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DIY employee benefits: What's your story?

The Consumerist blog picked up the story of a St. Cloud Pizza Hut employee who broke in to his workplace in the dark hours deep-fry some boneless chicken wings. I call schemes like this DIY employee benefits. It would be a better story if the 21-year-old weren’t hammered.

When I was a young punk playing in bands and working warehouse jobs I had a roommate who worked the line at an Uptown café (it’s been closed for years). One night, completely unencumbered by alcohol or any other substances, we drove up Hennepin Avenue and let ourselves into the café for some dark-hours milkshakes. We sat at a window table, kicked up our feet, and sucked down those milkshakes like it was 1955. My co-conspirator was paid poverty wages and had no benefits— except for a key and the code for the security alarm. He deserved it. Hell, we both did.

We’ve all assembled our own employee benefits package at some point in our adult lives. Sure, there are much more substantial and critical labor issues at the heart of the epic protests next door in Wisconsin, but workplace rights come in all sizes right?

What’s your story? And be smart about this! Don’t get yourself or anybody else in trouble.

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Comments (3)

My husband did the exact same thing when he worked at a pizza joint 20 years ago. He had a key and would frequently go make pizzas or help himself to soda.

Working at a certain chain of family restaurants as a bar rush waittress, I saw or participated in many DIY benefits. We all felt entitled because we were paid poorly and typically treated poorly. The most common way to legally skim was to hoard coupons from the Sunday paper, cash people out using the coupons, and pocket the difference.

A friend stocked his entire kitchen with stolen dishes and silverware. He even had the audacity to invite everyone (including managers) to a party and serve us on the stolen dinnerware. I saw someone take a 5 gallon bucket of pickles, but I couldn't figure out why he wanted it.

It seems like the food industry is ripe for this kind of thing. At offices it's what, office supplies (unless you are engaged in the kind of DIY benefits that helped to send our economy in the tank). On Twitter, a reader told of grabbing sub bread from a shop across the street from the restaurant he worked at and loading up on toppings at work.

And here's another, from the transcript of an interview the Legislative Auditor did with former Metro Gang Strike Force commander Ron Ryan, who is talking about cops serving search warrants taking things as evidence that ought to be left with the suspect (and the kind of stuff that some officers have been accused of keeping or selling):

"They go out [to serve a search warrant on] some mope, he's a dope dealer, he's never had a job and he's got this whole array of stuff that's really neat, that's better than the stuff the copper's got in his house, and they have this thing that they don;t deserve so we're going to take it, we're going to forfeit it. You know. That's just the mentality of some coppers. So you almost have to tell 'em, quit taking stuff, you know..."