Double think that fast food

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By Hugh Rennie

A five-dollar pizza, is it really worth it? Are your intestines going to thank you over the next 24 hours? When you really think about it, you know the answer. Of course, you are going to regret the decision; yet, you just might go ahead with it anyway. Maybe you’re poor, maybe you simply like the convenience. So you go ahead, because you are hungry and too lazy to open a can of mix beans and butter some bread, with a side of pre-washed lettuce, and your choice of tomatoes, cheese, mayonnaise, cucumber, and carrots. Maybe you pre-think the idea and decide to first fry up some organic minced beef with diced onions and garlic, but it’s not too big a deal if you don’t. Just don’t forget to add a little salt, or some soya sauce for some added flavour. And there you have it – a main meal, made in about five minutes (and for less than $5), containing a plethora of essential vitamins and nutrients. And hey, you didn’t even have to employ some slave labour for it, either (good on ya matey).

That’s what you’re doing when you buy that five-dollar pizza.

Recently I went in for a job interview at Dominos – just, don’t do it guys. As a delivery driver the tasks included: delivery, which is GPS tracked (wow, so much trust in employees, um… why even bother people? Do you want to buy food from people who don’t trust the people that work for them? Furthermore, the driver will be rated online for their performance. Let me ask you, would you be happy delivering pizza after mopping the floors, cleaning the dishes, working and making the dough, and collecting orders over the phone? I joked with the manager, “It seems the only thing the delivery driver doesn’t do is make the pizza.” Not really a joke, just plain truth.

So, the delivery driver shows up with your five-dollar pizza. I hope you enjoy it.

Why, pray tell, if your going to buy take out, should you only buy from restaurants that treat their employees with respect and trust? Well, it’s good karma. Duh! You are supporting businesses that you would work for. That’s part of the reason why Apple inc. is so successful. Generally speaking, you don’t have to twist the arm of the employees for them to respond positively about their experiences working there. And that’s why there’s such backlash over any mention of their production facilities in China abusing their workers — everywhere, all over the world, companies are doing this! But a part of the apple experience is feeling confident that every inch of the product is built by people genuinely respected in their role, fulfilling a productive and efficient part of the whole.

So, karmic vibrations. Do you know why business such as these exist? Dollars and cents. Sure, they speak about the customer. But the customer is not always right. In fact, the one with the money is often the most detached from the basics of reality. Money is an abstraction, a distortion. We can speak of a litany of things money corrupts, the soul being the most prominent negative one. And sure, you say, “they have a choice to work there”. But if they really had a choice, why would anyone actually do something like that?

So please, double think that five-dollar pizza.

This isn’t to say it is not possible to make a worker-friendly five-dollar pizza, but frankly, it isn’t possible via a chain restaurant. A small family street vendor or well-maintained van, or small shop front, with very fast workers who share directly in the profits. But not a chain restaurant, not a franchise.

Support the workers, support yourself.

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