked out en masse, quitting their jobs.

Employees at Barberitos, in Macon, Ga., resigned in protest over working conditions — though the business disputes the claim — leaving a note behind explaining their case, WGXA reported.

“Store is closed. Whole staff as quit do to under pay an lack of appreciation. We have worked 7 days a week for the past month and barely any time off. We are so sorry and love you all! old Barbs family, out,” read the notice.

By the time the dual Fox/ABC-affiliated television station got a reporter to the establishment, the sign above was taken down and replaced with a new sign listing new, temporary hours — Monday to Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Open for lunch only, the restaurant said they “hope to resume normal business hours as soon as next week and look forward to welcoming all our guests back with a farm-fresh, high-quality meal that is made in-house daily.”

There was also a sign saying the restaurant is now hiring and urged people to apply.

As for the claim that the staff had been working seven days, a spokesperson for the restaurant said that was “simply not true.”  The spokesperson also said a local restaurateur hired away six members of their staff.

“Due to COVID, the labor shortage has impacted many — if not all — small businesses across the country,” spokesman Rob Kremer said. “Unfortunately, a local restaurateur uniformly hired away six of our employees at the same time.”

“While we are saddened whenever an employee leaves the Barberitos family, we understand that the marketplace has changed and thank them for their service,” he added.

Help wanted signs are commonplace across America, and nowhere is this felt more than in the food and beverage industry. Citing the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, The Hill reported that employment at food services and drinking places was down around 42,000 workers in August.

As for the claim of working seven days a week, that’s not entirely uncommon in the restaurant industry and many other fields.

“People who [cry] about working a lot of days with no day off should not be crying at all because it helps you pay the bills,” one social media user wrote. “I work 7 days a week and I hardly ever don’t get no days off.”

On the other hand, another suggested: “The old model of employment in the food service industry was flawed, and the pandemic finished it off. Ban tipping, and pay a living wage.”

Tom Tillison

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