A Pizza Hut manager who refused to open his store on Thanksgiving and was fired for it received a pardon this week, as the sheepish franchise offered the man his job back.
It was the wrong move.
Tony Rohr, 28, made headlines this week when he went against the orders of his franchise’s owner and refused to open his location on Thanksgiving Day. The Pizza Hut manager said he was standing up for employees at his Elkhart, Indiana, restaurant by demanding they they get the day off to spend with family. He even went so far as to writer a letter explaining why the store should be closed.
The sentiment may have been genuine, but that’s not the way it works in the real world. Taking a job as a manager of a restaurant, you have to know that you will be open sometimes when you’d rather be closed. You’ll be working nights, weekends, and even holidays.
But more importantly, you understand that you are a subordinate to the owner of your business. If that person tells you that the restaurant must be opened, and you refuse, that’s insubordination — and that gets you fired.
There seems to be a growing sentiment against stores and restaurants creeping their Black Friday sales into Thanksgiving. A HuffPost/YouGov poll found that 62 percent of Americans believe businesses should close on Thanksgiving so workers can have the day off. Only 27 percent thought stores should open if they feel there is a demand for it.
But the Americans who took part in the poll and the Pizza Hut manager seem to be missing out on another point — America’s still shaky economy. Forcing stores to close on Thanksgiving when there is enough demand for them to be open means they lose out on revenue, which isn’t the way to create jobs. And considering that Walmart is putting 1 million people to work on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, that’s nothing to scoff at.
This isn’t just an issue of haves vs. have-nots, as some have made it out to be. It may be a strain on the Pizza Hut manager and low-income employees on Thanksgiving, but it’s just as much of a strain on the doctor working at the Emergency Room or the police captain.
Luckily for the Pizza Hut manager, the controversy generated by his firing seemed to reach his company’s corporate office, which released a statement saying it “strongly recommended that the local franchisee reinstate the store manager, and they have agreed.”
The Pizza Hut manager said he has to think it over. If he understood just how lucky he was to get a second chance, he wouldn’t need to think too long.