Taco Bell Fires 64 Year Old Grandmother Who Once Took A Bullet In A Robbery

Winnie Shilson has worked for Taco Bell for 30 years. She has been robbed at gun point twice, and 9 years ago she took a bullet in the leg when a robber started shooting the Taco Bell’s safe. Winnie was fired recently, after two negative performance reviews. She’s convinced that Taco Bell wanted to rid themselves of her $45,000 a year salary.

“I bawled for three days after I got fired,” she says. “I was the most loyal, dedicated employee they could have. In 30 years, I never called in sick or was late to work. Not once! And I was good at my job. Damn good.”

Shilson started at the Zantigo on W. 7th Street in St. Paul in 1977 (Taco Bell later bought Zantigo). Her pay was $2.85 an hour, not enough to make her husband, a truck driver (now retired), think that it was worth the inconvenience of having his wife, and mother of their four kids, take a job.

“He wouldn’t even look at my paycheck the first two years,” she says. “Then one day, I said, ‘We need a new clothes washer’ and he said, ‘We can’t afford one.’ That’s when I said, ‘Well, I can!’ That changed his mind.”

Shilson rose rapidly, working 60-hour weeks and becoming general manager at the W. 7th Street store and, later, at the Richfield Taco Bell. She was robbed at gunpoint twice, including the time she was shot while opening the W. 7th restaurant one morning in 1998.

Winnie is currently looking for a job because she needs health insurance, and says she would have accepted a demotion to keep her job. Does the Curiously Australian President of Taco Bell, Greg Creed know about this?

Nick Coleman: After 30 years, Taco Bell didn’t even offer her any hot sauce [StarTribune]
(Photo:thicket23)

Comments

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  1. foghat81 says:

    $45K a year and free enchoritos?! Sign me up!

    Hopefully she lands on her feet. Unfortunate.

  2. AlisonAshleigh says:

    I was really excited to see someone from taco bell making 45k a year, until i realized she’d been there for 30 years and had been promoted multiple times.
    I’ve been at my job less than 6 months, and make that.
    :-( Stupid cheap fast food places.

  3. Amelie says:

    The saddest thing, is that I’m not surprised. I hope she’s able to get justice.

  4. homerjay says:

    I hope she publicies the shit out of this but I’d be curious what those two negative reviews are about….

  5. Zanorfes says:

    Even yet another reason to not go there.

  6. kiloman says:

    What justice? Sure, she showed up on time and never took a sick day, but we don’t know that she was actually helpful or productive during her hours at work. If she received two negative reviews, the company must have a record of why they fired her. Most jobs provide feedback at reviews so employees know where they must improve. They also space out the reviews to provide employees time to correct problems.

  7. XTC46 says:

    Who gives a crap. I don’t see you guys putting up articles for the 17 year olds who get canned for poor performance.

    Chances are this lady is doing her job the exact same way she has for the last 30 years, and since then some policies have changed and she probably refuses to change with them. (I see this with some of the “old timers” I work with.)

    And depending on where she is, no reason is even needed to fire her. (Thats how my state is). Fast food is profitable because the food is cheap to make, they charge a significant amount, and they use expendable labor. Id fire her too if I could get someone to do the same job for 30k a year.

  8. ShortBus says:

    It is unfortunate when a good person loses a job through no fault of their own, but we don’t know the whole story. Odds are that the decision makers did take into account the fact she was an extremely dependable person for 30 years.

    Since she was the store manager, what if she repeatedly had health code violations? I think everyone here would be singing a different tune. We just don’t have all the information.

  9. brianala says:

    I’m not a completely heartless bastard, so I do feel for the woman but I have to wonder if there’s anything more she can say about her performance other than the fact she’d worked there 30 years and never called in sick. As a General Manager she at least needs to prove that she has a modicum of business acumen and that the stores under her control were performing consistently.

    Nothing in this write up talks about her competence in her position. I usually find that people who resort to “But I’m loyal and have never called in sick” don’t have any actual skills to back up their performance.

    I started out working the counter in retail at 17, and two years later I was running the store. If it took this lady 30 years to get to general manager (especially considering the amount of turnover in that industry) I think it might just say something about her abilities.

  10. bohemian says:

    Two performance dings in 30 years? That still sounds like a pretty good track record. It makes one wonder if they were for something like “does not exude a cheerful smile promptly enough” or “hands out too many taco sauce packets at the drive through”.

    They can probably get some recent high school graduate to do the job for $29,000. I see seniority and higher wages as the more probable cause for her being fired.

  11. popeye_doyle says:

    We actually don’t want to see old people working at fast food restaurants. Many people probably complained. I know I would. There is more dignity in panhandling. Spending our final years in a fast food restaurant with the mop and the bucket is a thought no one wants to deal with.

  12. UpsetPanda says:

    @brianala: Agreed. I’ve encountered plenty of people who showed up on time, but just didn’t give a crap after that. It’s like they physically clock in but never mentally arrive. And I’ve worked with people who are late, but when they get here, they’re here 100%. A really good worker needs both – responsibility and good work ethic, but those who have one and not the other tend to get the short stick because of the major flaw.

  13. Panamapeter says:

    They probably can get someone cheaper… and younger. That is why we have age discrimination laws.

  14. ogman says:

    @xtc46: Congrats! That is the single most asinine post I have ever seen on this site. I sincerely hope many, many very bad things happen to you in the near future.

  15. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    @popeye_doyle: You complain about old people working at fast food places? You must have a conniption when you go to wally world.

  16. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    @ogman: +1

  17. UpsetPanda says:

    Unfortunately, old people (I guess I should stop calling them old people then…) are easily ignored. A lot of them, if not for Wal-Mart or fast food places, or other “menial” jobs, wouldn’t be able to make a living, either because they are old and can’t take on labor, or because they aren’t as adept at handling new technology, or just don’t have the education. They get shuffled around and swept aside. It’s kind of sad this woman lost her job, but unfortunately, she might just be another casualty of time moving forward to pave the way for the next generation. It’s just the way it is sometimes.

  18. matukonyc says:

    Companies often use reviews against employees they just want to be rid of, creating a negative paper trail that will “justify” letting an employee go.

    No doubt her high salary and age made her a target. They wouldn’t mind if a 64 year-old were willing to make minimum wage, but they don’t want to pay for experience.

    She should definitely sue for age discrimination; most likely they’d settle.

  19. sonichghog says:

    @CaffeinatedSquint: She would not of lasted for 30 years if that was the case. This is Taco Bell, She was not a State of Federal employee.

  20. Amelie says:

    “Negative performance reviews” can be real, or trumped up, so as to fire someone. As I’m familiar with the reporter (Coleman) who wrote the article, I’m sure this woman is being jacked around by Taco Bell. He wouldn’t be writing the story if she was the “inept old woman” that many of our resident experts have determined.

  21. brianala says:

    From the article, it states that she balked at working closing hours. Anyone who’s ever worked retail management knows how important it is to be there for closing shifts on your busiest days. You can’t just give yourself the shifts during the slowest hours and expect to know what’s going on in your store, with your employees, or with your customers. That’s just the nature of retail. If she wasn’t willing to put in the time during the busiest hours she can’t have been a very effective manager.

  22. petralove10 says:

    Two bad reviews in 30 years? Yep, age discrimination. They want to get someone cheaper.

  23. ogman says:

    @CaffeinatedSquint: I take no offense to your comment at all, but since I study aging and ageism, let me dispel a few common myths:

    “because they are old and can’t take on labor”: There are very few “labor” jobs left, for young or old.

    “because they aren’t as adept at handling new technology”: Many studies have shown that older Americans are just fine with new technology. In fact, there are huge numbers of seniors using tech every day, much to the dismay of the young people who run into them at the computer repair shop and on Facebook.

    “just don’t have the education”: Not even close to being true. Older people have been going back to school and learning new skills in record numbers for years now.

    In fact, cost cutting is the number one reason for this type of firing, followed very closely by ageism. The EEOC is seeing more and more filings every year and companies are being sued for ageism.

  24. liquisoft says:

    I’m sure there is another side to the story, here.

  25. phanie says:

    @brianala: She got SHOT! and she continued to work there. She should get to choose her own shifts. Plus, in every retail job I’ve ever had, choosing shifts is a longevity perk.

  26. Saboth says:

    @xtc46:

    It’s called company loyalty. Not many companies give it to their employees, but they sure as hell expect you to sign your soul over to them on this one way street.

  27. yahonza says:

    I am a lawyer. I used to do a lot of discrimination cases, for plaintiffs, defendants and insurance companies (who frequently pay for the defense and settlement of employment claims).

    She doesn’t have much of a case from a legal point of view.

    Unless she had an employment contract, she can be fired for any reason (or no reason at all) EXCEPT if the reason is discrimination on the basis of being in a protected class (age race, sex)

    She might have something if she can show that Taco Bell in her area favors younger managers, but showing that kind of preference is notoriously difficult.

    Taco Bell, on the other hand, has a great defense.

    From the article:

    “Also at issue was Shilson’s reluctance to vary her schedule in order to close the restaurant a couple of times a month. The Edina Taco Bell stays open until 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, and Shilson says she was told before taking the job that she wouldn’t have to close the place. But this summer, she was ordered to change her shifts. She declined.”

    Declined to change shifts? That will very seriously undermine any age discrimination claim.

  28. Sudonum says:

    @brianala:
    The fact was that she made GM, not how long it took. She must have been doing something right in those 30 years to get promoted. Yes the 2 negative reviews are a question mark. However having worked in management and done employee reviews, I’m sure as hell not stupid enough to give an employee I think is over paid a good review. I’d be curious to know if the goals they gave her during the review are achievable and if any one else in her position has similar or more stringent goals.

  29. SOhp101 says:

    @ShortBus: No, odds are they didn’t want to pay her so much when they can hire someone a lot younger who they can pay less and someone who is not likely to use the health insurance so much. Sounds cruel but that’s how these companies work.

  30. Snarkysnake says:

    Lots of moving parts here…Lets take a look.

    Okay,I agree with the posters that say that they hope this woman gets some justice.Looks like she’s being let go for the unpardonable sin of being born in 1943. Sucks loud.

    On the other hand… If she’s the crackerjack employee of the month type that she says she is…There are business owners gettin wood thinking about hiring her.In my business,I meet LOTS of small business owners. They all tell me (because I ask) that their number one problem ,far and away, is finding good,honest dependable workers that don’t shoot up,toke down or steal the profits. (Almost none ask for employees to take a bullet)Most of these owners provide at least rudimentary health insurance because they need some for themselves and their families.

    Now. Taco Bell is doing what big companies do.It’s screwing this woman because its (supposedly) good for the bottom line.I agree with the poster that said to sue.I’d love to be her attorney and I would kill to be on that jury.(30 years and she just started screwing up ? This is going to cost you plenty,Mr. Taco Bell)

    One more thing.She gets Medicare (I am told) in a year,so she could probably get along with a high deductible health policy until then and probably be okay financially.It won’t be any picnic,but her options are limited.Taco Bell can’t take that or Social Security away from her . All that said, I’m going to a real Mexican restaurant this evening instead of Taco bell to punish the sorry sack of bastards that did this (really,I am).Hope you do too.

  31. Szin says:

    I’ve never liked Taco Bell. I feel for her though, as company loyalty was definitely not present her.

    And I really don’t mean to be harsh here…but working at Taco Bell for 30 years? Damn.

  32. ogman says:

    @yahonza: You have a point, in that refusing to do the job would undermine her case. However, the fact that Taco Bell suddenly ordered her to do something she had not had to do before and that they had told her she would not have to do cause Taco Bell a bit of a problem. I think she has grounds for a lawsuit, with the right lawyer.

  33. jadenton says:

    This woman was a general manager, not an easily replaced cog like the front cashiers or the backroom dish washers. Even fast food places require a little bit more to make general manager. And once you’ve worked your way into that position, it is not unreasonable to expect that if you are dismissed those doing the firing should point to a concrete reason for the decision. After all, they had a good reason to promote you and trust you with the store in the first place.

    This looks like a pretty clear cut case of age/wage discrimination. Chat with a lawyer, and see if you have a case.

  34. BigNutty says:

    I bet Taco Bell didn’t expect this type of negative publicity would leak out. This is exactly what makes the Internet so wonderful. Spreading news at super fast speed. This is consumer news and popular at that. Look at all the comments about topics like this.

    The Consumerist should make a note to follow up on this and see what happens down the road.

  35. forever_knight says:

    she should sue. she will win. taco bell will then have to pay her much much more plus attorneys fees.

    taco bell should have picked a better battle/old person to fire. they are screwed.

  36. mac-phisto says:

    i think a few folks stumbled on this site on their way to corporatist.com.

    i don’t think taco bell realizes how lucky they were to have someone like winnie. most workers would’ve milked that first robbery for a disability/workers’ comp lawsuit for mental distress. two robberies, a bullet & no lawsuit? that pretty much warrants a lifetime position within the company.

  37. jeffjohnvol says:

    @ogman:

    What do you mean, because they changed things? I suppose she shouldn’t have to manage new products as well? She’s an employee, not an owner for crisakes.

    @BIGNUTTY: I don’t see this as negative publicity. In terms of her winning a case, I don’t give her a chance in hell. If she does, its a SAD day and explains why this country is going to he11. Too many people feel empowered to anything.

    TBC is a smart company. You better believe they checked everything before making this move.

  38. Geekybiker says:

    Trumped up negative reviews to justify letting a person go. Seen it before. Its all about having a paper trail to make suits more difficult. She was too expensive, or too old and they wanted to replace her.

  39. ElizabethD says:

    Happened to my hubby in his late 50s — the bad review as run-up to a pink slip. Funny how all his previous reviews for 15 years had been highest ratings. Then they switched tactics and just decided to “reorganize” the office and forget about tying his departure to a review. Funny how everyone (four people) let go was over 55. Yet a lawyer told us we had little chance of winning an age discrimination suit.

    The AARP site has some good info on age discrimination and employment, for anyone who wants/needs it.

  40. dualityshift says:

    @jeffjohnvol: You just beat xtc46’s record of “most assinine.”

    There is no doubt, from your ramblings, that you are affiliated with, if not fully employed by Taco Bell. i sure hope it’s employment, otherwise, you’re just a sad fanboy.

    To say that it would be a SAD day if this lady wins a lawsuit is disgusting. Your mom should be slapped for raising such an awful person.

  41. jeffjohnvol says:

    @Geekybiker: Yeah, you must know all and see all, huh. Without getting both sides of the story, how could you possibly know. I don’t know who to blame unless I could see all the information. could be that she had problems managing the employees, or can’t do her share of the shifts. Anybody who makes a complete judgement based on one article that is written to get someones attention (sensationalism) rather than an unbiased presentation of facts, lacks a little common sense in my opinion.

  42. jeffjohnvol says:

    @dualityshift: Okay, we’ll see. If she files suit and wins, I’m the idiot. If she can’t win, then (even more) obviously, you are.

    Not employed by TB. Self employed, and I understand how business works.

  43. yahonza says:

    @ElizabethD:

    Discrimination claims of all kinds are notoriously difficult to prove. In Federal Court, something like 90% of cases are knocked out without a trial.

  44. kingdom2000 says:

    Ug I so chose the wrong career. Got a college degree and everything and she made more money then me.

    Sucks this happened. I am betting she is right, she was fired to save a few thousand on the budget so the regional manager could probably get his end of year bonus. Wonder if she could sue for age discrimination.

  45. mac-phisto says:

    @jeffjohnvol: i can tell you from my experience in retail that reviews are for the sole purpose of generating a paper trail that can be used as a defense for cases like these. no matter how perfect an employee was (always on time, excellent with customers, excellent sales numbers), i literally had reviews sent back from corporate if they didn’t have at least 3 areas that “needed improvement” & some correlation with former areas needing improvement. i believe that exact words of my boss were: what the hell good are these? do them again.

  46. harryhoody says:

    Shouldn’t she be retiring after 30 years? Doesn’t Taco Bell ever let their employees stop working?

  47. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    Didn’t Circuit City do the same thing with all their higher-paid employees a few months ago?

    And yes, at-will employment sucks for the employees, another thing St. Reagan helped to bring about.

  48. Falconfire says:

    why isnt she suing. Its quite clearly age discrimination. After that many years to have 2 poor reviews on her? Give me a break it reeks of lets make her look bad so we can fire here, throw someone in for much cheaper, and have a paper trail if she complains.

  49. rjhiggins says:

    Those who are questioning her competence: Did you read the story, and this paragraph in particular?

    “The Edina Taco Bell…is one of the highest-volume Taco Bells in the area, with sales of almost $1.5 million a year. Shilson was brought in to run it three years ago, after she had earned two top Taco Bell employee recognition awards.”

    So in three years she went from being promoted to manage one of their highest-volume restaurants to such a level of incompetence she deserved to be fired? If you believe that — rather than that they wanted to get rid of an older, highly paid (by their standards) worker — you’re obviously willing to swallow anything Big Business feeds you.

  50. mac-phisto says:

    @rjhiggins:

    If you believe that — rather than that they wanted to get rid of an older, highly paid (by their standards) worker — you’re obviously willing to swallow anything Big Business feeds you [which is exactly why you’re willing to eat at taco bell in the first place].

  51. jeffjohnvol says:

    @mac-phisto:
    Agreed. I’m not saying that TB is necessarily in good faith on this. I’m just saying that it would be nice to see the whole picture (reviews), but TB can’t release those because it would violate the lady’s privacy.

    I know a friend who had a fellow employee who’s snoring was too distracting for the other employees. She would literally sleep about 90 minutes a day at her desk, but they couldn’t fire her until they documented the case. What made it even more difficult was that she was a minority. Then she sued and got 50K in a settlement to just make it go away.

    There are abuses for management as well as employees who feel entitled beyond what most would consider normal.

  52. XTC46 says:

    @ogman: Why part of my comment? the part where i said people get stuck in their ways? Tell me you have never met someone who thinks the way they did something is better then the way we do things now. Hell even if it is MUCH MUCH MUCH better, it doesn’t make it the correct way to do it if policy states otherwise. If they decide to do things there way, which most people who have been ina job for any significant amount of time do, and management doesn’t like it, then they get tossed.

    Or the part about not needed a reason to fire someone? look up at-will employment. no reason needs to even be given, ever. Same goes for quitting, you don’t need to give notice, ever.

  53. alhypo says:

    Damn, I wish I had eaten at Taco Hell anytime in the last ten years so that I could stop eating there now and actually have it mean something.

    Actually, I’m not convinced that she didn’t deserve to be fired. There really isn’t any good evidence either way. If she didn’t, I imagine she’ll find a similar job given her experience.

  54. Chese says:

    This woman would have a good chance in a lawsuit if she can prove it was age discrimination.

  55. mconfoy says:

    @jeffjohnvol: Most large companies will settle rather than pay court costs, more negative publicity. Trust me.

  56. mconfoy says:

    @xtc46: I would fire someone for making stupid comments on the consumerist web site myself. By the way, where do you work at?

  57. mconfoy says:

    @jeffjohnvol: You seem to have pretty strong feelings for there isn’t enough information either way. White devil speak with forked tongue.

  58. mconfoy says:

    @doctor_cos: Not sure if there is a law suit or not. I do know that Circuit City is saving a buck just to further drive their business out of business. Taco smell is probably not saving anything. Look how much money they saved when they tried to get cheap and server Roo instead of beef in their hamburgers. That underhanded move saved them nothing in the long run.

  59. synergy says:

    Ooo bad p.r. for Taco Hell. One more reason (besides their non-food) not to buy (I won’t say “eat”) there.

    As a side note: $45,000?! That’s more than I make with a Bachelor’s degree! I need to go work at Taco Hell.

  60. StevieD says:

    One side of the story is being posted. I sure would like to see her job performance reviews.

    One more than one occassion I have written performance reviews that rated somebody with excellent or superior ratings and fired the person within 24 hours of the review. Why? Just because somebody has superior scores in 9 of 10 catagories and rates an overall superior score, the person’s score in the 10th catagory is cause for immediate termination.

    Is that extreme? Think of a review score this way…. On time? Cash Drawers balance? Floors swept? Proper food prep time? Hand Washing?

    If I was a food service manager, I might let the floors swept and food prep time pass with less than desirable grades. But I will fire your ass if you don’t wash your hands.

    I strongly suspect that she has been warned about some serious actions and failed to comply with the company directives.

  61. sonichghog says:

    @doctor_cos: I thouht it was a State law, not federal.

  62. Consumer-X says:

    Wait, Taco Bell, isn’t that the Mexican phone company?

  63. swalve says:

    @doctor_cos: What’s your suggestion? We have to keep paying people even though we don’t need them any more? If I don’t want someone working for me, they get fired. To suggest that employers shouldn’t have the freedom employees do is crazy.

  64. swalve says:

    @synergy: You sound like a real winner. $45,000 is not a lot of money for 30 years on the job, probably working 50 hours a week.

  65. mac-phisto says:

    @swalve: hmm…interesting. i think you bring up a great point, so when do the executives hand in their lucrative contract scheme?

    i mean, if winnie can just be let go on the whim of an executive, why should they get a contract buyout when they tank a company?

  66. jeffjohnvol says:

    Jeez, is this “consumerist” or “communist”?

  67. ogman says:

    @jeffjohnvol: I think you misread my post. I certainly didn’t say that she should not have to manage “new products.”

  68. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    @swalve: I have no problem with firing people for cause which is what at-will employment laws eliminate.
    You want to just be able to fire people because they looked at you funny, or you don’t feel like paying them anymore (or they complained about Chinese Overtime?).
    @sonichghog: It is a state law in many states, but the first state with at-will employment happened under Gov. St. Reagan.

  69. lotides says:

    You people love to blame the victim. I have no idea how some of you sleep at night.

  70. DallasDMD says:

    @lotides: We can’t establish she is a victim here. We simply don’t have enough information to substantiate that.

  71. StevieD says:

    @lotides:

    Wrongful termination does happen. I will never claim that it doesn’t.

    However, as an employer, I am very aware of several facts:

    1) Hiring employees and training said employees is costly to a business. I personally would rather keep a slightly marginal employee, one that I know I can rely upon for performing specific tasks, than firing said employee and going through the risk and hassles of training other employees whom may not be as reliable as prior employees for the tasks I require.

    2) Employees don’t grow on trees. As much as I would like to replace every employee, I know I can’t as employees are not always readily available.

    3) When I do finally get fed up and kick an employee to the curb, I usually have a damn good reason. Failure to wash one’s hands in a food service business would be such cause. So would failure to balance cash receipts would be another. I my be a pissy, whining, demanding sonofabytch, but I also allow a lot of crap to pass before I finally pull the trigger on your job. When you get a pink slip from me, you KNOW that you have really firetrucked up.

    4). Ex-employees lie.

    Oh yea, and one more thing. Ex-employees lie.

  72. StevieD says:

    By the way, Taco Bell did not fire the lady, the “company that owns Minnesota’s Taco Bell restaurants emptied the other barrel”.

    In other words she was fired by the franchise owner.

    Hey Consumerist Editors, how about being fair and appropriate in the heading to this story.

  73. Shmonkmonk says:

    I don’t know the whole story but if the store was making $1.5 mill a year, she probably wasn’t overly paid. I know salaries vary widely depending on the area but a store manager making $45 grand a year for running a 1.5 mill store isn’t bad but it isn’t great. I’ve never known anyone who worked for TB but I have friends who have ran 1.5 mill stores (in other companies) and they were making $50+ grand a year (granted, this area has a high cost of living).
    Just like everyone else here, I don’t know the whole story but has anyone considered that she just couldn’t relate to her staff? I mean, her staff probably consisted of mostly teenagers and those in early to mid twenties. I manage a store geared towards teenagers and my staff (including my ASMs) are 16-21 year olds, I’m nearing 30. I’m great at my job but I’m not naive to think that I can be as good when I’m 45 let alone 60+. It’s hard to be a good manager when you can’t relate to your staff (and they can’t relate to you). Its hard to get respect from your staff when they wonder why you, at 60, are only a store managers when the other store managers in the area (not to mention the district manager) is half your age. As a manager, if you can’t get your staff to respect you, I don’t care how often you’ve been shot, you suck at your job.
    She should work at somewhere like JC Penneys. Their department managers average $50-60 thousand a year and the average age of their staff is like 45.

  74. kc-guy says:

    @Consumer-X: Yeah, the guy that runs that thing Has more money than Bill Gates.

    @kingdom2000:
    @synergy:

    What college/degree should I be sure NOT to pursue? :D

  75. ShariC says:

    I hope all the people who say that firing long-term, higher-paid employees and replacing them with lower-paid, younger employees is just what businesses do will consider that they will be older again someday (and sooner than they think).

    There are a lot of long-term social problems from such policies. One is that the poor service you get is a reflection of hiring people for low wages who are inexperienced. The ones like the woman in the article who are devoted to the company and have experience getting fired to save you a few cents on your burrito are the sorts that improve overall quality of service because they care about keeping their jobs because their salaries make it worthwhile. What’s more, such firings create burdens on the tax payers when they have to use social services for health care (expensive, emergency room care) or even end up collecting social security sooner than they otherwise might.

    Consider whether paying a dime more for your fast food is worth keeping people employed, paying taxes, and off the Medicare/Medicaid/welfare benefits list is worth it.

    Do you want to live in a society that treats employees this way and write it off as just the way things are or do you want to protest it? No one is as far away from being in her shoes as they think.

  76. Kezzerxir says:

    Aww crap, I just bought Taco Bell early today. Sorry.

  77. TechnoDestructo says:

    @StevieD: But pressure on Taco Bell will force them to smack the franchisee around.

    If you live anywhere these assholes operate:
    [www.borderfoods.com]

    Email them and tell them you’re not eating their food until this woman is re-hired.

    I’m in the southwest…but the local Taco Bell owner’s husband is a monumental prick, so I’d feel comfortable giving them a miss myself.

  78. daniinpa says:

    To all those saying we don’t have enough information, maybe you don’t, but I do. Read the article. She worked there for 30 years, during which time she received numerous accolades, several awards, and one bullet. She works 50+ hours a week, she’s never late and she doesn’t take her sick days, so this is not some “frail old lady”. Within the last 3 years, she was promoted to running the most lucrative branch and by all accounts did so successfully (i.e. it kept raking in the bucks). Just a few months ago, her spring review rated her “Superior”.

    Now, she’s been fired. Those are more than enough facts, connect the dots. This is atrocious. There is no “other side” that could justify what they’ve done. It’s probably her salary and benefits that caused the firing. The worst part? No severance package.

    Companies have a perfect right to phase out costly employees, although I think it’s stupid in cases where the employee is this exceptional. But they can fire anyone they want. Fine, that’s just ordinary corporate stupidity. But the right way to do this is to show some appreciation for her decades of service, including recent accomplishments, and ease her out. Or maybe Corporate could have offered her a position, who knows. But to just up and fire her one day? That’s just wrong.

  79. sciencefreak says:

    @daniinpa:

    seems like you have fallen sucker to ‘the consumerists’ sucky “reporting” as of late.

    The fact of the matter is you are drawing conclusions based on a one sided argument, Like a Judge making a sentencing without hearing the defense.

    This one sided “reporting” that the consumerist has been doing lately (that being reporting one side of the story as undeniable truth) it horrible and takes away a lot of credibilty from this site. It’s quickly turning into a common internet tabloid.

    Sure, its likely that taco bell fired her because she was making to much money. But it is EQUALLY as likely they fired her because she was a horrible to work with any everyone hated her. Argue it all you want but without both sides of the story it is unfair to draw any sort of conclusion

  80. Amelie says:

    @sciencefreak:Dannipa actually read the story in the Star Tribune instead of assuming it was a biased sob story made up by the Consumerist. It’s “EQUALLY as likely they fired her because she was a horrible to work with any everyone hated her.” because this is a scenario you’ve created based on not reading the original article?

  81. mac-phisto says:

    @sciencefreak: a little tip for you…life is full of one-sided stories. that’s why humans were endowed with the gift of logical deduction. it’s also why sites like consumerist exist. it’s not the equalist or the jurist – it’s the consumerist. it’s name alone implies one-sidedness.

    if you don’t like the reporting, why are you here? here’s some site suggestions a little more to your taste.

  82. mac-phisto says:

    @mac-phisto: see that? you try to get all clever & god spits in your eye.

  83. jeffjohnvol says:

    @ShariC:
    Do you have any idea what it costs to train a manager? They must have serious cause. 45K is not a lot for a GM. If you serve coffee at starbucks, yeah, its a lot of money, but for a GM of a restaurant its average, especially in a huge metro area like that.

  84. swalve says:

    @daniinpa: Why would they promote her if they were just going to fire her?

    Something else happened that she doesn’t want in the news story.

    @mac-phisto: You’re kind of a dick, aren’t you?

  85. Cowboys_fan says:

    Its unfortunate but c’est la Vie! I’ve been fired for lesser reasons, I’m sure we all at least know someone who has.

  86. Dilbitz says:

    Isn’t she up for retirement anyway? Just sue Taco Bell’s ass for age discrimination and collect your Social Security.

  87. Amelie says:

    @mconfoy:
    Since jeffjohnvol has been at this site, he’s commented on 4 of the 5 threads on Taco Bell. (He’s commented on less than 25 threads total.) He seems to be very familiar with their coupon policies, the cleanliness of their stores in his area and finer points of Mexican cuisine. But I’m sure he’s simply a fan of theirs as opposed to a shill.

  88. erratapage says:

    The company also operates KFC’s and pizza huts in the twin cities area. I think I’ll avoid all three. While I do not think that anyone has a lifetime right to employment, the company should have paid her severance if it really couldn’t see a way to redeem her performance.

    While I understand that fast food requires some flexibility with schedules, if there was no problem with the closing shift, she should be able to choose not to work it–especially if that was her only work constraint.

    A company should treat its employees as good (or better) than its customers.

  89. Avery says:

    I am never eating at Taco Bell again.

  90. jeffjohnvol says:

    @zouxou:
    Yes, I am a fan. My kids (except for one) enjoys it well. I also worked for a TB franchise during the Reagan administration when I was in high school. It was a good experience in terms of me developing a decent work ethic and appreciation for finer things.

  91. BeFrugalNotCheap says:

    People people! Calm down. Let’s not forget that the woman took a friggin’ BULLET for the company, K? Furthermore, we seem to be forgetting this is the same woman who has seemed to have devoted the last 30 years of her life to the same company. And even though we don’t have “all the details” it still doesnt justify letting her go with nothing to show for it. What a lame ass company. TB can sit there mumbling about how she “failed two performance reviews” Heart burn castle or not….a company should go above and beyond to take care of such a dedicated employee. For a guy who LOATHES ridiculous lawsuits by former employees (don’t EVEN get me started on that McDonalds case involving the employee being strip searched in the back office) I say Taco Hell should get the BOOK thrown at them. I’m with Avery. Screw Taco Bell.

  92. DallasDMD says:

    @daniinpa: No its not. We don’t know Taco Bell’s side of the story. I am not going to take a side until I know the full details. The details you mention do not support the claim that she was fired unfairly nor do they exempt her from punishment for future changes in her behavior.

  93. DallasDMD says:

    @BeFrugalNotCheap: Nothing to show for it? Please. Thats the the performance reviews are for. Unless we can find out what the PR’s are about, we can’t blindly take sides. Its really stupid to be for or against either side since the details simply do not tell us enough to say whether or not she was fairly terminated.

  94. jeffjohnvol says:

    @DallasDMD: Perfectly put. Good luck convincing the other 90% that end up on juries while the rest of us work.

  95. My husband worked at Taco Bell as a side job for several years, on and off. One time, he was robbed at knife point. When he told me that story long after we met, I begged him to quit his (extra) job there. No job is worth taking a bullet for, and it’s sad that some of the lowest paid employees are in jobs that are potentially very dangerous (unarmed security guards, fast food employees in shady neighborhoods, convenience store workers, and night auditors). I think working from home for extra income, like doing eBay, is much safer. I say good riddance to bad rubbish, Winnie, and I pray that you work where you are safe, highly paid, and appreciated as the hard worker you are.

  96. sciencefreak says:

    @mac-phisto:

    I read this site because people like you crack me up. You have unrealistic expectations for the world and expect to be treated like a king because you gave some corporations some of your money.

    I post my response because consumerist used to do a little of investigation on there stores before they posted them (such as the geek squad stealing video…which…we still don’t have proof that it is real…it could be a hoax) lately, they just post shitty tabliods blindly bashing companies that for the most part have good people working for them, and people belive to be a evil empire.

    here is a hint, if you don’t like a company stop buying from them, no one fucking forces you to buy a consumable product.

    It fucking makes me SICK that people think it is in there right to own a TV, Car, Air plane flight…if you want to get anything hassle free…fucking make it yourself you lazy bastards

  97. Amelie says:

    sciencefreak says:
    “seems like you have fallen sucker to ‘the consumerists’ sucky “reporting” as of late. This one sided “reporting” that the consumerist has been doing lately (that being reporting one side of the story as undeniable truth) it horrible and takes away a lot of credibilty from this site.

    You’re awfully familiar with a site that you just joined on November 3rd? Or was your previous account terminated?

  98. TheUpMyAssPlayers says:

    @zouxou: Yeah science seems like a small biz owner terrified of ending on the consumerist in a bad way.

    As for this lady. I want to know if she saved any money. If I was making any salary, dependably, for 30 years, I’d have so much money saved I’d be able to tell Toxic Hell to suck it and have a nice day.

    Save your money people!! If she had then she could afford platinum insurance before she went on medicaid.

  99. mac-phisto says:

    they tell me time & time again…do not feed the trolls, do not feed the trolls. WHEN WILL I EVER LEARN?!??1!?

  100. jeffjohnvol says:

    @zouxou: Its possible that he has been reading for sometime and only registered because he wanted to respond to some really stupid comments.

  101. asherchang2 says:

    I’m sure with her resume and the publicity over this event, she can get another job. Although it is kinda sad that she got let go after the kinda loyalty she had for them. I could never stand 30 years of working for a fast-food company, no matter what the position.

  102. themanishere says:

    I hope their monkey dies…in a vat of fire….sauce.

  103. imjserra says:

    christ, $45.000 a year, that’s 30.000 €… people here in Spain, with jobs of more complexity, don’t even recieve a 12.000 € income.

  104. Mary says:

    @matukonyc: “Companies often use reviews against employees they just want to be rid of, creating a negative paper trail that will “justify” letting an employee go.”

    I know that one first hand. I flat out refused to do someone else’s job once, and said that I was sorry but the problems being blamed on me were CLEARLY not my fault.

    I was rushed through performance review and cut loose because if they had waited one more month, they couldn’t have fired me if they tried since it was a state job. I had done my job to the letter, but not on paper. Even according to the interview when I applied for unemployment I was not fired for “performance issues” but because I wasn’t a “good fit” for the position. But the negative reviews and write-ups was the only way to get rid of me.

    As for the person who said she balked at working closing hours and that’s reason enough to fire her, I completely disagree. I worked retail for six years, and the fact is that with seniority comes the right to choose your hours. Our general manager had the exact schedule he wanted, and that made perfect sense. You serve your time in the trenches so you can choose your hours when you get promoted. If she didn’t want to work closing, after 30 years she’s perfectly entitled to say she doesn’t want to close the store.

    Depending on the store and the way the tasks stack up, opening can be just as stressful, and it’s early morning which most people hate. We always had a harder time finding people for opening shifts.

    As the manager, who only requirement when it comes to hours is that if nobody else could cover a shift she would have to step up herself or find somebody to. But she shouldn’t have to regularly work a schedule she didn’t want, she’d worked hard 30 years to make sure she didn’t have to.

  105. jeffjohnvol says:

    @meiran: Hahahaha, you are so funny. seniority rights? What do you think this is, a union or government job? Get real. The only rights you have are defined by the EEO rules posted at the jobsite. Unless you have a contract that says what your duties are, they can ask you to do any part of the business, not just “your job”. What a joke. Seriously, don’t apply government job requirements to this. This has to do with real business, not government jobs reserved for the special entitled people.

  106. Mary says:

    Oh, I didn’t say that she was required to have seniority or anything like that. She probably has no legal recourse whatsoever, to be honest.

    I’m saying if she worked there 30 years and didn’t want to work nights anymore, random people on the internet have no right to say she’s at fault and a bad worker. Almost every menial retail job I’ve ever been at has done this, not government jobs. The store manager chose their schedule, everyone else had to live with it.

    As for “This has to do with real business, not government jobs reserved for the special entitled people.” Are you bitter that you’ve never had a government job, or bitter that you did?

  107. jeffjohnvol says:

    @meiran: Those policies for “seniority” (unless union) are defined by company policy and is at the whim of the company. If her regional manager says she had to work nights a few nights a month and refused, I could see that as grounds for term.

    I’m not bitter about either, and I don’t want to start a discussion about government workers which have both good and bad people in it. I shouldn’t have brought it up in the first place.

  108. marmota says:

    Shame on taco bell.

    - “Yo no quiero Taco bell”

  109. frogman31680 says:

    I’d like to answer the response that someone wrote about the “17 year olds that get canned”

    I’ve worked many places and I hate to say it but many of the people this age that get hired either don’t show up for work, have poor customer service skills, or just don’t give a damn.

    Now there are exceptions to this rule. But they are few and far between. And, no I am not 40 or something. I’m actually not that far above 17.

  110. CyGuy says:

    @TechnoDestructo:

    That link says they also operate some chains in IOWA, maybe one or more of the Democratic Presidential candidates can get their staff to boycott the chain over the next three weeks leading up to the primary. The big three Dems have something like 1000 staff and volunteers each on the ground in Iowa right now, that’s a lot of fast food customers (each probably getting all their meals at fastfood places) to be losing the business of.

  111. peter2 says:

    This is becoming very typical of Taco Bell. I am aware of a similar situation. The store was robbed at closing and the shift manager was fired. The manager had absolutely nothing to do with the robbery. The thing about this is that you have no-one to make a formal compliant with.I will advise all employees of Taco Bell to only work there until you can find something better. Then leave them high and dry. So I hurt for this loyal worker.

  112. Anonymous says:

    it’s kind of funny to read all of the things that people say about my grandmother whether they know her or not. but the truth of the matter is that indeed, she did work her butt off for taco bell, and they were hiring illegal people to work for them, and they did tell them to go change their identities when they found out they were illegal. and there is no reason to fire someone because a store failed an audit. it happens all of the time to taco bell. they transferred her to 3 different stores after the west 7th store, to FIX THEM UP. does that make sense? it should. numerous requests were made to people to fix certain things in the store that were not operating properly. she wasnt responsible for those things. but its all good because matters have been taken to the courts. so before some of you open your big mouths. let the courts decide. thank you:]