BOYCOTT PEPSI, PIZZA HUT, TACO BELL, KFC
(The following is my opinion and beliefs based on personal knowledge and information found in the course of events, research and results to date. I encourage others to read and decide for themselves. The information presented applies to: customers, employees, investors and top management. )
For the record, I'd first like to clarify some things. The purpose for this is because I've been accused and chastised for many things over the past few weeks which are untrue. I find it interesting that many choose to jump to conclusions or make assumptions when confronted with information they don't wish to hear. To attack the messenger, so to speak, and ignore the message. Therefore, just for clarity sake:
- Pizza is one of my favorite foods, right along with Mexican food. I have been an avid customer of Pizza Hut and Taco Bell for decades. I love their food and dearly wish I could trust them again to eat at their establishments. But with what I have learned over the past few months, that trust is now gone and until major changes are made within the structure of the companies involved, at least for some of my local outlets, I personally choose not to remain a customer.
- I am not an employee with a competitor. I have never worked for Wendy's, McDonald's, Papa Johns, Dominoes, or any others. I have no affiliation with any of them and never have had. I have, however, been an employee of Pizza Hut in the mid-70's for nearly four years. I am quite familiar with job duties in all aspects of the dining room, kitchen, working with customers, serving. I was also employed in 1999 by Pizza Hut to train for shift manager when I chose to return to Pizza Hut and work my way up to the highest level of management available within my area. Unfortunately, that return was short-lived for reasons explained below.
- I do not have a personal vendetta or negative agenda against these companies. In fact, if you read this thoroughly, you'll see I have suggestions that will resolve long term problems and benefit all, including patrons, employees, investors and higher management.
- I was not fired and I have not quit. Technically, according to the law, I am still an employee.
- It has been insinuated that since I am female and from California, that makes me a "dumb blonde." For those who wish to confirm this, my bio link is posted below. I am blonde, yes. And my I.Q., last tested, was 146. I believe that scores a bit above "dumb." I have several professions, and have had for many years. I am a Doctor of Hypnotherapy (retired), a published writer, criminal investigative consultant to law enforcement and I own a small publishing company.
- I do not personally own stock in Tricon or Pepsi. I originally planned on buying stock in both these companies until I learned of the following information included in this site. I have since changed my mind and have no interest in being a part of wrongdoing to others.
In November, 1998 I caught the flu. After three weeks, the flu became pneumonia. During a severe coughing bout, I broke the cartilage on seven ribs, two of which punctured my left lung and collapsed it, nearly killing me. I could not speak, nor move. Medical attention was not an option as I am a widow with children and our medical benefits ceased when my husband died. Unbeknownst to us at the time, when the ribs broke, those that supported the left shoulder muscles (rotator cuff) contributed to the tearing of these same muscles. Weeks later I discovered I had torn muscles in my shoulder rather than a dislocated shoulder as I originally thought. My kids nursed me back to health and it took 9.5 months to recover, build back my strength and try to find a Doctor who would assist me.
At the end of this time frame, I had been given the "go-ahead" to return to work. I had only 2 months left of stretching exercises to rebuild the flexibility of the muscles and atrophy. I had only three limitations in my work duties: no vacuuming, no mopping and a weight restriction (nothing over 8 pounds on my left arm and nothing over 35 pounds on my right arm) for approximately 8 more weeks. The injury wiped out our savings and resources.
I responded to an ad I found in a local paper. The ad was from our local Pizza Hut franchise looking for shift manager trainees. The number given was to the corporate office. I called, explained my previous injury and temporary limitations, and was told they were not a problem. I was referred to the local restaurant in my area. I contacted the manager there, explained the same information, and was hired for shift manager. Agreements were made that I would receive full time work (40 hours a week). The limitations were acknowledged, put on my application and fully disclosed. My job duties were to include all aspects of the restaurant and I was to receive accelerated training, beginning with shift manager, followed by assistant manager training, split between this restaurant, another restaurant and classes.
On my first day at work, the manager was verbally abusive to me and other employees. I noticed most of the employees were teens, and for some, this was their first job. I found kids under the age of 12 climbing into the trash dumpster, hired by the manager to do yard work and gardening, paid under the table. I found conditions which I suspected violated health codes, but had no confirmation at that moment (I found that confirmation later). I also found my manager reneged on our agreement of my hours and assigned me 19 hours instead of 40. I was not shown Workman's Comp information, OSHA information, first aid kit, or even the kitchen itself where I could find the items for my customers in the dining room who were asking me for things not visible to them (food items, napkins, etc).
On the second day of work, I found I had been assigned only to waitress (once again), and no training was going to be provided unless I consistently asked for it and requested it. I also found I was assigned to close the restaurant (closing waitress), which included vacuuming, one of the limitations we had agreed upon I would not be doing. When I tried to discuss this with the manager, she informed me if I wanted to keep my job I had to do it. I tried. I tore the muscle slightly in my left shoulder again, but enough to know I had created damage.
On the third day of work, upon arriving, I found I had been assigned as the only waitress again. Protesting did no good. I informed my manager the moment I arrived that I had injured my shoulder the night before (as Workman Comp dictates that injury be reported) and she said nothing. Hours into my shift, while filling a pitcher of beer for customers, I tore the muscles the rest of the way and felt two ribs break at the top of my back. I barely got the beer to the table and excused myself from my customers. I went to the kitchen and asked my manager to come help me as I was having trouble breathing and ready to pass out. She refused.
After nearly 20 minutes and several attempts to get her help, my manager finally came back to where I was in the kitchen. Instead of helping me, she became irate and chewed me out. Driving myself home at barely 25 miles an hour, I barely made it. She did not offer medical assistance, forms or reports to fill out, a ride home, a taxi, ambulance, or even bother to call and see if I made it home alive. Not until the next morning, when she called to see if I was coming in to work. Then she called back to let me know that she had just talked to her manager and the corporate office, and if I wished to return to work I had to bring a Doctor's note stating it was ok.
Immediately after this, believing that this particular manager was perhaps conducting activities the corporate office was not aware of which involved numerous wrongdoings, I faxed a full explanation of events to them. No response. So I faxed to their CEO. No response. Except to withhold my paycheck for hours worked in a futile attempt to pretend I didn't exist.
After several faxes to the CEO and corporate office trying to collect my paycheck, I finally realized the manager was not acting alone, the CEO and corporate office condoned this behavior and delegated these wrongdoings, or chose to ignore them at the very least. I then faxed a full explanation to President Mike Rawlings (Pizza Hut), with copies to all concerned, believing that finally someone with authority would be somewhat concerned with the laws and codes that were being abused. I was naive to think that if pointed out, these abuses would stop. And I was naive to believe that anyone cared about employees or customers, except where it concerned the money they generated or cost.
I received an apologetic letter from Mr. Rawlings and a thank you for bringing to his attention the health code violations and as he called it, "disgraceful" conditions within this restaurant. (It's important to note here that the franchise owner of this restaurant owns virtually all of the Pizza Hut's in the San Diego area, totally over 65 or so locations. This affects a great many customers and employees just in this area.) However, Mr. Rawlings ignored the injury caused to me, or the violations of wages and hours, or agreements which had been reneged upon. He ignored everything except what affected the profit margin of Pizza Hut.
After weeks of faxes and fighting, the franchise owner finally opened up a claim for Workman's Comp, opened as "disputed." I was informed by the representative for their insurance company that it would most likely be denied at the end of 90 days, although not given a reason why. It was in this time I began searching for information that educated me to my rights, state and federal laws, codes and violations, etc. The links I found in my research (included below) are those of other incidents which range over a period of years that are reminiscent, parallel or similar to my events.
To date, no medical assistance has been provided to me. My Workman's Comp claim has just been denied. The representative who asked for my medical info let my fax and copies mailed sit idle while she informed her manager that "nothing" was happening on my claim because I refused to cooperate. Her manager had no answers as to why she had lied to him and informed him of this, and it was he who took the time to contact at least one of my Doctor's and retrieve information. How thorough anyone else tried to get to the truth is anyone's guess, for those answers will only come out when we go to a hearing before the Workman's Comp board which I will pursue.
I am now left with a permanent disability. I will never be able to lift over a few pounds without causing re-injury to the ribs and shoulder. I will pursue the legalities for my own rights, but when you consider I will take them to court and only my events will be address, judged upon and decisions made. That leaves the rest of these conditions that I have discovered unresolved unless I speak out. To ignore those, to me, would be negligent on my behalf and allow them to continue with the same behavior until someone else is hurt or affected. My own conscience won't allow that.
WHAT I'VE DISCOVERED IN THE PROCESS:
I'm a firm believer in there is always something to learn, even when you find yourself in the midst of negative events, there is something positive that can come out of it. And I've had over three months or recuperation, fights, discussions, faxes, letters, phone calls, research, contemplation and hardships to search for those positive outcomes. I will list some of those here, but first, I'd like to share with you some of what I've discovered in this process.
- I believed those who were committing wrongdoing would be replaced, retrained, educated to the proper laws or methods, their behavior and misconduct corrected and those areas of concern comply with all that is supposed to happen and expected to happen when you are held accountable. I was wrong. What I found was that it was not just a rogue manager or CEO. It was condoned all the way up to every CEO throughout Pizza Hut that I contacted (over half a dozen).
- I believed that the investors, once made aware of some of the serious problems that exist within these walls, including wage and hour violations (see links) which range across the state of California, health code violations, discrimination, Workman's Comp violations, etc., would have been more concerned with where they place their money. I found, however, that for the most part, they met my words with silence. The majority of those few who did respond, chose to attack my integrity, character, affiliation, sex, hair color, intelligence, etc. rather than admit that the articles which links provided them to were accurate and a true portrayal of today's company profile. They made assumptions (incorrect ones), accusations, called me a liar, and contested the validity of major newspapers, articles and writers. They would choose to believe that since Tricon has been born, a split off from Pepsi, that all problems are resolved quickly and immediately, with full attention to abiding by the laws set forth. They are naive to believe that, as I was. What's more, they don't seem to care. Not for the employees who work long hours in these conditions to feed their families or pay bills. Not for the customers who unknowingly may be eating contaminated food or eating in contaminating conditions which higher ups don't care about. No, what I've witnessed instead, is a disregard for anything except what the stock price is at the moment and whether or not they are losing or gaining money.
I wonder how vicious they would have been had I had been a customer with a valid complaint? Would I receive the same treatment? Is this the level of professionalism they operate on when someone disagrees with the "perfect" world Tricon would have you believe themselves to have created? Does it truly not matter to them, their own integrity and conscience, that the very people they are making their money on, i.e. the employees and customers, are being treated in illegal, unfair and unsafe conditions? To not know of events and be a part of them is one thing, ignorance is allowed to some degree. But when the information is there to read, research is available if they chose to take some time and look with open eyes, and then once gained... to participate with knowledge of wrongdoings makes them just as responsible. If one chooses to make a profit on the hardships or abuse caused others, then I say shame on them.
- I found that the execs are quite knowledgeable of these wrongdoings and condone it. Changes don't seem to be made until forced into it, either by lawsuit or by public demand and negative reputation gained. Voluntary change when it will cost them money to correct something is not the first priority. Fighting, avoidance, denial and legal game-playing is how they handle the problems until they become so noticed by others they can't avoid them. This is by no means the absolute, but seems to be in the majority of events I've researched and experienced with them.
- I find no one seems to care about the kids I witnessed climbing into the trash dumpster and hired illegally by the manager. What if one of them were to fall head first into that dumpster and break his neck? Would the parents then become aware of the activities being engaged in at this location? I bet they would about the time they sued the franchise owner and Pizza Hut for the injuries. And how would their complaints be met? With accusation? Denial? Would their medical be covered? Would they not be saddled with a lawsuit and months to years worth of legalities to pursue what rights they have for the sake of their child? A child who should not be working on the premises under those conditions to begin with. And what if the child were to die? Does no one concern themselves with this behavior on behalf of Pizza Hut management that they believe this is ok? Well, I care. I don't want to read of his accident or death in my paper or hear it on the news and realize I could have said something and didn't. So I am. And I'll continue to do so until changes are made with proven track records and those responsible are held accountable.
- I found that records from the San Diego Health Dept. clearly show the same manager (who has 19 years experience with Pizza Hut) was cited several times for nearly two years for not having a working thermometer, properly repaired refrigerator door latch, among other citations for contamination or possible contaminating conditions. I have to raise the questions here, how long does it take to buy a thermometer? Why wouldn't that be of concern to her? When the temperature of food is lowered within the refrigerator to a contaminating level, would that not be something of concern? How and why is this blatantly ignored for nearly two years? Why didn't her own manager or the corporate office make her address these? They receive copies of these reports. Where are the ethics of that manager when she ignores those health codes to comply with and then proceeds to cook this food for the patrons, and worse, send it off to the local elementary children who just ordered 80 mini pizzas for school lunch? My thought is, fire the manager. She obviously chooses to ignore these. And fire her manager as well for ignoring them as well. This has not been done, however. They are still on payroll last check. In fact, she has won awards from Pizza Hut for her great service to the company. ???
- I include Pepsi in on the boycott for two reasons: 1) the origins of Tricon (Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and KFC) stem from Pepsi (see links). Pepsi CEO, Roger Enrico, handpicked the CEO's of Tricon. This particular restaurant I worked in was owned by Pizza Hut under Pepsi's rule prior to the split into Tricon, and therefore falls under Enrico's past management, policies, etc. It is now owned by a franchise, but the same manager has worked for both Pizza Hut and the current owner. 2) I was disgusted with the years of bad behavior on behalf of Pepsi and Enrico, the ethics and continual belief on their end that they can get away with whatever they please (see link to bloodbath).
The solutions I suggest are simple in theory, probably impossible in reality. But only if the CEO's choose it to be impossible. They are:
TO THE COMPANIES:
- Comply with the state and federal laws. Don't willingly and blatantly abuse and violate them and assume that no one knows any better, won't fight you, or report you.
- Don't ignore a problem and wait for lawsuits to build up to resolve it. What you may save in dollars spent to correct a problem on the onset will be lost ten fold in a lawsuit that you are found responsible.
- Don't print, suggest or imply benefits to your employees that you have no intention of honoring. And don't allow your franchisee's to do so either. Keep closer supervision on what they are doing at all times and double check their reports. Your reputation is at stake when you don't, for they won't always behave the way you think they should either.
- Appreciate your customers and employees better. Without them, investors and management don't make any money. To abuse them, you take money out of your own pocket.
- Develop better ethics. And then insist your employees, all of them, take ethics training.
- Understand this is no longer a world of ignorance to wrongdoing. It took me only a few days to write and email nearly 200 press releases to major newspapers and media outlets across the country. I can send thousands within a week, providing Internet links to articles many prestigious papers and writers have already published for years, as well as email thousands of patrons, investors and employees around the world. If I can do it, so can others you abuse. What you may think you are doing in secret and undiscovered by the masses can quickly change before you assess damage control and think a way out of your predicament. Better to clean it up to begin with, no?
TO THE INVESTORS:
- Research the companies you're putting your money into. If you don't care about the issues listed here, then I can't offer you a darn thing, because honestly your ethics are then what I want no part of. Enjoy your money and I wish you well.
- Don't be so quick to make assumptions and engage in name calling and call people liars. Maybe they are telling you the truth. Maybe they don't have an agenda except to make you aware and hope someone higher up cares enough about their almighty dollar to filter some better ethics all the way down to the folks who have to work in these places.
- If you don't like the patterns of ill behavior you see from the companies you invest in, speak up. Help get them to change it, and if they won't, get rid of your stock. I guarantee you, they'll eventually get the message.
TO THE EMPLOYEES AND PARENTS OF EMPLOYEES:
- If something doesn't seem quite right, check it out. There are tons of resources on the web alone for legalities, codes, state and federal laws. If you find you're being cheated or rights abused, speak up. And speak loudly. Apparently that's the only voice they hear, one that screams over and over.
- Keep in mind there are other jobs to go to. You don't have to put up with abuse from anyone.
- If your teen is working for or about to work for these companies, inspect the premises. Ask to see the health dept. reports which should be available from your local area for a minimal charge. See if there are long-standing problems ignored. Go on the web and check the OSHA records. See if there are complaints or hazardous conditions left unresolved. Check with the BBB and see if there are complaints.
- Listen carefully to the complaints your son or daughter, husband or wife may bring home about the working conditions. Don't believe these companies comply with all they are supposed to.
TO THE CUSTOMERS:
- First, don't trust anything. Don't trust that your silverware is clean or your food is safe. Ask if they have a dish washer (machine). Don't trust that the glass you are about to drink out of has been washed according to health code standards. I was told by my manager not to wash them very much as "most people use straws." I ignored those instructions and scrubbed them thoroughly, then was reprimanded for "wasting time."
- Complain to the authorities, such as the health dept. or BBB when you find conditions to be unsanitary. That goes for dirty floors, clogged toilets, etc. Chances are, what you're seeing is the tip of the iceberg as I found. Don't just complain to the manager. Chances are they are quite aware of that clogged toilet and they don't care. Complain to the media if need be, and ask they send someone in under cover to check it for themselves. Then follow up on the findings.
- Most of all, speak up. Don't think they actually care, because they don't. But if you don't speak up, chances are, no one else will either. If you do speak up, you add your voice, your complaint to others who have the courage to do so. Those records add up. Then they become available to others in more dire circumstances who research those records, whether they be with the BBB, OSHA, etc. Eventually, enough voices means dollars... and big dollars, to those who dictate the operations, policies, training, etc. of the company. Again, having to force them to change because they won't do so voluntarily unless it is obvious it's going to affect their profit margin. Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Pizza Hut