Community Outraged At Buca di Beppo Restaurant Manager's Firing?

Reports that community of Chandler, AZ is outraged at the firing of Buca Di Beppo manager Joe Busone have been popping up in our inbox. The Arizona Republic says that when he was let go, seven servers also walked out — in the middle of dinner.

Busone, 53, had been the manager at Buca Di Beppo at Ray and Priest roads for eight years, and he had built a reputation as someone generous to community groups and loved by his staff.

Greg Geryak, who owns an insurance agency in Ahwatukee, had organized an annual dinner for the Ahwatukee Kiwanis Club at the restaurant. Forty people showed up for the 6 o’clock reservation.

Shortly after, Geryak said, “Joe saw me, gave me a hug and walked out the door. Five minutes later, I heard he was fired. Then . . . the three guys that were going to take care of my party walked out.”

The group received their dinner, at a reduced rate, but Geryak said it wasn’t up to Buca standards. The salad was soggy, drinks were slow in arriving and Geryak had to get up to refill water glasses himself. Desserts were so slow that a number of the group had left by the time they arrived.

Geryak was so incensed at Busone’s firing that he wrote an e-mail to Planet Hollywood, which recently bought the Buca chain.

The paper also interviewed some of the employees who quit when their manager was fired. They compared him to a father, and said “He always took a special interest in everyone. It was not really working for a boss, it was working with him.”

We received an email from a 13-year-old boy who says that with his parents permission, he wrote to Planet Hollywood and asked that Joe be rehired and whoever fired him be fired instead.

The Republic says that the manager refuses to say why he was fired, Planet Hollywood will not return their phone calls, and the comments on the article are full of various conspiracy theories. It’s all very mysterious.

Workers walk out after Buca di Beppo manager fired [Arizona Republic]

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  1. FatLynn says:

    Well, they really can’t say why he was fired. So while it sounds mysterious, it is probably not legal to air whatever his dirty laundry may be.

    • Rhayader says:

      @FatLynn: Yeah, you’re probably right. To me, it seems to carry all the earmarks of a firing due to a failed drug test.

      A hard-working, well-liked employee suddenly fired, with a lack of information regarding the circumstances. The dude probably smokes a little grass on his nights off, and was subjected to unconstitutional (but, somehow, legal) search. I feel for him.

      • HIV 2 Elway says:

        @Rhayader: If restaurants randomly drug tested their employees they would have no work force. Service employees are only tested when they are hired and if they get hurt on the job.

        • Rhayader says:

          @HIV 2 Elway Resurrected: True. At the same time, almost any employment contract allows the employer to drug test at any time based on “cause”. I’ve been with a couple companies that ostensibly only do pre-employment and accident testing, but still hold that trump clause allowing them to do whatever the hell they want. Drug testing sucks.

          Of course we don’t know that’s what happened here, it just reminds me of other stories I have heard about terminations resulting from a positive drug test.

        • lunarcore says:

          @HIV 2 Elway Resurrected: I have worked at numerous resturants were Only managers got drug tested. I have know of 2 that got fired. Hard to keep secrets in these places.

    • RedwoodFlyer says:

      @Rhayader: I’ve never done drugs..so don’t think that I have some vested interest…but this just proves my point that making certain drugs illegal does more harm than good….

      I agree that in certain cases, drug testing is a good idea – I’m glad we randomly test our pilots and have already had to give one the boot, unfortunately, since there is so much at stake…. But in this case, what’s the worst that could have happened?

      In other news, since I’m now boycotting Buca, I’ll miss the giant rotating Pope’s head and the table in the kitchen.

    • Valhawk says:

      @FatLynn: I’m pretty sure that in most states they have no choice in the matter. They cannot say why he was fired. In Maryland the only thing employers can say is dates of employment even when being called as a refrence.

      If they revealed why he was let go he could potentially sue, so no way will they reveal anything.

  2. somewhat lord of PRNG attacks says:

    When the manager of a restaurant is let go (especially one that seemingly took interest in the employees and such), probably for cost or other seemingly pointless grounds by the new owners in the middle of a shift, I can’t say I find any problem with the staff walking out. The owners showed no loyalty to the staff, so why not just give them the finger and go and let them try to run a restaurant?

    • Canino says:

      @abartlett: On the other hand, when the manager of a restaurant is let go in the middle of a shift, there were probably very good grounds for the firing.

      Just walking out of your job because your boss got fired is kind of stupid if you have no idea he was fired, because it makes it look like you are complicit or that you know the reason. Well, if the reason was that he was doing something illegal you’ve just implicated yourself in the minds of the company.

      • chargernj says:

        @Canino: I disagree. If the employer reserves the right to fire me at any time and without notice. I also reserve the right to quit on them at anytime without prior notice. It’s called “at will” employment, which means that either side can terminate at any time for any reason.

        Implicated? They could implicate all they want, if they do it enough they may even have grounds for a lawsuit against the company. Why is it that standing up for a principle means you must be doing something wrong?

    • BrianDaBrain says:

      @abartlett: That happened once at the Burger King I used to work at. It was a small town BK, so the crew was really close, and we had a truly phenomenal GM. Most of the town knew her and respected her. They’d come to BK over places like McDonalds (even though they were cheaper), just because they liked her and the store she ran.

      She was fired, because she was at the top of her pay scale and the franchisee decided they wanted to put somebody with a lower salary in her place. This happened in the middle of a lunch rush. I was assistant manager at the time, so I was in the office when they gave her the news. She left, I followed, and most of the rest of the crew followed behind us. Neither she nor I ever told them why she had been fired, but everybody knew that if she was fired, it wasn’t under fair circumstances. I think that’s what happened with this manager too.

      It ended happily, though, because the franchise folks tried to run the store themselves, failed miserably, couldn’t hire new employees (it was a small town and nobody would apply there), so they hired her back, and the crew all came back too.

      • Ein2015 says:

        @BrianDaBrain: Great story!

        @Canino: It’s not “kind of stupid”. It shows dedication to people. On top of that, if you explained the situation to a new employer, you’re VERY likely to get hired anyway… fine dining experience, dedication, caring about people… those are all very good qualities for a waiter/waitress.

      • ninjatoddler says:

        @BrianDaBrain: BK isn’t alone in firing managers for payroll reasons. McD’s has been doing that for years.

  3. logicalnoise says:

    wow never eating at bucca di beppo’s again. Not nessarily because of this but because planet hollywood now owns them. I’ve only ate at a planet hollywood once and it was just about the most overpriced and ho-hum dining experience of my life.

  4. yagisencho says:

    Nice to see the display of solidarity. I expect that another restaurant in the area is about to get a boost.

  5. Chris H says:

    What’s mysterious is why people consider bucca di peppo a good restaurant. It is all about quantity over quality. The place is gross.

    • The_IT_Crone says:

      @Chris H: Agreed. The food looks/tastes like it came out of a Chef Boyardee can.

      • MadameX says:

        @The_IT_Crone: Agreed. Our family went to Bucco di Beppo a few years back to see what all the fuss was about (this location in Chandler, in fact). Although we did have great service, the food was less than spectacular. There are far too many good family-owned Italian restaurants in town to spend our dine-out dollars at a place like this.

        That said, to each their own–maybe people enjoy it for the family-style dining experience.

    • Chongo says:

      @Chris H: Listen, I’ve eaten alot of Chicken Marsalla in my days and I know that Buca’s is not traditional or anything, but its candy like sauce is similar to heroin.

    • Canino says:

      @Chris H: +1
      I went once when one opened close by. That was 6 years ago. It’s 4 miles away, and I haven’t been back.

    • Indecent says:

      @Chris H:

      The Buca here in Columbus, OH has amazing food, and I’m not even someone who likes Italian food in general.

    • murderofcrows says:

      @Chris H: There are some locations that turn out a decent meal and some that are terrible. The one on 2nd St in Santa Monica? Great. The one in Miami Lakes, FL? Terrible. Really depends on where you are.

  6. Everyone has their own preferences on food.

    I gotta respect those servers who walked out though. Takes some serious balls, and commitment to walk out on a job (any job) in these times when another person gets fired.

  7. Colage says:

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure the manager was a quality dude. But does the Arizona Republic really have nothing else to write about?

    • Roclawzi says:

      @Colage: They made space 3 years ago by issuing a permanent weather report to all there readers. Now they have space for other stories, and when readers want to know what the weather will be like, they just look at the free sticker (to be placed on the window) that says “If window dry, weather will be sunny and hot. If window wet, you have moved.”

    • HIV 2 Elway says:

      @Colage: Do you read newspapers? Papers are filled with local crap like this. Ever read a food sections or a restaurant review. Reporting on a popular manager losing his job and the subsequent fallout is not surprising. People like to know what’s going on in their community.

    • mike047 says:

      @Colage:

      QFT! Next item, please.

    • lauy says:

      @Colage:

      It was in the Community section of the AZ Republic; each major city or region of the state has one. This was in the East Valley section I recall.

  8. xip says:

    Without knowing why he was fired, we can’t really make an informed opinion about this. Maybe this is total bullshit. Or maybe he deserved it. The only thing that I know for sure is that I’m not going to worry about some guy getting fired at a restaurant on the other side of the country from me.

    • Rhayader says:

      @xip: Just a friendly observation here. Isn’t taking the time to click through and comment about one’s lack of interest a bit self-defeating?

    • sassbrown74 says:

      @xip: I agree. We have no idea why he was fired. Generally, I wouldn’t expect somebody to be just “laid off” in the middle of a busy dinner shift.

  9. econobiker says:

    Aren’t the corporate stooges supposed to wait until the shift is over before firing someone???

  10. chrisjames says:

    Let’s put some perspective on this. Forget that he was supposedly Second Jesus. Forget that, for all we know, he got fired for grinding up roadkill to season the porchetta. Think this instead:

    The dismissal might have chased away for good some loyal customers as well.

    “People do business with people they like and trust…”

    The badge of trust doesn’t extend through the trademark, Planet Hollywood goons. You better have had good reason to fire him, and you better let people know it, or you won’t get your $28 million worth.

    • TracyHamandEggs says:

      @chrisjames: They can’t. Privacy laws prevent them from sharing why he was fired. ESPECIALLY if it was wrongdoing on his part. He would sue their asses off.

  11. lol_wut says:

    You don’t have to wait for the start (or end) of a shift just to let someone go. At the office hear it’s known that if you get called into a conference room late on a Thursday, odds are you won’t be coming back.

    Thursdays – who knew?

    It says a lot about a manager when the staff has so much loyalty for them that they [the staff] would walk out on a shift and share the same fate. Given the situation with the economy, I wish them all the best of luck in finding new jobs. Hopefully the servers were college students that were working for some spending money and could afford to walk out.

    • FCL says:

      @Sam_Wille: I don’t know. I used to work at a lock shop, and a lot of places still wait ’til about 3PM on a Friday to fire folks. We used to get a lot of calls demanding that under NO circumstances should we show up before “X” time, because they wanted So-and-So to be gone before we showed up to change the lock on their office and ruined the surprise.

  12. johnfrombrooklyn says:

    Every restaurant where I ever worked, the only reason people got fired was because they were skimming the till.

    • crashfrog says:

      @johnfrombrooklyn: Which is a little suspicious, no? Don’t you think you would have known someone who was fired because they were persistently late, or because they wouldn’t work certain shifts, or something?

      I worked at a Quizno’s, and one day I came in to find that the assistant manager I’d worked under for nearly a year – who gave every indication of enjoying his job, enjoying the responsibility, and he seemed to have a good relationship with the owner and with the workers – had been fired the previous night.

      The rumor was he’d been skimming the till, but nobody believed it; on the other hand, he was gay, and the owner was a fundamentalist Christian.

      I can never know for sure, of course, but it’s at least as likely that the owner waited until the register was short just once and then took the opportunity to get a gay man off his workforce as it was that this guy had secretly been skimming the till.

      Registers come up short sometimes, especially when multiple employees are handling change and purchases. That doesn’t always mean someone was skimming, but a lot of employers will use that as a pretext to get rid of employees they have a personal problem with.

      • junkmail says:

        @crashfrog: Seems like quite an assumption to make just for the sole purpose of taking a shot at Christians. I’m just sayin’…

        • @junkmail: I didn’t think it was a shot against Christians, but rather a shot against the petty kind who would fire you for being gay. Every religion has its assholes.

          • junkmail says:

            @West Coast Secessionist: My point was that you didn’t indicate whether or not you had any evidence that the owner fired the AM because he was gay. You assumed because the guy was Christian, that must have been the reason.

            That being said, I completely agree that religion aside, (or lack thereof), some people are simply assholes.

            • crashfrog says:

              @junkmail: There’s no evidence that he was fired for robbing the till, either.

              But he was fired. And he was gay. And the owner was Christian. I never heard that the till had been short before, or ever. There’s at least as much evidence for the one as for the other. I didn’t come to a conclusion at the time, I still haven’t and I probably never will be able to, but they’re both likely possibilities; and when someone remarks how common it is for people to be fired for “stealing from the till”, but never prosecuted for doing it, I wonder how often that excuse is being used to cover over some kind of personal problem for which it would be illegal to fire someone.

              I mean if you don’t think your employer would ever violate labor law, you’ve never had a job, period.

              • cac67 says:

                @crashfrog: You don’t know what evidence they had. You also don’t know why he was fired. You heard a rumor, it didn’t fit your prejudices, so you made up your own reason.

                • crashfrog says:

                  @cac67: I didn’t make anything up. There was a rumor he was fired because he was gay, too. I hadn’t even known he was gay until I heard the rumor.

                  There were two competing rumors. I don’t have a problem saying that they were both equally likely, given the evidence.

                  The only one being prejudiced here is you, with your adamant insistence that a man you’ve never even met must have been a thief, because he was gay.

  13. theblackdog says:

    Finding out that Planet Hollywood now owns Buca di Beppo just completely destroyed the image I had of that place.

    I should ring up a friend of mine who is a bartender at the one in DC and see if he has seen any changes since they were bought out.

  14. Robobot says:

    Like everyone else said, it would be nice to know why he was fired. He may have deserved it, who knows.

    Something similar to this happened at my last job and it came down to money. The firings were a power play by someone else with equal influence in the company, plain and simple. She thought she could do things better and cheaper. She failed miserably at both and alienated the loyal customers in the process.

    This could be a completely different scenario, but right now the restaurant business is even tougher than usual. He may have been spending too much keeping customers happy or choosing quality over low food costs. Seems pretty likely.

  15. dakotad555 says:

    Sometimes the most likable, friendly people are also the worst organized. I had a boss like that. He would bend over backwards to make people feel comfortable and treated everyone with respect. But he lost money everyday by wasting time and being disorganized. I’m not sayin’ this guy is like that, but usually there are always two sides to every story. Bottom line: his employer cannot release the reason he was let go or he would have grounds to sue them. So conspire all you like, but expecting loyalty from the McDonalds of Italian food (especially now that it’s owned by Planet Hollywood) is far-fetched.

    I hope he lands a better job at a nicer restaurant.

  16. axiomatic says:

    Bah! Bucco’s is known to capitulate to any kind of pressure from any direction. The restaurants had originally used Michelangelo’s “David” as kind of the corporate mascot. However in Houston TX the downtown Bucco’s was right next to a major televangelist church “Lakewood Church” and many church goers would go to Bucco’s after church service and were offended by the anatomically correct “David” and forced the restaurant to cover all the penis’ with little fig leafs.

    Dear religious loonies: Art is not porn. That is all.

    • Shadowman615 says:

      @axiomatic: That’s especially strange since the statue of David is technically religious art itself! They must not have been the brightest bunch of religious loonies, I take it.

      • domesticdork says:

        @Shadowman615:

        I guess they were too embarrassed by all the nude paintings to take an art history course? I’m what you might consider a “religious loony” myself…but even I understand and appreciate good nude art pieces. After all…nothing like honoring “the ultimate of God’s creations” as the human body was thought of back then.

    • Rhayader says:

      @axiomatic: Hah, yeah don’t you hate that? Those same people who are incredibly ashamed of the natural human body probably also support the war in Iraq. Not trying to get political, just saying, people can really have screwed up priorities in the face of dogma.

    • MyPetFly says:

      @axiomatic:

      The problem the church-goers had with the statue is where the Alfredo sauce was coming from…

    • HIV 2 Elway says:

      @axiomatic: Ever heard “the customer is always right?” The restaurant could have kept the statue and lost customers. The dollar wins in that situation.

      • OletheaEurystheus says:

        @HIV 2 Elway Resurrected: yep the customer is always right even when they are wrong. My wife learned that one the hard way more than once when her manager bent over backwards to give people who where scamming their restaurant what they wanted while punishing the staff who was following policy.

        My wife was physically assaulted by a customer and upper management wanted HER fired for telling them they missed their call after showing up a full hour after they gave “final call” on their seats. They got free food, free desert, and a written apology from Brinker corp. for throwing a beeper at my wifes face.

      • Nick1693 says:

        @HIV 2 Elway Resurrected: “Ever heard “the customer is always right?””

        Ever heard of “The Customer is Not Always Right?”

        Check it out some time: [www.notalwaysright.com]

    • Difdi says:

      @axiomatic: Kinda reminds me of the way so-called Christians won’t allow their children to read (or watch then movies based on) the Chronicles of Narnia or The Lord of the Rings because they’re paganism. Ignorance seems to be a hallmark of fundamentalism, of any stripe.

      • Valhawk says:

        @Difdi: Really? The Chronicles of Narnia are essentially the Christian Lord of the Rings, I mean come on Aslan is the most gigantic and obvious Christ reference ever. I mean, come on Focus on the Family released a version of them.

        Which parents are you talking about, clearly their not so much fundamentalist as illiterate and stupid.

  17. Roclawzi says:

    We can’t really know the circumstances behind the firing unless they make it known, but until they caught him in his office with a pocketful of stolen money, an armful of heroin needles, and a handful of underage prostitute, they probably should have thought twice. Quality managers are rare in any field, and in restaurants it’s even harder because they tend to have more turnover in staff and longer hours and more fires to put out.

  18. warf0x0r says:

    Well the same thing happened at Circut City and look how good it turned out for them…

  19. bohemian says:

    I am more sad that Planet Hollywood bought Buca. Buca, at least the ones I have been to had better than average food for a chain restaurant. I have a feeling Planet Hollywood will run Buca into the ground.

  20. coan_net says:

    Does it say anywhere why he was fired?

    If not, then it is hard to comment on this story.

    I mean maybe he was stealing from the register – or spitting on people’s food.

    Then again, maybe he looked at his supervisor wrong.

    Without more information, there is no way to form an opinion about this story.

    • Rhayader says:

      @coan_net: Wow, none of the other commenters had made that point.

    • Crymson_77 says:

      @coan_net: Sure there is. Planet Hollywood is notorious for being filled with dirtbags that think the dollar is more important than human life. Frankly, I hope this guy goes on to work for a very expensive steak restaurant and makes lots of money. He should move to Dallas, we have a bunch of those.

  21. Stitchopoulis says:

    I had a similar experience. I was the manager of the beverage department at an import store. We had just gotten a new store general manager and soon after some of my sales reps had heard I was leaving. I hadn’t heard this, but I was soon being dinged for nonexistent problems, or for not doing my main job because the GM kept assigning me to other tasks, my hours were being changed wildly from day to day (and not in keeping with company policy regarding minimum time off between full-time shifts).

    Finally I was called in for an official writeup over something or other. The new store general manager was there and leading the charge, the assistant GM looked extremely uncomfortable and he was giving me sympathetic looks. A few days later, I happened to see the schedule for the next week as it was being put together. In my position was some new person’s name. I walked out right then and there. The next day, so did the assistant manager.

    I later on heard that this job had been promised to this new guy from the moment the new manager arrived, presumably she just needed to get rid of me. Apparently she didn’t last long, either.

    So I say “right on” for the guys who walked out in solidarity.

  22. corbyz says:

    I’ve eaten at this restaurant (at this location) before with a friend. We met there to do some math homework and have dinner. Another guy in our class was a waiter there and took our work to the copier in the restaurant office to make a xerox of it. The food was good… love the eggplant parmigiana. It will feed you for a week.

  23. JN2 says:

    I heard he refused to change the Muzak to what the customers were really asking to hear:

  24. Ephemera says:

    This happend in Chandler, Also known as Snobsdale south. He more then likely pissed off some fatcat and they then put the screws on them to fire him.

    • misslisa says:

      @Ephemera: U talking bout the same Chandler AZ I live in? Some parts are okay (like where I live, LOL) but it’s mostly a white-trash-with-money kinda place.

  25. wtrwlkr says:

    Wait, Planet Hollywood still exists, much less brought out another restaurant chain?

  26. MsAnthropy says:

    My main thoughts on this story are:

    “Shit! Planet Bastard Hollywood owns Buca di Beppo?”

    Ugh. I quite liked Buca (for a chain, that is), as well. But I loathe Planet Hollywood, so that knowledge has turned me right off the place.

  27. bitplayer says:

    Not making accusations but the restaurant business is rife with theft and it’s usually the best managers who seem to have the stickiest fingers.

  28. MissKissLock says:

    I find this story heartwarming. Seems like they haven’t updated their site, though- sorry, IDK how to hyperlink here…
    [www.bucadibeppo.com]

  29. I think it’s pretty obvious. New management comes in, fires the people who have been at Buca for a while and are making the most.

    It’s deregulated free market capitalism! That’s what makes this country great! What are you all complaining about?

    • junkmail says:

      @CaliforniaCajun: Yup, and now there’s consequences for their actions. Look at all the negative press that will directly result in lost revenue. Sounds about right to me. It’s what the Free Market is all about!

  30. pojken says:

    [www.bucadibeppo.com]

    Ha! His name is still listed on there. Okay, not that funny, but still.

  31. dieman says:

    buca around here in the twin cities seems good, the mgr and staff at the maple grove location actually seemed pretty happy.

  32. Valhawk says:

    To bad we will never find out why he was fired due to the fact that the restaurant is legally banned from saying why because the ex-manager could sue them if they do.

  33. misslisa says:

    I saw this article about the manager’s firing in today’s Republic. Interestingly, in that same shopping center there is another Italian restaurant (Tomaso’s), yet another across the street (Carraba’s), and one under half a mile away (Macaroni Grill). I always wondered why on earth that Buca location stayed in business with so much competition nearby. (I’ve never liked Buca but that’s just me). I will be curious to see if the only thing bringing folks to this Buca location was the manager & crew, & if the place flops & closes now.

  34. PølάrβǽЯ says:

    Reminds me of an episode from season 5 of Dawson’s Creek. When you take over another company, make friends with the existing staff, not enemies, or it WILL come back to haunt you.

  35. BeeBoo says:

    When I worked in a restaurant no one ever got fired but when people quit it was always by walking out in the middle of their shift. tradition. When I had to quit to go back to school everybody told me not to give notice because they would just fire me but I gave notice and they didn’t fire me and I worked out my notice. So I was the first person in several years who hadn’t just walked in the middle of a shift.

    This may be the way things work at most restaurants.

  36. UlanFapack says:

    My friend and I went to Buca the other day and we didn’t like the food as much as we had on previous visits. Makes sense why now with Planet Hollywood owning the chain.

  37. thelushie says:

    As someone who studies workplace issues, etc. you don’t go in and fire everyone especially if it is a good group that works well together. You might bring in a few people who will help with the transition but staff and management stay the same. Yeah, I know I live in lala land, but I know what changing hands can do and how to deal with it. Too bad no one else does.

  38. howie_in_az says:

    I’ve visited the Chandler place a few times. Once I had to talk to who I think was this guy that got fired. He went above and beyond what we were expecting by comping my friend’s meal, comping our appetizer, and then giving us free desserts… all because of a hair in my friend’s food.

  39. cwlodarczyk says:

    I am a former manager for Buca.

    I knew of Joe while I was working for the company but didn’t know him directly. Without knowing more of the circumstances it would be difficult to comment on what happened to him.

    What I CAN say is that while Buca had very good retention rates for hourly workers, there was a revolving door for management.

    I was fired from the company myself. I don’t deny there was some good reason behind it, but the way that it was done and the frequency with which it happened to other managers that I knew was shocking.

    I wasn’t aware of the Planet Hollywood buyout, but I’m not surprised as they were flailing when I was there.

    On a last note, I’m sorry for those who didn’t like the food. Many of the restaurants really did things right and took pride in what was sent to the tables – I for one was really proud of the product we had and I was dismayed when I started hearing reports of the quality going downhill.

    To any Buca-employeed readers here: Good luck!

  40. GreatWhiteNorth says:

    Hey Consumerist…

    This leads into a great topic for discussion… What was your best and worst getting fired/right sized/down sized/staffing level adjustment experience? How does it look when it is done well, and done poorly?

    My contribution is… Best experience… When I was working for a very major white goods manufacturer (fridges, stoves, etc) in the mid 90′s downsizing was happening. In fact if you couldn’t see the writing on the wall it meant you were likely carrying a white cane with a red tip!

    It was late Thursday morning and I had planned to work on the computers in the executive office area as they were all out at a golf tournament. But, luck would have it I was on an emergency fix in the IT area when I heard my phone ring… I caught it just before it fell into voicemail and the new head of HR was on the line.

    She had been the number two in HR until a few weeks previously when she had been tasked with canning her boss (cruel corporate process). Anyway she asked me to come down to her office as she needed me. I asked “should I bring my coat?” in a sort of smart ass way… It was followed by a pregnant pause, she said “No”.

    Well I knew it was my turn as the last full time IT guy left in the place. The dozen or so others having been canned over the previous year with half of them hired back as contractors.

    I walked down to her office, sat down, smiled… and she couldn’t look me in the face. She held up a piece of paper and asked me to look it over… then it hit.

    Fight or Flight response… do I go berzerk or run away… adrenaline soaked into every cell of my body. I quickly gained control and said to myself “read the paper stupid, look at the numbers!” So I did, and the numbers were OK, not exceptional, but ok.

    So I told her the numbers look ok and she finally looked up at me. Wow, she was not having a good day. Did the paper work and met with the “so you have been canned” consultant and then went to my desk…

    This is where things got really weird. The Co-op student I had been training had been hired as a consultant to do my job. He had just deleted all my accounts as instructed by HR. Accounts that ran a number of important processes on our servers. He had just effectively killed several important processes and the folks who relied on them.

    I then spent the next two hours with him showing him how to create appropriate accounts and assigning them to the jobs that needed to be run. I can’t believe they let me stay to do this. I guess they realized they had just screwed themselves. Most folks would have walked away laughing at this point, but I am not that sort of person.

    I got home before my wife and when she came through the door her first words were “what are you doing home?” followed quickly by “are the numbers good?” This really had been expected.

    I had a letter on the CFO’s desk the next day letting him know I was available for consulting work and my rates. I was a little pissed he hadn’t had the balls to be the one to can me though. Especially since I directly reported to him, but he had been off golfing.

    Fun part of this story is that after a short holiday and some freelance work, I was back as a consultant charging them 4 times as much as they had been paying me before. But now not giving a crap when I got sucked into those meaningless meetings that produced nothing more than a bloated hourly billings.

    Shortly thereafter I joined another company with much better prospects… until it was bought out and things went weird…

  41. Raving Rabbid says:

    For the record, I am the person who wrote that letter.

    I have not received a response yet from either BUCA, Inc. or Planet Hollywood.

    I will send what I get – if I get anything.