Emerald City Pizza Hut Sucks, Seattle, Columbia Basin Pizza, Las Vegas Pizza, Seattle (Mukilteo) Washington, Chad M. Cloke, Terry Hopkins, Mike Beecher
"Northwest Restaurant Group" is an entity we're also looking at; as yet we don't know it's connection to this case.
This editorial page includes and contains my opinions and the opinions of others. All data disseminated herein is cleared by my First Amendment attorney.
This domain (www.EmeraldCityPizzaSucks.com) was purchased long ago when it first became clear to me and others that this company, or certain people within this company, were slowly but systematically "gutting" this company with bad practices and non-standard policy variations. At the root of this perception seems to be one "area coach" named Chad M. Cloke, an individual with a long and colorful history in the courts and within this company. I've researched this individual and am now prepared to post my findings, opinions, hunches and suspicions, as follows.
This page is written, documented and posted publicly out of a true and profound frustration. Every possible other means of communication and conflict resolution has been tried with this company. Rhonda has filed numerous formal complaints, yet few or none were acted upon, and few were ever even acknowledged. Countless other employees and ex-employees have tried every remedy available to them within the company structure. As far as we know, every single complaint has fallen on deaf ears. There is absolutely no reason the problems within this company could not have been solved in-house, and there is absolutely no reason these problems had to persist until a website this angry, this hateful (yes, hateful), this challenging, this provocative was written. This is everyone's last attempt at waking this company up, this side of a courtroom. I do not believe even this will work. I do not believe that even when the company loses in court, any progress will be made in making this company sit up straight and start acting honorably. I do not believe it is within the capabilities of this company to act responsibly, professionally, or logically. I don't think they know what those words mean. Every single possible remedy up to the dissemination of this page has been attempted, by Rhonda, and by so many others, over so many years. There is now no choice but to write and post this page, in all its ugliness, because Emerald City Pizza Hut steadfastly refused to listen no matter what else was tried, and that is a fact.
Nothing. Else. Has. Worked.
I consider this a crusade. It is my hope that Chad M. Cloke will take note of his behavior as seen by others, and decide it is time to change it with the help of a mental health professional. I do not, however, expect that to happen.
While this page is mostly about Chad M. Cloke, it's titled: Emerald City Pizza Sucks because, after all, who's more to blame here, Chad M. Cloke, or the people who hire, promote, and stand behind him? I'd say the latter. I am deeply concerned that if Mr. Cloke continues on in the manner he has over the past year, he will eventually push some hardworking employee too far and that employee will take Cloke's life. I believe it is inevitable. That would be tragic. I hope it does not occur.
On 3-31-2011 Chad M. Cloke lied in an effort to falsify documentation that would ultimately terminate a Pizza Hut employee of 29 years. This is not an opinion -- it is a fact. I make this statement: Chad M. Cloke is a liar; I can prove at least a handful of instances of this; I intend to document and expose this kind of despicable corruption and fraud on this website.
How serious am I about the content of this page? Would I go to court to protect it? Of course, 100 times over. Would I go to prison to protect it? Of course, for the rest of my life. Would I die to protect it? One hundred times. Absolutely nothing is more important to me than TRUTH and MY OPINION BASED ON OR EXTRAPOLATED FROM FACTS, and my right to disseminate them. Every once in awhile some dirty, sleazy, lying, conniving little fleck of human waste comes along and causes grief, ruins lives, makes people want to kill themselves, and he laughs at their misery. And every once in awhile, one of those dirty little flecks of human waste meets up with someone who stands up in front of them and says:
And that person is willing to back it up with his freedom, his life, his fortune, because it is the right and honorable thing to do. His fellow human beings should not be subjected to the tortures of an imbecile with power, like Chad M. Cloke. That person has a moral obligation to stop evil in those instances where it's possible to do so. This is one of those instances, and I am that man. -Ask Hewlett Packard, who spent three years and $60,000 trying to remove my editorial review of their products and services from public view.
This page is set up with mirrors through servers around the world. This page, or one of its mirrors, will ALWAYS exist, even if I am sued, even if I am dead, even if Emerald City Pizza pays Rhonda off. There is no act or sum of money I can think of which would cause me to remove this page from this server or from any foreign server.
In the coming months I'll be offering a cash payment to any Emerald City Pizza Hut employee, past, present or future, who has had a belly-full of this company and who will sit for a video-taped interview regarding the treatment they received at the hands of Emerald City Pizza Hut and/or Chad M. Cloke. I will also be formally offering the sum of $5000 cash to Chad M. Cloke to take a polygraph. If he fails it, he will pay me that sum. If he passes it, I will pay that sum to him. It will be a formal, legal contract. A list of all area polygraph examiners will be thrown into a hat and one name will be picked at random by a neutral party, and that examiner will be used. The loser will pay for the test (about $600). Some of the questions that will be asked are these:
1) Have you, Chad M. Cloke, ever had sexual relationships with ANY Emerald City Employee?
2) Did you, Chad Cloke, lie to Emerald City Pizza Hut (your superiors) regarding Rhonda's performance while in Emerald City's employ (I can already prove that he did). If he answers "yes" and passes the polygraph, he and Emerald City will be sued (they will be anyway).
3) Are you, Chad M. Cloke, working and conspiring with others in the office to rid Emerald City Pizza Hut of all or most, or ANY employees who are of "straight" sexual orientation? One of Chad's favorite comments, which he makes loudly, obnoxiously, and often, in front of many witnesses (we have dates, times and witness names in our files) is this: "There's not a straight woman left in our [Emerald City's] office, (and that's the way it should be, or something to that effect)." Then he laughs.
4) Have you, Chad M. Cloke, ever promoted or sought to promote an employee who you did not know, had never previously met, had never worked with or seen work, but whose appearance (thin, white, effeminate-looking, male) you personally liked for no reason other than his looks? (I can prove that he has done this -- dates, times and witnesses are on file).
Many more questions will be added as this page evolves.
Having a background in Federal law enforcement, I'm well versed in polygraph technology. Federal agents (Metropolitan Enforcement Group [M.E.G.] #2, Central U.S. region) were required to undergo polygraphs all the time, sometimes as a scheduled weekly regimen. It keeps everything on the up-and-up. It just plain works. I wholeheartedly recommend it in every civil instance of he-said, she-said, too. The criminal justice system uses polygraphs on a daily basis to test sex-offenders who are "out" on the condition that they don't even THINK about re-offending. If their bi- or thrice-weekly test shows that they even once thought about children in an inappropriate way, for instance, they are instantly kicked back in the slammer. That is how much credibility is given to this tool.
In Chad's case I'll pay for a "statement type" test. I've taken many of them myself. To convince myself of the tenability of the technology I have many times tried to "trick" the test in areas where the answers didn't matter. For instance, the examiner will always want to know what your baseline graph looks like when you DO lie, so you'll be asked, say, to choose a number between one and ten. Say you choose "4". You are then instructed to say that your number is "6" when asked by the examiner. Obviously this is a lie, because your number is really "4". Many times I've experimented with making the graph show that I was telling the truth when I said my number was "6", although it was really "4". I would concentrate, go into Zen mode, whatever I thought would do the trick in order to make MYSELF believe that my number was "6". I was so unable to ever once even come close to fooling the machine, that the examiner has several times stopped the test and called coworkers into the office to show them my graph in amazement, saying they had never seen ANYONE who lied more poorly than me. I thought this was very odd, because lying about an arbitrary number shouldn't be something that really matters, and I felt it should be easy to trick the machine, and I always thought I had, until I saw the results. And by the way, I've never once failed a polygraph. But not only was I never able to trick the machine for fun, I never came close. This is what convinced me so thoroughly of the polygraph's value, because in the early years I was certainly skeptical.
You will often hear of accounts where some criminal was tested, and passed, and then found to be lying later on. In reality, this happens almost never except in cases of true sociopaths who do not know truth from fiction. What happened was, the examiner asked the wrong questions. For instance, the examiner might ask a child rapist if he raped that boy. The crook would say "no", and he would pass the test. That's because the rapist didn't think of himself as a rapist, and he has convinced himself that the boy really WANTED to have sex with him. It is therefor vitally important that the examiner be intelligent, that he is capable of thinking like a low-life for the duration of the test, and that his questions be appropriate to the task. He should have asked, "Did you insert your penis into the anus of the boy in question?" The rapist would say no, and he'd fail the test in spades. Take, for example, Bill Clinton's assertion that he "never had sexual relations with that woman". In his mind, he didn't, and he probably would have passed the lie detector. After all, according to that scum bag, a blow job isn't really sex, so he was telling the truth, if only barely. Of course Clinton never had the balls to take the test anyway. In the end, if applied properly, the polygraph works. Boy, does it work. Chad Cloke cannot beat a competently applied polygraph, and I positively guarantee that it is a fact he cannot pass the statement test I will prepare for him if he answers "no" to every question. Chad Cloke is a liar. Let him sue me and try to prove it otherwise. He cannot, as you will soon see.
Rhonda started work for Pizza Hut Inc. in 1981 at the age of 23. She was trained by a store manager who became "big" in the corporation, then branched out to his own franchise which now spans three states. Rhonda's work for the brand was exemplary in all ways and she moved up quickly. The franchises came and went, some good, some not so good, but all more or less acceptable. Her bosses came and went too, some good, some not as good, but all completely acceptable overall. Pizza Hut Inc. maintained a firm control of their franchisees in those days and protected their brand as they should. A customer could not tell the difference between a corporate store and a franchise store. In certain areas, such as Seattle and western Washington state, I believe that has now changed, and not for the better.
In 1995 Rhonda was promoted to area manager for a three-state region (now the job title is "area coach" and typically involves far fewer stores, even as few as eight). Rhonda received every possible raise in this position. She amassed cartons full of award trophies (I've seen them) and folders full of award certificates for special accomplishments (I've seen those too). Her specialty was to take bad, run-down, grossly mismanaged stores, and turn them into clean, properly functioning, highly profitable stores in short periods of time. This qualification and dossier of accomplishment has been acknowledged many times by Inc., and by some of the largest franchisees.
Finally, in the late 1990's, Pizza Hut Inc. came back into Rhonda's area and bought out the franchise. Inc bought it out because it had become fantastically profitable, due in very large part to Rhonda's regional management. This is documented.
Rhonda felt that her position, under Inc., would be more political in nature than under the franchisee. She was also tired of spending so much time away from home, due to the necessity of covering three states. She was driving 80,000 miles per year, wearing out a new vehicle about every 18 months. She asked Inc. if she could voluntarily go back to her old position as General Restaurant Manager. They gave her her pick of restaurants, and kept her wage at her AREA MANAGER level. She was clearly a valuable commodity to the franchisee who had sold out at a stupefying profit, and to Pizza Hut Inc. who needed her long experience and no-nonsense, solid management style to maintain its own stores. She was very well thought of across the board, and was highly recommended by people very high up within Corporate, and is to this very day. This is documented and is not conjecture or opinion.
In 1999 Rhonda decided she wanted to return to her "home" (Western Washington). She called Inc. to inquire of openings. They immediately gave her a choice of stores and kept her wage at her old area manager level plus raises she had accrued. Rhonda transferred to a store near Seattle and all was well.
EMERALD CITY PIZZA HUT
Only a few months after she arrived, Emerald City Pizza bought out western Washington. They'd had a small area in eastern Washington, DBA Columbia Basin Pizza, and wanted to expand. Rhonda was happy with Inc., but wasn't particularly concerned about working for yet another franchisee. She had her first meeting with Emerald City Pizza, however, and came away utterly shocked. She described them as "hillbillies". She had never been subjected to this type of mentality in any crisply professional Inc. environment, or in any other franchisee, no matter how small or backwoods they had been. Emerald City was, she thought way back then, going to be one hell of a problem. And so it is.
Rhonda is a survivor, and she immediately put to use her skills at getting along with anyone. However, her personal view of Terry Hopkins must have shown through, for he took an instant disliking for her as well and made it clear and obvious. Her record was unassailable, far beyond reproach. Terry's dislike for Rhonda appeared personal. She described the company after only a few months as "crude, rude and backwoods". I happen to know a bit about the man who financed Terry's operation, and I know that other franchisees he has financed have been found by some to be utterly indescribable in terms of unprofessionalism and horrifically bad management.
Rhonda's wage was high by the eastern Washington standards Terry Hopkins was used to, and he immediately set about to make it known that he didn't like her wage. It was clear to Rhonda that Terry and upper management within Emerald City Pizza Hut was out to get rid of her if it could possibly find a way to do so, solely because of her wage. The fact that she and Terry had a gut-level dislike for each other didn't help matters.
Emerald City Pizza Hut ran true to the reputation that had preceded it, according to people I've spoken with. And over the next few years Rhonda found it more and more difficult to continue looking the other way when Emerald City Pizza skirted or completely ignored the bedrock practices of competent, sustainable business she had been taught by Pizza Hut Inc. She was insulted by Emerald City's peculiar lack of basic logic processes. It seemed to her that Emerald City Pizza was struggling financially, and that they were cutting corners and engaging in potentially disastrous policies that were counter to Inc's wishes, to try to stay afloat. Or perhaps, she thought, Emerald City's upper management was just plain stupid.
Still Rhonda persevered. If she can live with her husband, she can put up with anything. She had some years to go until retirement. She had seen countless franchisees come and go, and bad bosses come and go as well, and she had outlasted them all by being eminently professional and by maintaining strong restaurants -- restaurants that were solid all the way down to bedrock, not just superficially, for the purpose of grabbing quick profits from a collapsing structure that's being inexorably gutted by fools, but restaurants that were stable and could withstand any hardship or test that came along. She would do the same, she thought, with Emerald City Pizza until she retired.
Her immediate bosses came and went as well, some being good, some being poor. A couple of them were so bad that she surmised they would have lasted no more than a couple of months with Inc. because Pizza Hut would not have stood for their nonsense. Curiously, those nitwits seemed to tend to get promoted by Emerald City, while the solid, reliable, non-hysterical, sober, calmly professional and completely competent bosses.....appeared to get fired or quit in disgust. It was a curious phenomenon to observe, and I saw it unfold as well. The people who cared, and tried, and went the extra mile, it seemed to me, got the boot -- while the loud, the belligerent, in-your-face punks, the drunks and dopers and sexual deviates and fools, seemed to move right on up. Some of these people are nearly legendary along the entire west coast, as their behavior is SO inappropriate and bizarre as to make them the constant center of attention within Pizza Hut franchisee circles. Yet Emerald City seems to love them, and embraces them all the more. What kind of folks are at the top pulling the strings again? Remember, the folks at the bottom are nearly always a direct reflection of the folks at the top.
As Emerald City Pizza appeared to struggle more and more with the economy, and probably with the results of their own counter-productive management policies as well, they began to make it known even more clearly to Rhonda that they didn't like her wage. She was making $49,000 as a restaurant manager working an average of around 63 hours per week, much of it off the clock because Emerald City desired it and asked for it but technically prohibited it. It was a wage she had slaved to attain over the previous twenty years of hard and reliable work. Most managers are making in the $29,000 range for an expected 65 hours per week (about $7.72/hr., take-home)(minimum wage is $8.70 here).
I think Emerald City saw Rhonda's high wage as money they could be putting in their own pockets and they openly and frequently resented paying her that amount, and made it known at almost every opportunity (Rhonda kept a log of their insults). This became a larger and larger issue over the years, until by 2007 or so, Rhonda's bosses were being downright obnoxious in complaining about her wage. It had become clear that upper management generally wanted to find a way to get rid of her based solely on the amount she was being paid. This came through loud and clear. Unfortunately for Emerald City Pizza, Rhonda's work was still beyond reproach. She remained untouchable. Still, she began to notice that Emerald City was consciously looking for things to complain about, nitpicking her performance absolutely to death, in the clear and obvious hope that she would get tired of it and quit. They couldn't fire her, they knew, but perhaps, just perhaps, they could pester and annoy and harass her into quitting. This is truly the mark of the small time, backwoods company. I have personally seen this behavior very often in my own business dealings with people and companies from eastern Washington.
While Emerald City Pizza Hut whined and complained that Rhonda's relatively high grossing store (for this region)($22,000/wk) couldn't support her wage, they insisted that she transfer to a new store which grossed $12,000/wk. Why? Why indeed. Emerald City complained incessantly about her wage being hard for a $22,000 store to support, so they moved her to one grossing half that? It made no sense to anyone at the time, and it makes no sense today. They soon moved her again to a store grossing $9,000/wk.
Rhonda actually traded stores when she was transferred the last time. The new manager who took over her store walked into her restaurant and was absolutely astounded at how clean, orderly, organized and smoothly-functioning the store was. He said he had never seen anything like it (that's a quote). The employees were quality employees and every facet of the business worked like a well-oiled machine, or as close as one can get to that when depending on human beings for anything.
Conversely, when Rhonda went into her third and last restaurant for Emerald City, the one this same kid had just come from, she was also shocked -- at the filth of the restaurant, the illogical setup of the workflow, the lack of uniforms and other necessary equipment, and the incredibly poor quality of the employees and the product itself. The store appeared to her to be barely, if at all, functional. They had only a ragged ten year old map that didn't show any of the new streets and subdivisions, and it had never, apparently, occurred to that manager to get one that was up to date so that pizza deliveries could be made more efficiently (or at all). The store should have had at least twenty to twenty five delivery pouches (they keep your orders hot while in transit to your home), yet the manager only kept seven on hand. This meant that pizzas were going out without pouches -- just thin boxes sitting on the seat of some driver's car, and they were almost certainly cold when they arrived, yet this manager never saw fit to CORRECT THIS ULTRA-SIMPLE PROBLEM, but what's far worse, NEITHER DID HIS BOSS, CHAD M. CLOKE. In her view the store was a wreck: it barely functioned at all, and based on Rhonda's decades with Inc. she knew that this was a manager that would have never, ever been allowed to be moved up to a manager position within Inc., yet two weeks later, her boss and his, Chadrick M. Cloke, announced publicly that this manager was the one whom he most admired in all of Emerald City Pizza. This manager's personal demeanor is in Rhonda's view and mine and others....very similar to Chad's own -- loud, crude, and obnoxious. Birds of a feather......etc..
Rhonda was struggling along with Emerald City Pizza Hut, becoming more and more concerned about their cannibalistic processes and demeanor. She was wondering, for the first time in nearly 30 years, if she could continue working for the outfit. She was determined not to be harassed or intimidated into quitting, but by the same token, could she continue for another nine years, just rolling over for the insane antics of these people at Emerald City? She was not sure she could, and she started wondering what else she might do to make a living. After nearly thirty years, it's hard to make a major career change, especially when you only have a few years left, and especially in this horrible economy (2011).
Somewhere in early 2010 yet another boss came along. Her previous boss, Dave Ballard, had been fired or "purged" in some way. Dave hadn't been the brightest bulb in the string, but I do not believe, and Rhonda does not believe, that Dave was outright dishonest. I believe that Terry Hopkins had let it be known to Dave Ballard, whether directly or by inference, that he needed to find a way, any way, to get rid of Rhonda and her wage. Dave did his best, and he pestered Rhonda nearly to the point of harassment, regarding the most inconsequential and nit-picky of transgressions, trying as hard as he could to begin to build a case against her and force her to quit. Dave often brought up the subject of her wage and the notion that her current store couldn't afford it -- but of course he had no reply when asked why, if that's the case, was she transferred from a high-volume store, to a low volume store? Dave was a doofus. But he wasn't insane. He tried. He was more or less logical. She didn't consider him to be a good or useful boss, but she knew he, too, would one day wander away to be replaced by another of Emerald City's prizes, and she didn't have to wait long.
Chad M. Cloke had been a restaurant manager in eastern Washington for Emerald City Pizza Hut, and had quite a colorful history there. We found court records stating that he'd been sued at least fourteen (14) times just in one county (we're just now looking at other counties). Once I began to form an opinion regarding Chad Cloke's agenda, I began to research the man, and I began to hear rumors from other Pizza Hut employees that Chad was a heavy drinker, that he was as loud as anyone had ever heard of, and that he was inarguably a damned stupid fool. People said they had never read fictional accounts of anyone so loud, so obnoxious, so rude, foul-mouthed, in-your-face arrogant, obscene, insulting and hateful, especially toward those of "straight" sexual orientation. I heard rumors to the effect that Chad sometimes made references to violence and how it sometimes solved things and put people he didn't like in their places.
I began to worry for the physical safety of people I knew who worked for this man if these stories were true, and so I ran a simple background check. I found that Cloke actually did have a court-documented history of very bad behavior (docs further down this page), and was once sued for ramming his car into someone. Coming from Federal law enforcement, this made me sit up straight in my chair and for the first time really take notice. To be an asshole, and Chad certainly is one, is one thing. But to be a potential threat to the safety of people around him? What was a jerk like this doing in charge of hundreds of impressionable young kids, many of whom were working at Pizza Hut for the very first job in their lives? --A copious drinker (by his own proud and copious admissions), a man who boasts of his homosexual conquests and openly berates and denounces straights, a man who screams in the restaurants (not yells, but screams), who throws pans and utensils in childish, raging temper tantrums, who on a regular basis berates employees until they cry and smirks about it, who threatens employees with all manner of consequences for the slightest infractions, who lies, who invents or subverts policies and ignores others (docs coming, folks!) who encourages foul language among the impressionable kids in the stores, who laughs when they join in and use it in the stores, who partakes of the foulest possible language IN FRONT OF CUSTOMERS, and who also rams his car into people and gets sued for it!? This is what Emerald City has hired? This is what Emerald City has PROMOTED and moved across the state to Seattle? THIS is what Emerald City Pizza thinks of the near Disney-like vision of Pizza Hut Incorporated? This is how Emerald City Pizza insults all the hard work Pizza Hut Inc. has done to create, mould, nurture and perpetuate the "G" rated, family experience they have so diligently cultivated over all these decades? This is the kind of human dung Emerald City wants influencing young employees and impressing customers at the counter? Somehow I don't think so! A man who CHRONICALLY doesn't pay his bills, a man who turns the tables on those he owes money to, a man who apparently seeks to promote mostly effeminate-looking white young males... Is this man simply stocking Pizza Huts with potential sex partners? I've come to believe that he is doing EXACTLY that. And this is what Emerald City wants?!
I meant to convey the impression that Chad Cloke is loud.
But what I really mean to say is that CHAD CLOKE IS LOUD.
No, you misunderstand. He isn't merely loud, he's L-O-U-D. Cloke is as loud as any human being can be without using a megaphone. I remember a skit on the old SNL (Saturday Night Live) about the "LOUD FAMILY". Every member of the family YELLED, all the time, no matter what they were doing. You sometimes run into folks like this in apartment buildings and they usually are fairly quickly evicted due to neighbors' complaints. But Chad doesn't qualify to be compared to people like that -- he is a whole 'nother league of LOUD unto himself. I suppose that Chad wants to be the Center of Attention and probably always has. Unfortunately, his mother must have never once dissuaded this aberrant behavior and just let him run amok with it his entire life because it is so ingrained into his psyche at this point that I do not believe it is curable. When Chad makes an entrance into a restaurant, or any other room for that matter, he BOOMS into existence there. He yells. He yells hello. He yells his greetings. He yells goodbye. He yells that he is happy. He yells that he is sad. He booms out a string of nonsense which almost always includes the foulest cuss words and a veritable menu of inappropriate messages, instructions, insults and commands. He FLOURISHES around the establishment making absolutely certain that every single individual within shouting distance knows that CHAD IS HERE and that he has TAKEN COMMAND. He never seems to notice the rolled eyes of the employees or the sadly shaking heads of customers who are absolutely embarrassed and annoyed by this utterly inappropriate demeanor. I've witnessed this incredible spectacle only once and that was enough. Had I been Cloke's boss at that moment I would have instantly directed him to my office and I would have said this:
"Chad, I don't know what you think you're doing, but your behavior here, including the sheer volume of your behavior, is staggeringly inappropriate. I'm not asking you, I'm telling you: get a grip on this obnoxiousness right now. Tone it down about one hundred DBs, stop the grandiose exclamations, stop the personal insults to the employees, and stop the cussing this minute. Not later, not tomorrow, but right now, today, before you leave this office, stop this bizarre behavior. If you do not I will either fire you on the spot or I will suspend you until you've had time to get with a psychiatrist to see if you can learn to act appropriately in public. Our employees don't want to be subjected to this, nor do our customers. This is a professional environment and you WILL learn to conduct yourself as a professional, and not a loudmouth jackass, or you will not fit with this company one more day. DO YOU COMPREHEND WHAT I AM SAYING TO YOU." (note the lack of a question mark).
If Cloke waffled for one second I'd suspend him and send him home. If he ever acted like that again I'd suspend him and send him home and then fire him. The number of employees this jerk has offended and caused to quit is incalculable. Some have written letters to Emerald City Pizza after they've quit. Since Chad's behavior has not modified one whit we must assume that those letters have fallen on deaf ears within the company. The number of customers he has bitterly and profoundly offended and angered is incalculable. Yet he seems to be absolutely clueless about his behavior. The man is a moron. I stood there on that one occasion, at the customer window, and after a minute I realized that my jaw had actually fallen open. You hear about that in jest -- "I was slack-jawed", or "he stood there with his mouth open in shock..." Well, it happened in reality. I didn't know who Cloke was at the time, but I had never witnessed behavior like this except as a watered-down version in comedy skits. I had never seen it to this extent before, and I have never seen it since, and I hope I never do, and God knows I've been around, as a business owner in eleven states and three countries, and as a man who has raised 131 shipwrecks off the ocean floor and who has performed 321 rescues in the North Pacific and who has saved the United States Coast Guard twice, who has survived two helicopter crashes and worked with loggers in the woods up and down the entire west coast, who has put countless fools in prison as a Federal agent, who has run commercial freighters from Vancouver to Rupert on a 30 day turn in all weather and all seasons, who has crop dusted and been a stunt pilot and a commercial fisherman -- I have been around, and I've seen the crudest of the crude, the animals, the whack-jobs, the terminally foolish, the murderers, the rapists, the child molesters, and I have never, ever witnessed a human being this off-putting, crude, or obnoxious in my lifetime in all of these venues, circumstances and societal strata. Never. I have talked to Rhonda about this phenomenon at length, and have also talked to four other managers about this specifically. Everyone agrees with my assessment of this behavior. I have no doubt Cloke has been acting like this his entire life and I know that every once in awhile you run across folks and employers who mistake LOUD for COMPETENT, and I think that is what has happened here. I think the top people at Emerald City Pizza Hut are simply so inept as to not know what they have hired. But Cloke is almost universally viewed as the antithesis of professionalism. He is simply shocking. Cloke has been working for Emerald City Pizza for quite a few years now, leaving a long and disgusting trail of amazement and complaints for all these years, everywhere he goes, and the silly folks at the top don't seem to have a single problem with this ongoing spectacle of the bizarre or of the mountain ranges of il-will he fosters and creates and leaves behind like a wallowing cloud of fermenting bowel gasses.
Why? Is it because they are cut from the very same cloth? This is NOT, I promise, the standard of Pizza Hut Incorporated. Simply because of this profoundly obnoxious behavior and nothing else, Inc. would have almost certainly weeded this guy out in his first three months. Yet Emerald City Pizza not only continues to employ him through the years, they actually promote him! And they promote him to a position that puts him in charge of other human beings, where he can lie, cheat, bamboozle, control and ruin lives and careers at his whim, and no one above him seems the wiser for it.
When Cloke is out touring restaurants with one of his superiors he is a different entity. It's apples and celery. You'd never know he was the same individual, so this proves to me that Cloke DOES know the difference between being a quasi-professional, and being the retarded court-jester-on-crack, and that when he needs to, he can rein in his true personality and fool them for short periods of time. But when Cloke is out and about by himself, dropping in to restaurants that he feels are as comfortable to him as his own bedroom, he becomes what he is at the core: a whopping, embarrassing jackass. The apparent fact that Emerald City Pizza Hut cannot see through this veil tells me that they are not competent to be in ANY business in which they have the power to ruin lives and careers. Those things should have never been entrusted to them because they abuse their responsibilities so grossly that in some instances their neglect may almost be considered criminal. It is certainly actionable civilly, as they will soon discover. This one thing is enough to tell me and most folks what kind of people are pulling the marionette strings at the top of this company, and no one is more "at the top" than Terry Hopkins. Chad Cloke's continued employment at Emerald City Pizza Hut works as a mirror to upper management. I WANT Chad to stay at Emerald City Pizza Hut. I WANT him to remain their liability. I WANT him to continue on just as he does today, because he will eventually cost this company hundreds of thousands, if not millions, and Emerald City Pizza Hut deserves every ounce of Cloke's colossal mismanagement. I'll make an offer right now to pay for a tape recording or a video of Cloke's behavior and I'll post it on this page. I guarantee your jaw will drop upon witnessing this as well. It is so far over the top that you'll lose sight of where the top once was. And THAT is the image Emerald City Pizza consciously seeks to project to the world. Where did they come from again? Oh yeah-- the hills of Eastern Washington. There's a different standard over there and that's a fact.
Cloke became Rhonda's "boss" late in 2009. She knew what he was after 30 days and she learned to fear him in that short span: he was, and his management style was, illogical, unintelligent, and he seemed to have no clear idea of how to run a stable restaurant. She wondered how he had ever come to occupy this position.
I believe that Chad was so eager to please his bosses at Emerald City Pizza Hut, and I believe that those at the top there began to lean on him and to signal to him, or to tell him outright, to find some way, any way, to get rid of Rhonda and her offensive wage. Dave had, I believe, been told to accomplish this very same task, but Dave wasn't dishonest and Dave could find no legal or honorable or legitimate way to fire a strong manager of 29 years experience. Dave had failed, but I believe Chad vowed to succeed. Rhonda was also a woman, and I believe that straight women deeply offend Chad.
Chad set out, I'm convinced, to do whatever was required to make Rhonda quit, no matter what. This was crystal clear to Rhonda and to many others watching this unfold. Can I prove this? Yes, I believe I can. Let us find out.
Rhonda began keeping a detailed log of Chad's shenanigans, illogical commands and putrid comments in early 2010, and she documented the witnesses present for each and every instance. She kept copies of Chad's written lies and assorted nonsense, and she kept the proofs. She knew what Cloke was up to. Her failure was in not believing Chad Cloke would actually commit fraud to attain his goals. But Chad Cloke did lie, and I can prove it, and I intend to do just that in the space below. I have his own written words, typed by his own hand, and I am going to expose this fraud. From this point forward I suggest that Cloke's superiors sit up and take notice. They have apparently been bamboozled by this man (if they haven't been bamboozled, then would ECP kindly explain why it employs a man who lies?), and he has foolishly left them open to unbelievable legal liability, and it's time a little sunlight intruded into their lives. Or were they consciously involved in this conspiracy all along?
Let's recap the situation thus far so we're all clear about what's going on:
Fact: Rhonda had a twenty year career with Pizza Hut Inc. and various franchisees when ECP came along.
Fact: She was given virtually every raise the company allowed and was awarded countless trophies and certificates for unusually strong leadership, management and growth, by Pizza Hut Inc. and by ALL of the franchisees she'd worked for up to this point.
Fact: She was promoted to regional manager, and several years later when she asked to go back to her old job, HER REGIONAL MANAGER SALARY WAS MAINTAINED BY INC..
Fact: She was largely responsible for the staggering growth of one region in which the franchisee sold back to Pizza Hut at an almost unprecedented profit.
Fact: When Emerald City Pizza Hut bought out the Seattle area she was in at that time, it immediately began griping about her salary and continued griping to the day she was terminated.
Fact: Emerald City Pizza Hut instructed Dave Ballard to squeeze Rhonda for performance that was nearly impossible to attain, citing her wage as justification. Dave revealed this to Rhonda. This continued until Dave Ballard was let go.
Fact: Emerald City Pizza Hut moved Chad Cloke into Dave Ballard's position and instructed Cloke in the same way.
Conjecture: This suited Chad M. Cloke just fine, because he had his own agenda which fit tongue and groove with Emerald City's agenda -- Chad preferred to have GAY people working at Emerald City Pizza Hut and he alluded to this loudly, obnoxiously and often, in front of dozens of witnesses.
HOMOSEXUALS AND LESBIANS
In the 1970's I worked as foreman on a helicopter logging operation out on the coast, then I bought into it as a partner. My friends, colleagues and associates were mostly from this strata of society. It was a rough crowd. I remember an incident on a high-lead operation where the rigging slinger got into a fight with the foreman -- some disagreement over which tree to use for the mainline spar-- and both men lost all their front teeth. But both men stayed in the woods and finished their shifts, and both men showed up for work the following day and both men worked just as hard as everyone else. You see shows on TV these days about loggers, but the whining and the dishonor are not indicative of those days -- they are indicative of THESE days.
In the old days the law was that you didn't have to shut down the hillside until or unless you had six or more fatalities on any given day. Kill six men, and everyone got to go home early. Kill only five, and you finished your shift and saluted the cordwood-stack of bodies on the way to the crummy and nothing much changed except the names on the roster. You gotta hate that, and you gotta respect that. That's the enigma that was this town. I said it was rough; I meant it was rough. I met a man there named Kerry who would become one of my best friends. Kerry didn't fit socially in that region and that's a loss to those hard-headed folks. Kerry was gay. Kerry wasn't "just" gay, he was flamboyantly gay, outrageously gay, magnificently gay. Kerry wasn't flamboyantly gay because he was trying to over-compensate for being gay, he was flamboyant because that's who he was at his core. Had he been straight, he would have been flamboyantly straight. Kerry was flamboyant, and I found the fact that he was GENUINELY flamboyant, endearing. Kerry was a big man, and he dressed as his soul dictated he dress -- FLAMBOUYANTLY. He'd saunter around that dirty little logging town in the most beautiful clothes -- often a jet black wool suit with a huge pink sash and perhaps a wide, sky-blue tie. My God, it was a striking countenance. I was straight, but Kerry didn't count that against me, and we became fast friends. Kerry was a GOOD human being. He was compassionate and intelligent and kind and, in his own way, a little delicate. His wit was sharp and edgy. His insights were startling. He never insulted, was never rude, was inherently, genetically incapable of insolence. I protected Kerry on a few occasions. Mostly I tried to let him fend for himself, up to the point where violence was imminent, then I offered and provided the skills I possessed, that Kerry did not. And in return, Kerry often offered and provided to me the skills that he possessed, and I did not -- mostly understanding and the gift of compassion and peaceful negotiation. Kerry's skills at peaceful negotiation were lost on the brainless clods of that town, but my skills at other types of negotiations were right on track, and so in that way Kerry and I enjoyed a symbiotic measure to our friendship.
I was always delighted to see Kerry coming, and I enjoyed every minute of our time together and of our deep exchanges. Years later I heard that Kerry was killed by yet another drunk driver, but I don't know for sure. I only know that I miss him. There are so many conversations we never finished, and I wonder every day if he still needs me. Chad M. Cloke thinks he's Kerry's clone. But Chad M. Cloke is the utter antithesis to that wonderful man. No two human beings could be so different.
So you have a situation in which a long-time, highly decorated and appreciated manager has been singled out by Emerald City Pizza Hut because her wage was, in their view, too high, and you have a suck-up, nasty type of individual who apparently wants to get rid of her because (a) he wants to impress his superiors and keep his shiny new job -- the most prestigious job he has ever had in his life or will ever have -- and (b) because he apparently prefers to have only gay people working at Pizza Hut. The two motivations go hand in hand, and merrily the two forces went skipping on down the road, bent on Rhonda's destruction, her crimes being that she had gotten too many raises, and she was not gay. --Sounds like a chapter right out of the Harvey Milk playbook, circa San Francisco, 1978. Is Milk and his outrageous clan still in California politics?
When Dave Ballard was canned, Rhonda breathed a sigh of relief. He wasn't a good boss. He was anal retentive, with the social skills of an Iguana. She felt he couldn't be trusted, that he was sneaky, that he was more or less amoral, that he was clueless as to the workings of any restaurant, and that he was a shameless "yes man". He was, by a wide margin, the worst boss she had ever endured in her life up to that point. But she didn't think he was downright dishonest, and I don't believe he was either. I feel Dave was under tremendous pressure from Emerald City Pizza Hut to pressure Rhonda into quitting, or find a way to fire her.
He asked several times why she didn't just retire. She replied, "...because, uh, I'm not even remotely old enough to retire....?"
Dave seemed perplexed by this answer each and every time. Rhonda was working roughly 60 hours a week at that time, and when she made the comment in passing to Dave that she wished things didn't go wrong on her day off so she didn't have to come in and fix them, he replied, "Well, maybe you shouldn't TAKE a day off!" Dave Ballard was a bad boss; but he wasn't a crook. I believe that Terry Hopkins and his minions continued to put pressure on Dave to find some way, any way at all, to get rid of Rhonda. But there WAS no legitimate way to get rid of an honest, capable, hardworking employee with a twenty five year well-distinguished career behind her. I believe Emerald City Pizza Hut tried to entice Dave to lie about Rhonda, to build a fraudulent case against her over time. But to his credit, I don't believe Dave Ballard ever did lie. And I believe that's one of the reasons he was expunged.
Next up to bat was Chadrick M. Cloke, yes-man extraordinaire. He swept into the job, loud, obnoxious, insulting, insolent, and instantly drove many managers to the brink of homicide. His arrogance knew no bounds, and some companies, including Emerald City Pizza Hut I believe, routinely mistake LOUD for competence and ARROGANCE for professionalism. And, I believe, Emerald City sensed that young Chadrick would do anything, ANYTHING to please them.
Terry Hopkins documentably wanted Rhonda gone because he didn't like her wage and because he clearly did not seem to like her personally-- because she didn't like or respect him or anyone of that mentality (the open shirts, gold chains, dripping arrogance, 1970's disco demeanor, etc. etc. etc. ad nauseam.)
Dave Ballard had tried to get rid of Rhonda but failed; therefore, it became a point of honor for Terry Hopkins, we believe, to up the ante: if Terry Hopkins wanted someone gone, then by God they were gonna be GONE, and that's all there was to it.
Chad wanted Rhonda gone, it seems clear, because it would please his keepers, and because she was an affront to his sexuality.
So what about this whole gay issue, anyhow? Here's Rhonda's philosophy (and incidentally mine as well): If a person comes along who can do the job, HIRE THEM. If they happen to be gay, it's NONE OF THE EMPLOYER'S BUSINESS. If a person happens to be straight, IT'S NONE OF THE EMPLOYER'S BUSINESS. But you MAY NOT, you WILL NOT EVER fire or hire based on ANYONE'S sexual orientation. I'll defend that principle to the death. ANY intelligent being would. Gay or straight, it is NOT part of the equation, and that's one reason Chad was so damned off-putting to so many people: He simply would NOT leave the issue alone. If you want to be gay, then be that! Almost no one cares. But do NOT shove it into the faces of your employees or co-workers on an almost hourly basis in the workplace. My Friggin God -- is there anyone left on the planet who does not instinctively seem to grasp this concept? Yes! It's Chad M. Cloke!
I believe this is exactly, precisely the stacked-deck Rhonda was facing in late 2009. She saw it within two months of Chad coming onboard, and I saw the same thing, and so did other managers. It was discussed at length and Rhonda was warned repeatedly that Chad wanted to ruin her for these reasons. Rhonda knew she was being squeezed, so she set out to work even MORE hours, to follow all procedures no matter how anal or counter-productive TO THE LETTER, and to hope to wait out young Master Chadrick until Emerald City saw through him and purged him. She knew that Pizza Hut Inc. would have exorcised Chad's foul smell in only a few months, and while she knew that Emerald City was a poor fifth in competence and professionalism, she felt that even this silly band of misfits would eventually see the liability of keeping Chad around and let him loose as well. They HAD TO, right? What she didn't understand is that the powers at Emerald City Pizza Hut are SO STAGGERINGLY STUPID that to this day they do not seem to have any grasp whatsoever of what Cloke is doing to their company, and I find that gratifying. I hope they keep Cloke on forever. They deserve him. They truly do. And the other thing Rhonda didn't count on was the fact that Emerald City Pizza Hut changes the rules at their whim. Trying to adhere to their ever-changing policies is like trying to win a shell game or a round of three-card Monty. It can rarely, if ever, be done. If Emerald City Pizza is out to get you (read: Chad Cloke), it doesn't seem to matter if you follow every rule to the letter -- he'll simply change the rules and lie about it when you call him on it. Is this just an opinion? No, it's a fact. Just keep reading.
A FEW SPECIFICS
January, 2010; PBR Meeting (Period Business Review -- every 4 weeks) at Redmond Pizza Hut, Redmond, Washington; 8 managers in attendance: A manager named Sharon was struggling to answer a question Cloke had put to her (having to do with her restaurant's performance numbers); Cloke leaned in his chair toward the woman until their faces were less than one foot apart, and he began screaming (not yelling, but actually screaming, as though he was suffering a mental breakdown), berating her, insulting her, demeaning her -- not for her answer, which she had not yet given -- but for her failure to answer the question quickly enough to satisfy him. This continued unabated for three full minutes as the other managers sat, stunned, and watched the tears streaming down her face. Some feared the incident would turn violent and it's fair to say that ALL were extremely uncomfortable. The woman was trying to answer him but every time she tried, Cloke would scream as though he was insane and interrupt her. The harder she tried to answer, the more he screamed, until she was completely distraught, at which time she lapsed into a bout of uncontrollable stuttering. In response to this Cloke moved even closer to her and screamed even more loudly until she totally broke down and sobbed. At this point, no one else had spoken up (for God's sake where are the MEN in this meeting?!) I'm sorry; I would have physically removed Chad Cloke from the room. I'm deeply saddened that no one else stood up for this woman. I don't CARE what her business transgressions were (if any). One does NOT treat another human being like this. ONE. DOES. NOT.
Rhonda realized that there had to be an intervention and she said, "Okay, we need to take a break now." Grudgingly, Cloke said ok. The group departed the room, but Cloke made Sharon stay behind, alone, with him. We don't yet know what transpired during the time Cloke was alone in the room with Sharon. We believe Sharon is a "straight" female.
February, 2010; PBR Meeting (Period Business Review -- every 4 weeks) at Redmond Pizza Hut, Redmond, Washington; Cloke was asking another manager, Lindsay, similar questions. Once again she doesn't answer quickly enough to suit Cloke's spoiled-brat requirements, so Cloke began screaming at Lindsay in the same manner he had used to break Sharon. Lindsay, however, to her credit, interrupts Cloke's maniacal screaming and said, "I don't want to sit here and be treated like this. I want a break." All present then took a break, and the screaming didn't recur at that particular time. We believe Lindsay is a "straight" female". It was Rhonda's belief, on every such occasion, that Cloke enjoyed breaking down females in this manner, that he was disgusted by straight females, that he was sorry he had to interact with them at all, and that he wished he could be dealing with male employees exclusively, albeit only males who were of a certain type.
Shortly after the above incident Lindsay Vail went to Sarah Phinney, the human resources manager in the office, and filed a formal complaint about Chad Cloke. The complaint reportedly never bore fruit.
Three weeks later Lindsay Vail was fired by Chad Cloke.
March, 2010; PBR Meeting (Period Business Review -- every 4 weeks) at Redmond Pizza Hut, Redmond, Washington; Cloke again began asking questions of Sharon. Again she became flustered at his in-your-face rudeness and loud demeanor and cannot answer Cloke quickly enough to suit him. Once again Cloke moves to a position so that his face is less than 12 inches from Sharon's and began his now worn-out tirade of literally screaming (not just yelling) at Sharon's face. Sharon again broke down sobbing but Cloke continued his harassment, utterly heedless of the fact that she was emotionally unable to continue -- I believe Cloke was absolutely aware that Sharon's state prevented her from communicating; that this is what he sought and arranged, and that Cloke revelled in the fact that he had, once again, demonstrated his mastery over a straight female employee and caused her to collapse emotionally. Again, since no one else in the room would intercede, Rhonda approached Cloke calmly and stated that she felt she could help Sharon find the answers to Cloke's screaming barrage of questions. Chad screamed "NO! We don't have time for this fucking bullshit! Sharon should be able to answer the fucking questions!" (these are direct, verbatim quotes, recorded at the time). Rhonda then said, "It's obvious that Sharon hasn't been taught how to do an analysis of her business that would give her access to the answers you want." Chad countered, yelling, "That's a fucking excuse!" Cloke then told Sharon to leave the meeting, go back to her store, and get the answers he's requesting, and that he would meet with her at her store after the meeting. Sharon, still sobbing, walked out of the room, and departed and the meeting continued.
Two weeks after this particular spectacle, Cloke was not happy with the weekly numbers for some of his stores. He called each manager (ALL MANAGERS) and demanded that they individually drive to Redmond for an unscheduled meeting. This was difficult for all managers because it takes so many working employees to run each shift, and managers are working employees, and no one had been given warning of this "emergency meeting" so no manager had scheduled extra help to cover their shifts. Even though a few of the stores DID have good performance numbers for the week, Cloke penalized them also by making them leave their stores and drive to Redmond, saying that he wanted to "punish the managers with good numbers as well as those with bad, so that the managers with good numbers would become angry at the managers with bad numbers, and punish them themselves." Cloke said this; it's a quote. Eight managers witnessed this statement and Rhonda recorded it verbatim.
At this meeting Rhonda said, "What are we doing here? My labor [number] was good." Cloke said, "We are a team and I expect the people who had good results to punish [actual word used] the managers who didn't." Then Cloke began yelling at the entire group (not screaming this time, just unprofessional yelling), saying, "It was fucking ridiculous that you should turn in numbers like that," and he ranted on in this manner for 25 minutes uninterrupted. Cloke offered NO guidance during this period, NO suggestions as to how to improve the problems he perceived, NO instruction. He simply ranted four letter words and insults for a solid 25 minutes. During this time no manager was allowed to speak. Several managers attempted to interrupt the insane raving but Cloke yelled "NO!" In the end this constituted a net loss of productive work in the stores of right at two hours per manager [including travel time], all of which was unscheduled, and ZERO of which was productive in even the smallest, slightest way. This was merely a temper tantrum by a spoiled ass who had come to believe that he OWNED these people and could do with them what he wished. This was doubly an insult to those managers, like Rhonda, who DID have good numbers, but who now must struggle to make up the lost hours in her schedule and to be punished for lower numbers because of it.
April, 2010; PBR Meeting (Period Business Review -- every 4 weeks) at Redmond Pizza Hut, Redmond, Washington; Chad, Justin and Sharon were discussing two young males (employees of the Redmond store). Six managers were present and listening to Chad rank on these two employees. Chad said, "[these two employees] have a yeast infection of the throat." Then Chad laughed like a mentally handicapped child. A few managers tried to chuckle appeasingly, but most were stone-faced and quiet. It's fair to say I don't believe ANY of them thought this was appropriate or even remotely professional, but this is how Cloke interacted at all meetings and if anyone objected Cloke made it known to them that he didn't approve of their objections, that it was HIS meeting and that HE would run it in any way he saw fit. I believe that every single time an employee even accidentally showed displeasure or discomfort at Cloke's incessant and disgusting sexual innuendos, Cloke mentally put a red check next to their name, and if they disagreed with his antics too often, he set out to begin building a fraudulent case against them which he could use later on to support a termination. I believe this is at the core of how Cloke operates every single minute of every single day..
May, 2010; PBR Meeting (Period Business Review -- every 4 weeks) at Redmond Pizza Hut, Redmond, Washington; The meeting room was hot and stuffy; Sharon began fanning her face with a few pages of paper; Chad said to Sharon, "Oh, are you having a hot flash?" A few of the group tried to chuckle appeasingly; most were somber and were probably just hoping this current bout of crude sexual innuendo would just pass so they could get on with the meeting and get away from this unpleasant little man as quickly as possible. Chad then said to the group, "See, I can tease Sharon about these things, but not Rhonda; isn't that right Rhonda?" Rhonda replied, Yes, that's correct." Rhonda felt then and always felt that Cloke was trying to embarrass her and others (straight women), and that he specifically tried to embarrass her, and when she showed discomfort he silently vowed to punish her for it in some obscure way later on.
June, 2010; PBR Meeting (Period Business Review -- every 4 weeks) at Redmond Pizza Hut, Redmond, Washington; The group was discussing employee benefits. One manager had a question that Chad couldn't answer. Chad told the employee he had to contact Sarah in the office for an answer. Chad continued, laughing, "She is gay; there's not a straight female left in the office." A male in the group said, "How do you know?" Chad replied, "It's just something that we're ALL aware of." The comment, "There's not a straight female left in the office," or comments similar to it, were a common theme for Chadrick throughout the miserable year and a half Rhonda knew him. Chad always seemed to show a kind of glee when talking about how the office had been nearly completely taken over by gays, male and female. He was clearly, Rhonda realized, proud of that fact and didn't seem to care who knew his feelings about it. Witnesses to these types of comments abound.
July, 2010; PBR Meeting (Period Business Review -- every 4 weeks) at Redmond Pizza Hut, Redmond, Washington; The group was discussing the hiring zones and learning zones in the stores' computer systems. Chad said to the group, "You're not doing a very good job of keeping up with applicants and Sarah [in the office] has her panties in a bunch." This, specifically, was a common comment for Cloke, regarding Sarah Phinney.
The above represents only a few examples of Cloke's sickening corporate behavior. I've included these merely to set the stage. I have many dozens of documented stunts such as these but I'll not reveal them until we can get this case to a jury. I believe wholeheartedly that Cloke or others at Emerald City Pizza Hut would try to systematically approach all of the witnesses involved and try to convince them to lie and say these things didn't occur; therefore, I'll not give Emerald City or Cloke access to all the documentation I have -- it will all be presented in court. The few instances that are disseminated above are well-witnessed. I don't believe Emerald City or Cloke could buy them all off, but I believe they would try, and I believe the jobs of those witnesses would be forfeit if they didn't go along with Emerald City in these cases. The above quotes aren't "opinions"; they are documented, recorded facts, recorded within minutes of the events, and are accurate. I'll include some number of these incidents in my offer to pay for Cloke's polygraph. I think any professional would immediately get a sense of the character of this (Cloke) by his actions and statements. Personally, I find Cloke's behavior so far below reprehensible that my thesaurus doesn't contain words to describe it. The hatred he has spawned is, I believe, legendary, yet this is the man Emerald City consciously chooses to represent it. I believe this demonstrates the actual soul of this company, and it is a sick and putrid thing.
Service times are a statistic that's extremely important to Pizza Hut and to just about every other business engaged in providing a retail product to the public. Let's say you go to the tire store to buy new tires for your car. If it takes the outfit nine hours to get the tires mounted, that would be considered a "bad" service time. If they get it done in an hour, that's a "good" service time. Same with Pizza. Millions have been spent on formal studies to find out just how long customers are willing to wait before they get angry about the time it takes to receive their product. The more quickly the customer demands that product, the more expensive it's going to be to create and deliver that product. The American consumer is just about the most impatient critter on earth, second only to (and this is documented) Scandinavians -- who are the primary resident of Ballard, Washington, incidentally. Fine people, and I prefer their company to most other peoples -- but proven whiners, all the same.
Scandinavians are some of the toughest, most honorable, most intelligent people on this earth. There are few other people I'd rather go into battle with, or to be amongst in any dire situation, or to have as neighbors. But they're weird. A friend left the US many years ago in search of logic and reason (too many encounters with the Chad Clokes of the world?). He settled in Switzerland. He was riding his bike home from work one night, and several blocks from home the battery in his headlight failed. No problem, he figured -- there was still some light, and he certainly knew the way. He kept on peddling. By the time he reached his driveway the police were waiting for him. He was cited for the headlight and his bike was confiscated. His neighbors had turned him in. This is a common scenario in some parts of Switzerland and other Scandinavian countries. It would be considered unusual in some parts too. Did you know that if you want to move from one apartment, to another apartment across town, you must obtain a permit, and you may only effect the move on certain days, between certain hours? Indeed, Scandinavians can be, well, ODD. And bitchy.
Anyway, Pizza Hut is huge on service times. As it should be.
Fact: Managers cheat. They cheat on all kinds of things in order to look good, in order to keep their jobs, in order to keep the boss off their backs. Different things are easier or harder to cheat on. One of the easiest things to cheat on is service times. Many, many managers cheat on service times, and many, many "area coaches" look the other way. Let's say that a group of restaurants is showing poor service times. The big bosses don't like that, so they begin putting pressure on the area coach, who is directly responsible for squeezing better service times out of the restaurants. The area coach will begin putting pressure on each store with poor times, but pretty soon he'll realize that he's getting all there is to get. Service times cannot GET any better. It's not physically possible. He's done his job and he can do no more; the managers have done their jobs and they can do no more. You can squeeze no more water from this rock. --Trouble is, maybe the big bosses in a certain region ain't too bright. They all have college degrees, but they have little or no real-world experience, so they just keep on pushing for better service times. Better and better and better -- there seems to be no end. If pizzas could be prepped, cooked and delivered in 18 seconds flat, the big brass would demand 16 seconds instead. It's just the way some white collars think.
What's a manager to do? If s/he doesn't improve service times, s/he will be fired. But service times cannot be improved no matter what. It's impossible. So the manager cheats.
What's an area coach to do? S/he knows s/he has gotten all there is to get from the managers, but the big bosses are still pushing, so when the area coach becomes aware that the managers are cheating, s/he looks the other way. This is extremely common, and I believe with all my heart that Chad Cloke has been and is and will continue to look the other way with regard to managers cheating on service times and other performance numbers, and those above him (Beecher) are either too damned stupid to catch him, or they look the other way too. Maybe the only one who ISN'T "on the take" here is the CEO. Or maybe the CEO also looks the other way and this whole thing is just another sleazy corporate game that everyone plays but shouldn't.
There are several ways to find out if a manager is cheating, so if an area coach, a director of operations, or any CEO really WANTED to know who was cheating they could pretty easily find out. But they don't appear to want to really know, and they apparently won't even try to find out. Anyway, here's how to cheat on service times, and this is how most of Emerald City managers are doing it. I'd stake my life on the belief that Cloke knows all this backwards and forwards; he simply CHOOSES not to get to the bottom of it, because that will make his own numbers look bad. Rhonda never cheated. Remember that it used to be HER job to catch managers cheating, and she was very, very good at it.
HOW TO CHEAT ON SERVICE TIMES 101:
A customer calls in and places an order.
The order gets printed out. The service time clock starts the second the order stops printing.
The pizza must be made absolutely as quickly as possible and shoved into the oven. The more quickly a pizza is made and cooked, the more time a driver has to deliver that pizza before the clock runs out and the pizza is deemed "late". Nothing can be done about the time it takes for the pizza to go through the oven. This is finite and cannot be changed without producing crappy pizzas. It is A HOLY RACE to get the pizza INTO the oven, then cut and packaged the second (not the minute, but the SECOND) it comes out of the oven. It is a RACE.
The packaged pizza is now shelved, waiting for a delivery driver who is available to take it. In a perfect world, there'd be twenty delivery drivers standing there, each waiting for an individual pizza to whisk away on golden wings and deliver by air to the happy customer 11 seconds later. In the real world, each restaurant's budget for drivers has been cut to the proverbial quick, and then cut about 60% more, until there are simply not enough drivers to deliver all the pizzas in a timely manner. Competition, skyrocketing taxes (thanks again, D.C.), higher wages, regulation, increasing liability insurance, the price of gas -- all of these things and many more make it impossible to hire enough drivers. There is ALWAYS a shortage of drivers, but all these factors make it too expensive to hire more. So almost every pizza will sit a little while on the shelf until a driver is available, and every microsecond a pizza sits idle brings it closer and closer to being declared "late". The clock is still inexorably ticking.
Once a driver gets the pizza, or a stack of them, it is IMPERATIVE that the driver know the area, and know the very fastest route to the delivery address.
The driver departs, delivers the pizza as quickly as humanly possible, and RACES back to the restaurant.
Once back at the store, the driver must immediately cash in. That means to give the money that he collected from the customer(s) to the management person, who then counts the money and puts the loot in the register and hits the "DONE" button. At that exact INSTANT, the clock on that one pizza stops, and that pizza sale, forever more, is assigned a number -- that number being the amount of time it took for the entire process. If the number is low, all is well, and service times look good. If the number's too high, then the shet hits the fan and people start getting in trouble.
So what's high and what's low?
Pizza Hut figures that anything that takes over 39 minutes from the time the clock started, to the time the clock stops, is too long and is unacceptable. Ideally, you'll have every single delivery take place in under 39 minutes. That would mean your percentage of acceptable deliveries, or "on time percent" is 100%.
But what if one store has a huge delivery area, and another store has a tiny delivery area, or one store's area has light traffic, and another's has heavy traffic, or one store has a new, fast oven, and another store has some crummy old Lincoln, which wasted three minutes on each pizza compared to today's technology? Pizza Hut doesn't formally care. It's within the discretion of the area coach to allow a little leeway for each store, but s/he doesn't "have" to, and there are no set guidelines as to how much leeway should be given. So, let's say, you have a horse's ass for an area coach, like Chad Cloke. And Chad doesn't like certain types of managers (just for fun, let's say that). Chad could then use this inexact system to penalize, or reward, any manager who was in or out of his favor for that particular month (or hour, in Chad's case). And this is done ALL. THE. TIME. All across America.
Do ANY restaurants run 100% "under 39"? Virtually never. So why even attempt to impose this standard? Because it gives upper management a bar to shoot for. It's not EXPECTED that anyone should ever reach this perfect state -- it's just an always-elusive goal to dream about. 80% "under 39" is considered acceptable. Some areas have a far easier time attaining this than others.
Rhonda's average under-39 times in Ballard, one of the largest store-areas in the region, were running low 70 percents. This was an accurate, NON-CHEATING number, always. This was "middle of the pack". Other stores had better numbers because they cheated. A few other stores had better numbers because their trade areas were easier to manage and reach. Some stores had much lower numbers, perhaps because their areas were difficult, geographically, or because they were poorly managed. Some managers cheated and STILL had poorer scores.
So how are these managers cheating, anyway? When "I" look at this system, I don't see any opportunity to cheat, but then my mind is utterly un-devious by nature. I'm a straight-ahead plodder, steady as she goes, always linear in purpose and execution. I had to have this explained to me in minute detail. Let's see if I can correctly represent it here:
When a customer calls in an order, you can "future-time" their ticket. This means that, if you KNOW the order you're taking is going to be late and there's nothing you can do about it, you can set a "fake" delivery time in the computer, and as long as that pizza is delivered by that time, the order will show as delivered ON TIME. Do this for every single order, and you'll have 100% on-time scores, and you'll be a hero. So why not do this for every order and stay out of trouble? Because if you force a "future time" on too many orders, the computer will see it as an aberration and red flag it, which will cause someone to look more closely at your books, and if you're caught cheating, you'll be fired. Many managers know just how many "future time" orders they can get away with, and so they'll use this to make their service time scores look far better than they really are. Every area coach, including Chad Cloke, knows how this is done. "Some" area coaches look the other way, and some companys' directors of operations and CEOs look the other way too, all the way up the chain of command. After all, every CEO wants to report the best possible numbers back to Big Brother Inc., right? So what incentive does a dishonest CEO have to catch cheaters? Seriously, I'm not asking rhetorically.
Here's another sleazy trick:
You can cash in the driver BEFORE HE GETS BACK FROM THE DELIVERY. Really? Yep. You know what the sale was, whether it be a cash or card sale -- you know what the AMOUNT of the sale was, so you just pretend as though the driver has returned already, and you ring through his sale, and the computer will show that his deliveries were all on time -- never mind that they weren't, because he's not even back from the delivery yet, when the clock is supposed to stop. He might still be ten minutes out, so if you've cashed him out early, that pizza, or that stack of pizzas, will show a 100% on-time score. Again you LOOK like a hero, but you're not. You're a scumbag cheater.
Another less common type of fraud is for the store to use a "ghost driver" -- that would be an employee who is not even at work that day, but who is logged into the system, and the computer will show that s/he delivered all kinds of stuff during any times you wish. And you don't even have to pay them.
And so it goes. Using only the top two methods above, you can easily improve your on-time scores by thirty or forty percent without even breaking a sweat, and if an area coach is either stupid, or corrupt, or both, you'll get away with it forever. I believe wholeheartedly that this is exactly what was being done at the West Seattle store before Rhonda arrived there, and was being done at the Ballard store after she left there. Ah, but can I prove it? Let's find out..
When Rhonda ran the Ballard store, service times were in the middle of the pack, relevant to all other restaurants in the area. This is documented fact. Service times are one of the very hardest things to control in any Pizza Hut. A million factors, many of which are utterly beyond the control of the manager, affect service times. Managing service times is like putting a ball on top of a ball and then trying to stand on top of that ball. It's really that hard. Cloke was like a deranged hyena when it came to service times. No service time numbers were good enough for him. Perhaps that shows an area coach who was faithful to the brand. Or perhaps, in Cloke's case, it was simply another tool for him to use to try to purge straight females and others he didn't personally like from "his" workforce. In any case Cloke was on Rhonda like butter on bread about her service times. He yelled and screamed and made a fool of himself several times per week, or even every day, or sometimes several times per day.
There are many ways in which to track, or to look at, or to interpret service times. Over the years Pizza Hut has gone back and forth and back and forth again regarding these various methods of looking at these numbers. But regardless of how it's tracked, it can, and has been, and continues to be, manipulated by dishonest managers. You get a "boss" screaming at you that he's going to rip your lungs out and kill your firstborn because of your poor service times, and a weak manager is likely to just start cheating. They figure they probably won't get caught and they figure that cheating will get some overbearing ass off their backs, and if they're poorly trained they realize that they simply cannot and will not ever attain the kinds of glowing service times the boss is demanding anyway....so they cheat. I estimate that AT LEAST 60% of the stores in Chad Cloke's area cheat on their service times, maybe 75% (Rhonda thinks it's slightly less -- maybe 50%). A competent area coach can reduce the cheating to as little as maybe 25%. I have concrete reason to believe this is very close to accurate. Rhonda, however, never, ever cheated -- that's why her service times were only in the middle of the pack and why Cloke was a screaming demon to her about her service times nearly every time he saw her. The numbers he demanded WERE impossible to attain without cheating. But she wouldn't cheat. So her numbers were average. Not all stores with great service times cheat. Just most.
Rhonda had been turning her store upside down for months, struggling to improve service times by even one or two points. She worked extra hours (up to 64 hrs/wk. now). She used games to try to inspire the drivers to act as though the lives of their children depended upon their getting the product to the customer instantly if not sooner (all without speeding of course because they'd be mercilessly fired for that), and she spent days and weeks researching with other restaurants how to shave milliseconds off service times. Under Cloke's incessant screaming ALL good managers in the area were working hard to improve service times by only slivers of a percentage point. And some stores, run by incompetent managers, simply cheated. I remember a Dominoes delivery driver years ago in California who was late for a delivery and was being scolded by his boss over his cell phone. He pulled over and blew his brains out. THAT is how hard these companies push these kids to get your order to you in record time SO YOU WILL BE HAPPY, but STILL, so many customers scream bloody murder if they even PERCIEVE that their orders are late. I was standing in a Pizza Hut in Federal Way, Washington, about ten years ago, and I watched a woman place an order at the counter, then step aside. I was waiting for someone so I happened to make note of the time. It was 3 minutes after the hour. I stood and waited, and I noticed that this same woman was getting more and more agitated. Finally, she jumped up and stormed to the customer counter, where a person other than the one who'd taken her order was standing, and this woman began yelling at the employee that she had placed her order a full 40 minutes ago and it still wasn't ready and she demanded to speak to the manager! The time was exactly 17 minutes after the hour, or exactly 14 minutes after the order had been placed. This is a ten-times-a-day occurrence in any restaurant. It happens more in Ballard than in most other areas, where union employees of the QFC deli section have often independently related to me that they will pay each other to avoid having to serve their rotations through any Ballard QFC, because the customers in Ballard are simply impossible to please. One cited an ugly incident with an older Swedish man who complained that he had NOT asked for 2.01 pounds of cheese, but for only 2.0 pounds of cheese. He began to loudly complain that he WOULD NEVER PAY FOR THE EXTRA ( fraction of a penny?). The deli person tried to explain that she wouldn't charge him for that one one-hundredth of a pound, but the man wouldn't hear it -- he wanted to speak to the manager. And so it goes in Ballard.
When Rhonda was forced to move from the Ballard store to the West Seattle store, her service times were, as I've said, in the middle of the pack. These were REAL service times, not manufactured, invented or imaginary service times, like were being reported by roughly 60-70% of the area. They were dead-dog, down in the dirt, REAL. Come Hell or high water, Rhonda reported REAL times and numbers. Always. Come what may. Nothing was worth cheating for. Were she cheating, her numbers might have been, say, as much as 30% better. But her numbers were real, so they were only average.
I've harped on this issue. I hope it's clear.
Service times were great at the West Seattle store before Rhonda was transferred there.
But when Rhonda got there, they fell 30% in three days.
Whoa! What in the hell is going on? How could this happen?
Answer: Could it be that for the first time in a long time, service times were being reported ACCURATELY?
Chad seized upon this opportunity to berate and belittle Rhonda to an extent that no one should have ever endured. His insolent, foul-mouthed insults continued night and day, unceasingly, obnoxiously, belligerently, unendingly. He threatened to fire her over these new services times. He called her names. He simply would not let up.
Cloke also threw it in her face that service times at her old restaurant in Ballard had IMPROVED by 38% in three days.
Whoa! What in the Hell is going on? Rhonda must be the worst manager on the face of the earth!
Or could it be.....let's see.
What IS going on here after all! I mean, the employees at the Ballard store were the exact same employees and drivers who were there when Rhonda was there. She had spent months trying to squeeze another one or two percent of performance out of these people and couldn't really do it. She had pushed them as far or farther than they could be pushed. She was getting every single ounce and gram they had to give. Period. In the three days since she'd left, the schedule hadn't even changed. A brand new manager had been brought into the store, which usually spells a period of poor performance while he or she gets control of the place and gets things rocking again. But THIS new manager at Ballard, using the same employees on the same schedule with NO OTHER CHANGES TO ANYTHING....manages to improve these ever-elusive scores by a staggering, whopping, colossal, record-breaking THIRTY EIGHT PERCENT IN THREE FiCKING DAYS! My Lord God, how could this be?
And on Rhonda's end, using the old manager's same employees at West Seattle, on the same schedule as was dictated by the old manager, with NO OTHER CHANGES WHATSOEVER, manages to DROP the service time scores by a whopping, staggering, colossal, record-breaking THIRTY PERCENT!? Say it ain't so!
This just doesn't make any sense whatsoever, does it?
Let's see now.
Rhonda gets transferred to West Seattle from Ballard, and the West Seattle guy gets transferred from West Seattle to Ballard.....
This is truly rocket science because it's making my brain hurt. How about yours?
Oh! I know!
Could THIS explain it? The numbers at West Seattle weren't REAL, but now they are!
And the numbers at Ballard WERE real, but now they AREN'T!
Oh my Fecking God! That was SO hard to figure out!
Wow! I'm lucky I have seven whole brain cells to rub together, else I would have NEVER gotten THAT one.
But I do have seven brain cells. Maybe even ten. And I'm eternally sorry that Mike Beecher doesn't seem to have that many because HE STILL DOESN'T GET IT! HE STILL THINKS THE GUY IN BALLARD IS JUST THAT GOOD! Mike Beecher actually believes this! He MUST, because he said as much recently in a public setting, and that's a fact! What a stupid, stupid son of a bitch!
If FERRETS had been installed as managers of both of these restaurants the service time numbers wouldn't have changed by ten percent either direction in the following two weeks. A change of 30-38% in only three days in both stores means one thing and one thing only. Emerald City Pizza: OPEN YOUR EYES AND SEE. Even YOU cannot possibly be THIS damned dumb! Cloke has pulled the proverbial wool over your eyes since day-one and you STILL haven't figured it out! Perhaps when the sworn testimony begins rolling out of the witness box you'll get a clue! Or perhaps not even then!
Take a Freshman course in beginner's logic and this will all become clear. Is there one single human being in this company engaging in one single minute of critical thinking in any given freaking YEAR?! Critical thinking! For God's sake look it up!
Wait -- I said Mike Beecher, didn't I? Wasn't I supposed to say CHAD CLOKE, because, after all, Chad Cloke was Rhonda's immediate boss, and Mike Beecher is supposedly Chad Cloke's superior?
But, see, the problem is, I think Chad Cloke KNEW that his self-confessed best friend, the new guy at Ballard, was cooking the books (we can find no other explanation for the discrepancies, though we'd LOVE to see the numbers in a controlled experimental environment), and he didn't care -- in fact he liked it, and I think he encouraged it, and I think he helped, because anything that made Rhonda look BAD, was GOOD in Cloke's book. I think Cloke lied to Beecher about this and I think Beecher was and IS too G--damned stupid to figure it out. In fact, I KNOW Beecher is too stupid to figure this out because just a few days ago Beecher stepped up to the owner of another large franchise and cautioned him not to hire Rhonda because she dropped service times at West Seattle by 30% in three days while service times in her old store at Ballard improved by 38% in three days and this stupid, stupid son of a bitch thinks that these are real numbers. A boss this idiotic has NO BUSINESS overseeing ANYONE -- not even the security guard at the corner lemonade stand, let alone crafty little Cloke who seems to be a master at this crap. A man this naive has, in my considered opinion, NO BUSINESS IN BUSINESS! A man this thick of wit and slow of intellect needs to be, to my way of thinking, folding clothes in a G--damned Chinese laundry somewhere because he ain't suited for any other job and he'd probably fail at that one too. And if he doesn't like my commentary he can go feck himself with a dry stick. By God I have had a belly-full of the stupid sons of bitches at Emerald City Pizza Hut. I really, really have. ECP fires the good and caters to the worthless and even when it's spelled out to them they STILL don't get it. I believe any jury will agree.
Let's call this "EWS" (the "Eastern Washington Syndrome"). There are some smart folks over there. I had a Spokane engineer build me a custom airplane once when we owned an airport there. He may have been the last remaining sentient being and he forgot to lock the gate when he left.
Why so hard on poor Mike Beecher? Because it was MIKE BEECHER'S JOB TO SEE TO IT THAT CLOKE DIDN'T DO WHAT HE HAS DONE, and not only did Beecher apparently NOT DO HIS JOB, he continues to willingly, consciously, purposefully CONTRIBUTE to the wrong that's been done here by attempting to keep Rhonda from finding new employment and by slandering her. Does this imbecile have no inkling of the liability he has and continues to bring down on ECP's head? Truly? Is this man really this embarrassingly stoopid? It can't be! NO ONE could be this inept and clueless. It MUST be impossible. And yet Terry Hopkins (aka Tony the Tiger) keeps these people on. Who could ask for a more accommodating adversary? Terry's own hand-picked fools are in the view of many destroying the company FOR US, from the INSIDE OUT! This is the epitome of almost all eastern Washington businesses we ever encountered there and it's why we gave up trying to live there after only a few months. The stupidity was outright palpable! I swear to God you could feel it in the air.
Cloke is an entity who appears to be ruled by his emotions. I believe he is manic/depressive and he controls his urges badly or not at all. I'm convinced he has a temper problem that leads him to violence (keep reading).
Managers didn't only get fired by Cloke, they quit him, in spades. They asked for transfers first, but were always denied by panties-in-a-bunch Sarah. Other managers, Justine Ford and Robert Casto to name only a couple, are two managers who quit in disgust over Cloke's bad management. Both had specifically requested a transfer out of Chad Cloke's area (anywhere out of Cloke's area) because they could not work for the ass any longer. They were denied transfers; they had no other recourse but to quit. Ford wrote a termination letter to Emerald City Pizza Hut when he quit, citing many of the exact same issues we're discussing here and more we haven't even touched on, yet as far as anyone can tell, Emerald City simply blew it off because Clokes behavior wasn't altered one whit, and he continued to fire good managers and good managers continued to quit because of him. This is typical of Emerald City's head-in-the-sand approach to business. I believe that someday, people who start businesses that involve the employment of others, will be required by law to undergo training to try to introduce to them the simple concepts of logic and decency and law -- things that Emerald City Pizza Hut apparently has not even a rudimentary grasp of. For God's sake, I have never seen a corner lemonade stand run this badly.
By this time, mid 2010, Rhonda knew she was in a fight for her career. Cloke's demeanor toward her was outright threatening. Nothing pleased him. His behavior caused her fear and alarm. She began to realize that he was attempting to set her up to be fired. She had challenged him several times at company meetings with regard to his treatment of other managers, and Cloke couldn't tolerate this. She had cited company policy to him when he tried to convince her to only enforce certain rules, some of the time. Cloke was on her more and more and more about her high salary, complaining about it, suggesting continually that upper management didn't like it, yet also continually trying to get her to transfer to stores with smaller volumes which could support her salary even more poorly.
With regard to Cloke's arbitrary picking and choosing of which company policies to strictly adhere to or blatantly ignore, here are a few of countless examples:
Company policy states: Quote: "The opening manager in charge must count the funds from the previous day and prepare a deposit including the deposit slip, reflecting the exact amount of sales since the time of last deposit, and then complete the appropriate portion of the deposit log. Only the RGM, assistant managers are allowed to compile or transport deposits. When this occurs, the appropriate portion of the deposit log must be completed. If and when the manager on duty is not able to drive, they may be allowed to be driven by an approved Emerald City Pizza driver." End quote.
On 10-5-10 Rhonda received a written warning from Chad Cloke. Chad stated, "Rhonda was signing the deposit log in her own name but a driver was taking the deposits to the bank." At the moment Chad tendered this written warning, he said, quote: "It is fine if the driver goes to the bank, but his name must appear on the deposit log." So while Cloke was accurately stating the policy above, he was also telling her it was ok to ignore part of the policy -- the part about a driver being allowed to take the deposit to the bank. This was a common theme in Cloke's management style; he simply ignored policies that he didn't like, yet ruthlessly enforced policies he happened to personally like or agree with, or which he thought could be used to set certain managers up for eventual firing. He would assure them it was ok to do a thing, then fire them for doing that thing and lie about it when confronted.
During this same time frame, Tara Spears, a shift manager for Emerald City Pizza Hut, returned from a shift at the Redmond Pizza Hut, and during a subsequent management meeting at the Ballard store, the deposit logs and banking procedures were being discussed. Tara related that during a previous shift at Redmond, Cloke specifically and clearly told her that it was 'ok' for the driver to take deposits to the bank as long as that driver's name was entered in the log. We have reason to believe that Cloke told at least several other managers this same thing, and we will be interviewing all the mangers who will speak to us in the near future, over the summer and fall of 2011.
Why was it important to send a driver to make deposits, rather than to have the managers do it themselves? In Rhonda's case, it was sometimes difficult to find English-speaking employees at the wages Emerald City paid. Employees who didn't speak English could not answer phones or take orders -- therefore, the manager had to remain in the restaurant and perform those duties. However, a non-English speaking employee COULD very well take a deposit to a bank and drop it and walk away. This was merely a way to keep the restaurant operating. Cloke was exceedingly specific with regard to how much labor a manager was allowed to use to open their stores. Chad's idea of how much labor it required to open a store was night and day from Pizza Hut Inc., and we're not yet sure if Chad's ideas are even in line with Emerald City's ideas. For instance, it was Chad's idea that no restaurant would be allowed to have an opening cook come in in the morning. The restaurant opened at 11 a.m., yet no cook was allowed to be on duty before that. Obviously, a cook was needed to set up the kitchen and get things ready to go by opening time, but Chad decreed that no cook was allowed to come in before opening time. Sounds a little bizarre, right? You ain't seen nothin' yet. Chad not only disallowed an opening cook, he disallowed ANY COOK.....before, say, 3 p.m.
Now wait a minute!
Pizza Hut opens at 11 a.m. Orders are piling up often long before the official open time -- perhaps a company had scheduled 20 pizzas to be delivered by 11:30, and you needed to start making those pizzas at 10 a.m. in order to get them delivered on time. So how can you operate a business that cooks food, if the cook isn't allowed to come in until as late as 3 p.m.? This was Chad's personal brainstorm. Why? Because the man is a fecking imbecile. How did all the pizzas get cooked if there was no cook on duty? Along with all other management duties, like cash counting, preparing the dough, setting up the make-table with veggies and meats, setting up the cut table, making and logging the deposit, and answering the phones and taking orders, the lone manager was also expected to cook the food. Remember that no one was allowed to even enter the restaurant before 10 a.m., so all these duties had to be performed simultaneously, in one hour or less, by......whom? One person: The Manager. A driver was allowed to come in at 10:30, but the driver's duties were relegated mostly to making sauces, cleaning the parking lots, etc. In a normal, rational, logical pizza environment, like Pizza Hut Inc., the cook would arrive about 9:15 am. and would begin all of the above. At 10:00 the general manager would come in. At 10:30 the opening driver would come in, so there were three people working in concert to take early orders, and wake the business up and make sure it was producing at exactly 11 a.m. This was Inc's method of startup, and it was Emerald City's method of startup. Even with this labor allowance, it was a veritable road-race to get the restaurants up and running properly by opening time at 11. But enter, stage left, the venerable Chad M. Cloke, who thought he was smarter than everyone else on the planet, smarter than the best minds at Inc., smarter than every other franchisee out there, smarter than even his bosses at Emerald City, and he decreed that opening labor Shall Be Cut to the point where the job could no longer be done. And then he bitched and screamed that the job was no longer being done.
We've spoken to reps of Inc. and other franchises, and all have agreed that such a policy is lunacy. I believe that ANY manager will agree that it is documentably impossible, under Chad's stupid decree, to get everything done to enable the store to open, and also cut as much as 30 minutes of that productive setup time to go to the bank. The depositor isn't allowed to merely drop the deposit and run -- it is decreed that they stand in line at the bank and wait to make the deposit in person. Think about the manager who has an entire restaurant to wake up and get running in one hour, who can't possibly do a good job of accomplishing that, yet who must now cut 20 or 30 minutes from that allotted time to go to the bank! And that manager knows, all the time they're standing in line while the teller chats with her friends about the weather or the Royal Couple, that s/he will be screamed at by Cloke for not having everything done by 11! The manager's employees have been taken from them, their setup time has been reduced to nothing, and now they must blow half of it waiting in line. It's beyond absurd. Such a policy shows, I believe, an outright and total lack of any common sense on the part of the person making such a stupid rule -- namely, Chad M. Cloke, fool extraordinaire.
In any case, remember this line from a few paragraphs above, because it will become the most pivotal line in this website:
Chad Cloke quote, verbatim, made to Rhonda after lunch on October 5th, 2010:
"It is fine if the driver goes to the bank, but his name must appear on the deposit log." Remember this line.
Picking and choose which policies to enforce or ignore: Employees need to know what is expected of them. If the powers that be constantly change the rules, EVERYONE will fail. Cloke does not seem to grasp this.
Here's another example:
Pizza Hut's uniform policy states: "All Pizza Hut employees must wear a Pizza Hut hat. Male employees must be clean-shaven except they may have a neatly trimmed mustache and/or a neatly trimmed goatee."
There are many other dress-code policies, but these are the ones we're concerned with at the moment. Rhonda adhered strictly to these policies and always had, and as a result she always scored high on uniform-related inspection scores. When Rhonda was transferred from the $12,000/week store at Ballard, to the $9,000/week store in West Seattle, the uniform conformity was nearly non-existent and had been for a long time. It appeared that uniform and grooming standards had been almost completely ignored. For instance, most or all male employees had shaving issues; many did not wear hats at all; many were wearing filthy shorts and aprons; there were many facial piercing issues, which is something that Emerald City had ferociously enforced at Rhonda's Ballard store, but which had been utterly ignored at the West Seattle store, which was run by a self-admitted friend of Chad's. Rhonda began gently pushing for compliance after a few weeks of an introductory period. Uniforms had to be brought in because the restaurant had none in stock. Employees who were asked to comply with uniform, shaving and cleanliness standards began to immediately complain to Chad, because no standards had ever been enforced in the past and they were shocked and outraged that enforcement was upon them now. One employee in particular, a young man named Zach, complained bitterly about the uniform standards, saying that in his view, employees would be happier and more productive if they weren't required to wear hats, tuck in shirts, or shave at all. This was a formal complaint to Chad, believe it or not. This is the type of employee that had been hired and kept on at this store prior to Rhonda's arrival, and I submit that this is the very type of employe that is every employer's worst nightmare. The employees who complained were "like" Chad -- they were loud, boisterous, obnoxious, and it seemed that Chad liked them and was willing to grant them special treatment. In fact, that turned out to be exactly the case when Chad came to Rhonda and told her to stop enforcing the uniform, grooming and cleanliness issues. Many of the employees had been staging a sick-out, and Cloke came to Rhonda and told her that the employees were doing that as a means of punishing her for enforcing the regular policies, therefore the employees should be allowed to win. Rhonda was shocked, because Cloke had FIERCLY enforced these policies at her Ballard store, which was staffed by quiet, hard-working people whom Chad did not like.
Is this bizarre enough for you? It gets even better:
SEX, LIES AND VIDEOTAPE
At the West Seattle store there was a shift-manager trainee named Max who refused to wear a Pizza Hut hat; he would only wear his own personal hat, which looked nothing even remotely like a Pizza Hut hat. While it's perfectly ok to not like your uniform, and probably very few people DO like their uniform, it's also universally acknowledged that if you want to be hired, you must agree to wear said uniform, and that if you want to STAY hired, you must continue to wear said uniform. But that concept was beyond this guy, and it proved to be beyond Chad Cloke as well because Cloke said point-blank that a "custom" hat be procured (Chad would have it custom manufactured with a Pizza Hut logo on it) for this employee, and that he, and he alone, be allowed to wear a non-standard hat. Why? No one ever knew, except Chad Cloke. Normally, you'd give such a guy a series of warnings, then fire him. After all, he was told verbally and in writing when he was hired that part of the reason he was being hired and paid was that he agreed to wear the Pizza Hut uniform. But Max figured "he" was different, and for some strange, unknown reason, Chad thought the guy was special too. Why? I really want to know.
Early Fall, 2010: Rhonda had hired a nice young man, age 18 or 19, slender, clean-cut, effeminate-looking, as a part time cook. His name was Patrick (last name on file). Patrick had worked at the restaurant only two short shifts. Chad had never seen him. Chad had never met him. Chad had no idea who he was or how long he had worked there. Chad had no idea if this was a good employee, or a bad employee. Chad walked into the restaurant, saw the kid walk by, and turned to Rhonda. Immediately Chad said, "PROMOTE HIM! MAKE HIM A SHIFT MANAGER AS SOON AS YOU CAN!"
Rhonda was taken aback, and she said... "What?"
Chad then became very animated and said very loudly, "PROMOTE HIM!" And he pointed to the kid. Chad then became obnoxiously excited, even alarmingly excited.
Rhonda said, "We will see how his performance is BEFORE we promote him."
Chad said, "Just start training him right now. I want him promoted up as soon as you can do it. I want him promoted up." Chad continued to excitedly look at this kid for the duration of his stay at the restaurant that day.
There's more to the Patrick story: Shortly after the above paragraph transpired, Chad announced that there would no longer be any management personnel at Emerald City Pizza (including even shift supervisors) who were (a) in college, or (b) who didn't have a car, or (c) who wanted to work only part time.
This was nuts.
Rhonda countered by saying that she was afraid she would lose a lot of good people if Chad enforced that new policy. Chad shrugged. Rhonda reminded him that she didn't have a car herself. Chad said, "Why not, you can certainly afford one!" Rhonda replied that she didn't have a car because she lived one block from her store, and that she had moved to her present home explicitly so she could walk to work and not need a car. Chad shrugged. Rhonda reminded Chad that one of her best management people also didn't have a car, didn't want a car, and wanted to return to school and go down to part time. Chad replied, vehemently, "NO! Absolutely not!" Rhonda said, "Well, we might lose [her]." He shrugged and said, "OK."
Then Rhonda reminded Chadrick that Patrick, the young kid Chad had apparently fallen in lust with and wanted to promote to management "immediately", was also in college, and was working part time, and only wanted part time. She asked Chad what he would do about Patrick. The group of managers listening to this then sat forward in their chairs, eager to see what kind of nonsensical thing Chad would spout forth this time. How could Chad answer? He couldn't, so Chad replied, "We'll discuss this at a later time." And further discussion was terminated. Shortly thereafter, Rhonda was transferred to West Seattle. Patrick was placed into management training by Chad, against his own so-vehemently expressed policies, policies that had already cost Rhonda some of her very best people, and Patrick remains in management training today, as of this writing many months later, even though he STILL reportedly has no car, is going to school, and only works part time.
Is this still not enough for you? Remember "Max" the guy at West Seattle who wouldn't wear a hat? Max didn't have a car either, and expressed that he had no desire to, or intention of, getting one. Chad was perfectly fine with that scenario, yet Chad merely shrugged when told that Tara, a straight female, would probably quit if she was forced to buy a car and stay on full time instead of returning to school. Is this flat-out, blatant discrimination? Of course it is, and it's civilly actionable and it WILL be included in Rhonda's civil suit against Emerald City Pizza Hut. These people are simply over the damned top. Chad cost this company one of its very brightest management people (Tara), yet conspicuously retained an idiot like Max. How to explain this? In Chad's mind there MUST be a reason. What is it?! I want to know, and I'm betting I sooner or later find out. Or should I just blurt out the obvious.
Still not enough insanity for you? REALLY? Still not enough?
Chad ALSO promoted to management an effeminate-looking gay man named Billy, even though Billy doesn't have a car.
Tara, a straight female, gets the boot.
Max, a certified, card-carrying doofus, gets to stay, contrary to Chad's own vehemently enforced policies for "other" employees.
Billy, a nice gay kid, gets to stay, contrary to Chad's own vehemently enforced policies for "other" employees..
Would you like another few dozen such instances? No problem. But first read the following paragraph:
Performance Review, March 12, 2011: Chad gave Rhonda a "Below Target" on her annual performance review. This cost her money due to a denied raise, and it also served to help lay the groundwork for a wrongful termination. Chad cited this observation: "There have been several instances where you have hired NICE people that were not a good fit for our company." Does Chad mean that Rhonda hired too many people that weren't gay? I believe that's exactly what he meant. Rhonda hired absolutely irregardless of religion, race, or sexual orientation. It's far too difficult to find ANYONE who will reliably perform a day's work for a lousy wage, without limiting your options by culling out certain races or religions or any other strata. She would hire ANYONE who could do the job, and some of her very best people, in many different restaurants and many different states, were gay. But I do believe that the fact that she wouldn't hire gay people simply BECAUSE they were gay, ticked Chad off, and you have to wonder at a mentality that operates like that. I think we can prove this in court.
February, 2011; PBR Meeting (Period Business Review -- every 4 weeks) at Redmond Pizza Hut, Redmond, Washington; It is a long-standing Pizza Hut Inc. standard, and as far as anyone knows it has been the standard of all franchises everywhere, that restaurants are to "pre-sauce and cheese" unbaked pizzas in order to more readily facilitate the quick and efficient processing or orders when they come in and time is short. Restaurants were allowed to hold these pre-sauced pizzas for four (4) hours, tops. If you pre-sauced too many and they weren't ordered and cooked within those 4 hours, you had to throw them out. This is a pretty standard standard for many types of restaurants -- McDonalds comes to mind at first, but I think Arbys and just about every one else has a policy like this. It is, therefore, important to be able to predict how many pizzas you might sell in any given time-block. If you sell too many, you won't have enough pre-sauced pizzas to quickly fill those orders; sell too few, and you throw away product, which comes out of your store's profit and loss, which affects your bonuses, and your boss's bonuses, and all sorts of cascading numbers all down the line. It was being discussed among the managers at this meeting, the methods they use for making sure no pre-sauced pizzas expired and then got accidentally used. The managers were making stacks of pre-sauced pizzas and marking the time they would expire onto little tags and placing those onto each stack of pizzas. The managers expressed that this was a pain and they were looking for better ways of tracking the pre-sauced pies. Chad said (note the quotes), "Just change the times on the tags and keep them all until closing, and if anyone ever says I said this I'll deny it." Well Chadrick, you can deny it all you want. The polygraph will tell us the truth (along with all those pesky witnesses). This question, and many others, will be included in my offer to pay for Cloke's polygraph. After all, he will certainly want to clear all this up, and make $5000 besides, right? Of course he will. It's a no-brainer.
Rhonda steadfastly refused to keep pre-sauced pizzas beyond 4 hours, and this irked Cloke to no end.
But think about the impact to your lovely dinner due to an outrageous anti-Inc. policy such as this! Imagine, the crew makes the dough at, say, 10:30 a.m., sauces it, cheeses it, and then sticks it away to sit for over TWELVE HOURS! Then you come along, of course, and buy it with hard-earned money, and what you get is a nasty product, virtually devoid of sauce and topped with dried-out cheese. Why would our Chadrick adopt a policy such as this? It's a FACT that he did this, but for God's sake WHY? Because it saves money. But why does Chadrick care about saving Emerald City Pizza some money? Because Chadrick's BONUSES are dependent upon on how much money he can save. I believe that half the bone-headed decisions this idiot made (and continues to make as of this writing) were geared to increasing his bonus, and to hell with the company as a whole. I believe he has systematically gutted this business, at least in his area, by cutting corners that should NEVER be cut, by firing the best employees (or driving them to quit), by catering to the worst and most dishonest employees, and in a million other little ways that won't show up until the business comes down like a house of cards in a breeze because its structure, its very substance, its foundation and its BONES have been removed by Cloke as surely as a building can be ruined silently and invisibly but oh-so-effectively by termites.
But what about the OTHER half of the bone-headed decisions Cloke has made? He made those bone-headed decisions merely because he's bone-headed, and I think he has an agenda, an agenda which involves "stocking" his area with "possibles". Possible whats? Possible sexual mates, most of whom must be loud, stupid, arrogant, effeminate and white, like Cloke himself.
Speaking of lying and liars, we'll ask you to carefully read the following two emails from Chad Cloke to the entire region, sent February 15, 2011, and February 16, 2011, respectively. There's only one problem with these two public communications. What's the problem? Rhonda DID schedule 3 drivers for February 14th, 2011. It's documented. It's easily proven in court. It WILL be proven in court. There's only one place that Cloke could have gotten Rhonda's schedule from -- her schedule! He looked at it, saw that three drivers were scheduled, but then blatantly lied in these two emails, for the express purpose of humiliating Rhonda, and to help build a case against her with his superiors so that there would be little fallout when (not if) he finally fired her. Read the emails, then we'll pick up the discussion again:
For those with crappy monitors, we've OCR'd the appropriate text:
"Gee thanks Rhonda, for only scheduling two drivers last night......Nice job yesterday (well, except for Rhonda whom only scheduled two drivers....ARGH!). In case anyone is wondering, because Rhonda only scheduled two drivers last night, that brought the area's under-39 down by over five points. Maybe we should all call her and remind her of how great it is to make everyone else look bad because she only scheduled two drivers last night."
"We had another great night last night, with even Rhonda improving under-39 times for the day. I wonder if she figured out that two delivery drivers on any day is a recipe for disaster."
Now, let's recap, because these two emails, taken alone, unto themselves, are enough to file and win a civil suit for defamation and libel (slander is defamation generally deemed to be through spoken word). Cloke's statements were untrue, he HAD to have known they were untrue (there's no way he could have thought they were true), and he consciously, willfully ignored the truth and disseminated these statements publicly for the sole and express purpose of humiliating Rhonda and causing harm to her professional reputation. Any individual who would perpetrate such an evil and disgusting act is a piece of human garbage for whom there is no room on this green Earth. Society simply doesn't need this kind of outrageous fraud. Society is choking on this crap, barely keeping its head above water as it is, and yet imbeciles like Cloke come along and seem to think they can perpetrate this type of nonsense with impunity. Let me be clear what we're alleging here: Chad Cloke is a liar. Chad Cloke lies. Chad Cloke has lied for the purpose of defaming and libelling Rhonda, and for the purpose of bamboozling his superiors into thinking Rhonda's performance was lacking when it was not. I believe Cloke has made literally hundreds and hundreds of such false and derogatory comments to his superiors and to the general office staff for the express purpose of building a false case against Rhonda so that he could fire her without just cause and get away with it. The type of childish harassment shown above was typical behavior for Cloke on almost every single day beginning in late 2009. You might think that Rhonda would have been compelled to confront Cloke about these lies and she did. The following day she called Cloke and asked him why he had lied about the driver scheduling, and informed him bluntly that in point of FACT, three drivers WERE scheduled and he knew that full well. Cloke replied, "So?" This is a verbatim quote, logged at the moment of the call. THIS is the mentality that's in charge of eight of Emerald City's Pizza Huts and I submit this man wouldn't survive two weeks as head waiter at Burger World, yet he positively thrives at Emerald City Pizza.
Retail sales is a hard job. But the job itself IS pleasing the customers, even the difficult, even the insane, even the rude, and perhaps even the threatening ones too. When a customer is rude, insane, impossible to please, a retail sales employee is expected to BE NICE. I was always impressed by Patrick Swayze's portrayal of the bar bouncer in Road House. "If the customer is drunk," he said, "you will be NICE. If the customer is violent, you will be NICE. If the customer needs to be thrown out on his ass, you will do it NICELY." Okay, so that's not EXACTLY what he said but it's the message that counts here. I remember working on tugs in British Columbia as a kid, towing log booms up and down the Georgia Strait. We could only tow flat booms in PERFECT weather, and the weather there was often far from perfect, so we spent a lot of time in logging-town bars, often overflowing with drunken Indians and drunker loggers. There was no end to the entertainment. In the outback areas, the bartender did the dirty work of being barkeep AND bouncer. In the more established towns, like Powell River for example, the Mounties (RCMP) were usually called to take care of the more serious problems. I remember sitting in such a bar in Powell River -- the same bar I met my Klahawnee Indian wife in -- and watching as a couple of loggers and a couple of local Indians (my wife's relatives, as it turned out) took exception to one another for some reason unknown to us, and a brawl broke out. The Mounties were called and since their station was only half a block away they arrived quickly. The drunks were still rolling around and throwing punches when the Mounties arrived, but it was clear one of the drunks was the instigator and the Mounties correctly surmised that if they could subdue that one irritant they'd have snuffed out the blaze. I sat three tables away and watched in amazement as two HUGE Mounties politely informed the Indian that if he was intent upon continuing to throw punches they would really have no choice but to thump him with their nightsticks, and they apologized in advance for the possibility that that might be required. The Indian ignored them and he was duly thumped, and then the Mounties apologized to him for their rough behavior and asked politely if he wouldn't like to reconsider his behavior. He said something foul and commenced to swinging again, at which time the Mounties apologized to him, then thumped him rather savagely a few times, then apologized to him for having been forced to do that, then again asked him if he'd like to reconsider his behavior. He took longer to decide this time, but did recommence his antisocial behavior. You'd think at this point the Mounties would say to hell with it and just thump the ass into oblivion and haul him off and be done with it. But they didn't. They repeated their nice routine about four more times, and finally the Indian did agree that he was ready to reconsider his unsociable behavior, and they lead him calmly out of the bar. They crowd applauded gently, and in those few moments I learned the true definition of professionalism and class and I have struggled my entire life to emulate those fine gentlemen. Sadly, sometimes I have failed. But the point is, when you have accepted the position of PROFESSONAL, you must BECOME a professional. It seems Chad Cloke ain't one; he will never be one; it ain't in his genes and it ain't in his character and it ain't in his upbringing and he ain't capable of learning how to be a professional ANYTHING except a professional foolish jackass. But Rhonda IS a retail professional, and she treated even the most abhorrent customers calmly, logically, and politely. Unfortunately, sometimes in this society of spoiled brats, retail customers don't respect even that, and will do their utmost to destroy the person whom they feel is responsible for ruining their life by putting one less pepperoni on their pizza than they believe they're entitled to.
Customers very often file false complaints. Pizza Hut makes it easy for customers to file complaints, and that may be a mistake because there are many cases in which a customer has no problem at all with a purchased meal, but if someone comes along and virtually pesters them to think of something, anything about it that wasn't absolutely perfect, they often can. And they will. And that causes grief for everyone.
In December of 2010 (12-20), Mr. Chadrick came into Rhonda's store and announced that he was giving her a written warning for being rude to a customer. Rhonda had NOT been rude -- the customer had been a jackass and Rhonda had shown beyond superhuman restraint and dignity as she always had. Chad seemed to acknowledge this but said (quote) "It's not whether you were actually rude, it's whether the customer THINKS that you were rude." Rhonda replied that there was no way she could defend against that -- any customer could claim anyone was rude at any time, and even if the employee wasn't rude in the slightest, Chad was going to punish them and that was that. It was, she insisted, just plain wrong. Chad didn't agree, and wrote her up for being rude. It was the FIRST warning she had received for customer complaints in 27 years, in many states, and in dozens of restaurants. Had Chad been a logical, intelligent, normal, fair-minded human being, she wouldn't have received a warning then either. In any case she choked down the warning and went on about her job.
Cloke appeared to continue his crusade to try to set Rhonda up for termination, and he nitpicked her performance to absolute death -- far beyond the norm, and far beyond what was fair and reasonable. He lied about her to his superiors, and by this time Chad's superiors had been feeding on the frenzy that Chad had created and nursed so blindly that I believe they no longer knew the truth or cared; they had become a wild lynch mob, bent on Rhonda's destruction at any cost, and no semblance of truth or fact had any part in their illogical thinking. You see this kind of thing in Middle School often enough, and I submit that that is exactly the mentality that drives the folks in the Emerald City Pizza Hut office, from Chad Cloke, right on up the chain to the fool on the hill, Terry Hopkins.
On March 11, 2011, Chad appeared in Rhonda's store again and announced he was again writing her up for customer complaints. Here's the incident he was referring to:
Three orders came in through the Internet ordering system at 11 a.m. during lunch rush, with delivery to be effected at noon; two of the orders were large orders to feed a group. Orders that come in with a delivery to be set at a future hour are not printed by the system and given to the cooks until just before those orders are due, at least in the West Seattle store. Since the large Internet orders didn't print until just before they were due (great system, Emerald City) there was no time to prepare the orders before the customers wanted them. Immediately after the orders printed, Rhonda contacted two of the customers and explained the problem, promising that she could have them delivered at a slightly later time. These two customers were fine with this arrangement. The third customer, however, did not answer her phone throughout a 20 minute period of time while Rhonda tried repeatedly. The first two orders were rushed and cooked and given to the driver. As these two orders were going out the door the third customer called in and asked about her order, which was now less than ten minutes late. This customer was beyond rude -- she was acting insanely. She used a plethora of foul language, every four-letter word one can imagine and a few one cannot imagine. Rhonda merely took the abuse and the insults and the language and the threats and allowed them as water to roll off a duck's back -- I have never known anyone with such an uncanny ability to do this by the way -- and she maintained absolute professional class in her interaction with this disgusting woman. Rhonda was actually still on the phone with her, a bit less than five minutes after she had called in, when two of Rhonda's drivers went through the door carrying this woman's order. It would be delivered within approximately ten minutes after that. Rhonda informed the woman of this fact, and the woman replied, "Thanks for nothing." And slammed down the phone. Unfortunately, this kind of reprehensible behavior is extremely common by "the public" and this was, if you've never worked in retail, a pretty mild event. Many exchanges with customers are twenty three times more unpleasant.
Seven minutes after this customer hung up, she called back in and complained that her order hadn't arrived yet. Again the customer was yelling incoherently, cursing, threatening, griping -- the usual. The woman at this point screamed that she wanted to just cancel her order because her guests were leaving. Rhonda remained exceedingly polite and asked nicely if the customer would like to go ahead and cancel the order -- in that case, Rhonda explained, she would try to reach the drivers and have them turn around. The woman didn't answer, but again slammed down the phone. A few minutes later the drivers returned and Rhonda asked them if they had delivered the pizzas and been paid, and they replied that they had. Later that afternoon, after the lunch rush, Rhonda decided to call the woman. She didn't answer (again), so Rhonda left a message on her voicemail explaining that she was very sorry the pizzas had been delayed, and that she (Rhonda) was placing a credit in the system under the woman's file for a free set of pizzas the next time the woman ordered. In response to this, the customer lodged a formal complaint against Rhonda claiming rudeness (two weeks later the woman claimed her free pizzas).
On March 11 Chad sauntered into the store and announced he was filing a written warning against Rhonda for customer complaints. As usual the man was screaming nearly incoherently, his face purple, spittle flying from his supple red lips-- always a true professional, our young Master Chadrick. Rhonda attempted to explain the situation to Chad but he screamed at her not to interrupt, and she was never allowed to tell her side of the story. The written warning Chad filed on that day is shown below. Chad screamed that Rhonda's store had the highest number of complaints in the entire company. Rhonda countered that that couldn't possibly be true, but Chad screamed all the louder, bellowing at her to shut up:
Note that the above warning states a couple of curious things: (a) Policy/Procedure Violation, and (b) It states that this was the "sixth" customer complaint her restaurant had received in eighteen months. So let's look at these things: There was no policy violation whatsoever. There was no such thing detailed in the comments -- not even mentioned. And no such thing occurred. But Cloke apparently thought he'd just slip that in there for good measure. How cute he is. Regarding the "six" customer complaints on Rhonda's restaurant, in eighteen months, the company doesn't tally complaints on an eighteen month cycle -- it tracks them on 12 month cycles. So if we're going to compare one restaurant against another, we must use the same cycle that Emerald City Pizza Hut uses, or 12 months. So how many complaints had Rhonda's restaurants received in the preceding 12 months, and was the number of complaints higher than anyone else? Let's take a look! Rhonda's store number was #13890 in the list below. How many complaints has her store received, and how many complaints have the other stores received? Most importantly, those restaurants which received nearly double the complaints were not, we're told, written up. So why was Rhonda written up? No-- You misunderstand. I'm not asking a rhetorical question here. I want to know. I REALLY want to know. With the subpoena authority we'll enjoy once our suit has been filed against Emerald City, we'll have all the proof we need. But the situation will still beg the question of W-H-Y. Was it because Chad Cloke was simply a caustic little jackass who hated Rhonda, and all other straight women, and wanted to hurt her in any way he could? Yes: I'd stake my life on that assessment. And I'm confident any judge will agree.
But what about the previous year? Did Rhonda's restaurant have more customer complaints than any other restaurant? No. It had five -- right in the middle of the pack, even though Ballard's complaining Swedes are some of the bitchiest customers on the planet.
Chad Cloke had not an inkling of an idea that his office was going to send the above complaint score sheet out to the managers when he lied to Rhonda about the number of complaints her store received. As usual, I'm sure he thought he could lie with absolute impunity. After all, he has been successfully snowing his bosses for years now -- or are they fully aware of what he's been up to? I think he knows just what to say to them, just how to stroke them, just how to herd them here and there, this way and that, how to effect influence for his various causes and schemes and scams and crusades against innocent employees. This may be THE ONE THING he has learned to do well. It's a damned shame he can't or won't channel ten percent of that energy into DOING A PROPER JOB and BEING A DECENT HUMAN. But NO head-case can see the logic of THAT.
Early in 2010, two Pakistani women ordered two pizzas from Rhonda's store in Ballard. These two ladies had ordered numerous times and had complained about SOMETHING, each and every time without fail -- perhaps two dozen free pizzas had been doled out to these specimens at that point by Rhonda. The pizza was too hot; the pizza was too cold; the pizza had too much cheese; the pizza didn't have enough cheese; the pizza had too much sauce; the pizza didn't have enough sauce; the cheese wasn't distributed evenly enough; the cheese was too thick; the sauce was too bitter; there wasn't enough pepperoni -- you get the idea. After several complaints about the pizza not being hot enough (ever heard of a fricking microwave?) Rhonda advised them that their food would possibly be a bit warmer if they picked it up instead of ordering delivery, since they were located at the extreme edge of the delivery area, which was larger than the delivery area of most or all other restaurants. So the ladies did order for pickup next time and it took only minutes for the complaints to come back -- specifically, this time: the pizzas were overcooked; there was not enough cheese; and the chocolate dunkers didn't have enough chocolate on them. These were all complaints about the same order, which had not yet even left the counter! They had simply opened the boxes and begun ticking off their complaints. They decided they couldn't possibly pay for this food. Rhonda explained very patiently and politely to them that extra chocolate could be requested for a small charge, and that extra cheese could be requested for a small charge, and that she would even pull their pizzas from the over early if they preferred them a bit under cooked (no extra charge for that, but she would have to know beforehand). But the ladies refused all courtesies and simply refused to pay for their orders. Rhonda had given these ladies free pizzas in response to their complaints for roughly 18 months, and by this time she had decided that she simply couldn't afford to lose any more money on these two nasty women (most folks would have cut them off at about the second bogus complaint, but being way too damned polite and accommodating was one of Rhonda's faults). Rhonda finally did, though, ask them to pay for their orders this time (imagine the audacity!), and the ladies replied very sweetly, "That's okay, we will just call your boss and we will get free pizza." Rhonda replied, "I'm sorry that I can't make you happy with our products, so please go ahead and call my boss," and she supplied them the number to Chad Cloke.
The ladies immediately called Chad, and Chad issued them a $30 credit without even consulting Rhonda.
The following day Cloke came into the Ballard store and screamed for several minutes about Rhonda's alleged "rudeness" to these customers. Rhonda asked, "What do you want me to do? Do you want me to give these women free pizzas forever?" Chad Cloke yelled, "YES!" And Rhonda replied, "Ok."
The ladies came in a few days later and used their credit. The ladies continued to complain about every single pizza they received from that day onward, and this continued roughly every two weeks for the rest of the time Rhonda ran that store (another eight months or so). They are probably still claiming free pizzas today.
While it is a GOOD thing to bend over backwards for "the customer", it reaches a point where further bending will break your back (and your bank account) and logic and common sense must finally prevail. With Chad Cloke in charge, however, the time when logic and common sense prevailed seemed to be NEVER.
Let's look at another example while we're on the subject of customer complaints, and I promise, you'll love this one:
Within a few days of Chad's last written warning to Rhonda because "her store had more complaints than any other store and he was sick of it", an incident occurred like this:
A nice East Indian woman calls in to the West Seattle store and places a regular order. Employee "X" takes the order. Employee "X", however, is "aggravated" with the call and expresses this frustration or irritation to the customer while on the phone with the customer taking her order. Employee "X" terminates the call, but then immediately tries to call the customer back to, in his words, "verify the order". This is a non-standard thing to do, but sometimes it is done. Employee "X" can't get through to the customer because he has typed the woman's number into the system incorrectly and he reaches some unrelated party. So what does brainiac employee "X" do? He hangs up and simply deletes the nice woman's order from the system. Employee "X" then retires to the office to do whatever it is employee "X" does back there for hours at a time -- some of which includes sitting on his ass, listening in to customer calls. 20 minutes later the customer arrives at the store to pick up her order. Rhonda greets her and and searches the system for her order, but lo and behold, there is no order under the woman's name. Then Rhonda searches the system under the woman's telephone number. There is no order under her telephone number either, but Rhonda finds a previous order in her file from a week before. Rhonda informs the poor woman of this. The woman is perplexed, then peeved -- she had clearly placed this current order, and Rhonda had clearly heard employee "X" taking the order, but for some unknown reason the order doesn't exist in the system. Employee "X" is well known for this type of piss-poor performance however, so employee "X" is immediately suspect. The woman, of course, is upset and angry. She has a right to be. The customer describes the person who took her order (sound of voice, demeanor, etc.) and says the person was extremely rude, condescending and incompetent. This confirms that the order was taken by employee "X" because this description fits this person to the proverbial T. At this moment, employee "X" deigned to present his Royal Self at the customer window. Rhonda is still handling the customer, and she asks if the woman would like to place her order now, as Rhonda could rush it and have it ready for her in about 12 minutes. The woman replied that she did NOT want to place her order AGAIN, because she didn't have time to wait -- which is why she phoned it in, in the first place. She wants to know what employee "X" (pointing angrily at employee "X" who was still standing like a lump at the customer window) did with her order. Employee "X" finally pops out of his daydream and informs the woman that he had cancelled her order because when he called back to verify it, she was unavailable. She then asks employee "x" what number he called. He ticks off a number which is close to hers, but no cigar. It's clear employee "x" is completely responsible for the problem, as suspected. The woman was appropriately shocked, and asked employee "X" WHY -- on God's Green Earth -- he would try to call her back and then cancel her order when she wasn't reached. She explained that no one had ever done that before. Employee "X", sounding very irritated and impatient, told the customer that he had cancelled her order because she was a new customer, and not in the system. The woman replied, "I am NOT a new customer. I order here very often. YOU typed in my number wrong because THIS WOMAN (pointing to Rhonda) has already found my name and file in the system, so it is YOUR fault that this order was cancelled." Employee "X" said nothing, whereupon Rhonda again tried to salvage the situation by offering again to make the woman's order poste haste, but the customer by this time was nearly apoplectic and simply said NO!, and stormed out. Employee "X" didn't bother to even attempt to placate Rhonda for this stupid, stupid mistake, and sauntered back into the office to resume whatever unproductive nonsense he had been up to prior to the customer's interruption.
Some people might have fired employee "X". ALL bosses would have reprimanded him. ALL bosses would have wondered if this was an employee who had any business at all dealing with customers, and most bosses would have begun thinking about other, simpler duties this moron could perform, like sweeping, mopping, or doing dishes, which would remove him from the stress of being required to BLOODY WELL THINK.
But this isn't the end of this story. Here's the rest:
Within five minutes the justifiably irate customer calls back into the store; Rhonda answers. The woman wants to know who, specifically, took her order, so she can file a complaint. Her treatment was just too poor and she's not going to let this go. Rhonda told her the employee's name. The woman said she wanted to file a complaint about that employee, because he (1) didn't know what he was doing, and (2) was extremely rude, and (3) was condescending, and she was very damned angry. Rhonda accepted her complaint about employee "x" and continued to apologize for this employee, and she offered again to make the woman's order and to have it delivered wherever she wanted it for free. The customer replied that she didn't want free food. Rhonda asked if she'd like a credit under her CORRECT phone number for the next time she ordered. The customer again refused, saying she wasn't complaining to try to get free food, she just felt that someone should know about this employee because he was costing the store customers. The customer continued that she didn't ever want to come back to that store or to do business with it because she couldn't stand the thought of ever having to do interact, however briefly, with "that nasty man". Rhonda apologized AGAIN for the behavior of this imbecile, employee "X". The customer replied that she understood and she thanked Rhonda for her professionalism, and she reiterated that she never, ever wanted to be subjected to the kind of treatment she had received at the hands of employee "X", and she wanted to know if anything would be done about employee "X". Rhonda then explained that employee "x" was Chad Cloke, her boss. The woman was positively aghast. She apologized to Rhonda for her having to work with or under such a condescending idiot, and she said she never for one second dreamed that this stupid fool could be anyone's boss. She then apologized to Rhonda again, and terminated the call. As far as Rhonda knew the woman never patronized the West Seattle store again.
I'm looking hard for this woman. I have a few leads. I want her to go on camera. If she'll agree, I'll interview her and post the video right here on this site and on YouTube. Obviously it will be made available for Rhonda's suit against Emerald City Pizza Hut. If I am unable to find the woman on my own, I'll wait until Rhonda's attorneys have filed the suit as they will then enjoy subpoena authority, and we'll find her through through Emerald City's records. If need be, I'll offer a large cash reward in the West Seattle area for this woman's name and address, and sooner or later, be it a month, a year, five years, I'll find her. The subpoena authority that results upon the filing of a lawsuit is where the real fun begins. It has been said that "compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world." If that's so, then subpoena authority is the ninth. Emerald City Pizza Hut is a big, brown, stinky turd, and when you're mining for excrement, getting access their files will be like hitting the mother lode. We'll have access to all internal memos, and all of Chadrick's personal emails. Upon reading this I have no doubt he'll skedaddle right on home and wipe his drives and clear his email archives. Who cares. Servers across the nation have copies of emails that persist in some cases for decades, and I know how to extract them. Just what has Chad been saying to friends and colleagues when he thought no one was looking? Let's all find out together.
The incident described above isn't abnormal for this nut-case-pseudo-boss named Cloke. It's the norm. This is who he is. This is what he is. And there are at the very least many dozens -- probably many hundreds, of accurate, reliable accounts just like this. Remember that this entire page only documents the observations of ONE employee! Dozens of managers and other employees have their own stories to tell. Can you even begin to imagine what else has been going on in this company? I can't. So let's find out.
Oops-- I forgot to reveal the capper to this whole disgusting encounter. What did Chad do and where did he go when he so abruptly and rudely left the customer counter and left Rhonda to once again clean up his stupid mistakes? He went back into the office to continue eavesdropping on telephone calls, so it happened that young Master Chadrick got an earful when the customer called back in and berated him to Rhonda. Just one more reason to fire Rhonda, eh Chad? When she'd hung up he sauntered smugly back out to the customer counter. Rhonda looked at him and said, "I tried to save her [as a customer]. I offered her everything I could." Chad replied, verbatim (remember, by this time Rhonda is keeping logs in real-time), "I wouldn't have bothered."
Rhonda just walked away. A few days later Chad gave her her second written warning for having too many customer complaints.
THIS IS WHAT CHAD CLOKE IS, FOLKS. ARE YOU AT LEAST BEGINNING TO SEE THE LIGHT?
In the spring of 2011 Rhonda could clearly see that Chad would do absolutely anything to get rid of her and her bonus-hurting salary. At this point I don't think she yet realized that Cloke was all that dishonest. She didn't believe he would BLATANTLY commit fraud to accomplish his objectives. She still thought he was at least to some small degree playing by the book. I tried to counsel her otherwise, but being an overly honest person, she doesn't always see the dishonesty in others until it's too late. In the spring of 2011 she was being bombarded with a barrage of illogical, nonsensical, vague, nebulous, arbitrary complaints from Cloke. He'd saunter into the restaurant and before even looking around would launch into a screeching tirade about her performance or about her numbers or about the whatever he could think up on spur of the moment. There were never any specifics, never anything concrete she could correct. It was always generalities, the more confusing and vague the better. So she decided to play his own game. She formally informed Cloke that she wasn't clear on what he wanted her to correct, and in fact in most cases she had no idea whatsoever, so she was asking him, in writing (docs on file), to allocate some specific number of days and hours in which he would come in to her restaurant and show her, in real time, exactly, specifically, explicitly what he was complaining about. She would then log each item, and correct it, and from that point onward when he began his usual regimen of screaming in generalities, she would calmly insist that he give her SPECIFICS. It is POLICY that an area coach MUST provide this service. THIS IS WHAT THEY ARE PAID TO DO. Rhonda asked him for only one brief meeting per week.
Cloke very reluctantly agreed to help her, but said he couldn't promise a once per week meeting due to his busy schedule. Cloke said he would check his schedule and get back to her. He never did get back to her, even though she brought it up again and again. We find now that at least two other managers had asked for this same help, and that Cloke had ignored them or flatly refused them. Both have since quit. In one instance, something of an argument ensued about this issue, and the employee went over Cloke's head to try to force Cloke to supply the requested time. Terry Hopkins reportedly finally issued a written memo telling that employee that it WAS, in fact, Cloke's duty as part of his job to help that or any other manager who requested it. But apparently Hopkins never tracked the issue because we're told Cloke never did once help either of these two managers as they asked, nor did he help Rhonda. I believe this same problem manifest itself many dozens of times over the last years, yet Cloke is still employed by Emerald City Pizza Hut.
When Dave Ballard was still the area coach for "The Lakes" he brought up a sticky situation at a manager's meeting regarding the number of employees on the books who didn't speak English well. Dave said he felt there were too many. Rhonda countered that while their language skills could be a problem, they also represented some of the hardest workers she had, because they seemed to know that they already had one strike against them and they tried to overcompensate by working extra hard. Dave said he understood, but that there had been many customer complaints about employees not being able to accurately take their orders. It was a problem. Rhonda said she felt that most restaurants could probably afford to carry one or two employees with less than stellar English skills but because many employees were at some time called upon to answer phones, more than that was perhaps too much to ask. Only a few employees could be exempted from answering the phones. Everyone agreed that the restaurants that had too many were getting customer complaints, and had to cut back on those who couldn't speak English fluently or without a heavy accent.
Shortly after this meeting Chad Cloke took over the area. Bear in mind that all regular employees received "performance reviews" periodically -- perhaps twice a year -- and based on their perceived performance, they would either receive a raise, or would stay at their existing pay rate. Some reviews were administered by Cloke, some by the managers upon their own employees. Needless to say, performance reviews were big deals. Even a small raise could drastically effect the lives of employees who were working for peanuts as it was. Chad attended one of his first manager's meetings and arrogantly announced that henceforth, no employee who did not speak English to his standards would receive a raise of any kind, ever again. Two managers immediately piped up and countered that that was patently unfair and that this was a cut-and-dried policy of discrimination. Chad replied, "Fuck that; it's not fucking discrimination; if they can't answer the FUCKING phones they shouldn't even be working for us."
Of course this is lunacy, because Cloke is a loon.
After this meeting all of the managers started working personally with one or two of their best English-challenged employees in order to try to keep them. At this time all restaurants managers were conducting "phone surveys" of all other restaurants, just to see how well employees were answering the phones. From time to time the managers doing these phone surveys would be greeted on the phone by one of these employees who wasn't perfectly fluent in English, and those managers would sometimes write gentle comments in their phone survey logs to the effect that this person could use a little work, or that person needs to work on pronunciation, etc. Those employees were being tutored and they were improving.
During a subsequent manager's meeting all managers had to submit employee reviews to Chad, detailing their employees' performances over the preceding period. Several of the managers turned in favorable reviews for employees who were still having varying degrees of trouble with English. These favorable reviews meant that those employees would receive small (almost insignificant) raises. In this meeting Chad questioned these reviews to determine if the positive reviews were of employees who were being tutored on English, and when he found that some of the positive reviews were for those employees, Chad denied any and all raises for those employees. Then Chad said, "They shouldn't even be working for us. I want them ALL managed out." This is a VERBATIM quote.
At this point all but two new managers immediately spoke up and advised Cloke that this was not fair, that this was direct discrimination, that it was probably actionable in court, and that it was just plain wrong, stating that these people were some of the very hardest working and most loyal employees they had and they absolutely did not want to lose them. Cloke was undeterred in his determination to "manage them out". Emerald City Pizza Hut then stopped ALL raises for ALL regular employees. Period. Perhaps this was done to appear as though they weren't discriminating against people with accents. Stupid is as stupid does.
Cloke never did seem to grasp that there's one hell of a shortage of employees who will put up with the stresses of restaurant work, for less than peanuts, and that managers will take whoever they can get. Only if you're unintelligent and careless do you throw the baby out with the bath water. Cloke seems clearly both.
Rhonda confronted Cloke less and less often about his lies, manipulations, misstatements and other instances of malfeasance because she was weary, tired to the bone of deflecting his constant misrepresentations and compensating for his screw-ups. When confronted Cloke would often lapse into a screaming tirade and try to turn the tables on Rhonda by berating her for imaginary transgressions -- probably things he had already lied to his superiors about. She came to a point of just closing her eyes, hoping the rants and insults would end soon, and when they did, she went quietly back to work. Another bright employee, a straight female who quit explicitly because of Cloke, said, "I just got tired of that stupid fat _____ screaming in my face."
Where do people like Chad Cloke come from? Who hires them? Who continues to employ them? How do these people function in the real business world? For God's sake, how do people this dysfunctional find their ways home at night?! Seriously, I WANT TO KNOW!
COMPLAINTS ABOUT THE BOSS
In November of 2010 Rhonda had had enough of Cloke's dishonesty, incompetence and inappropriate behavior, and she filed her first-ever complaint against any boss. In the preceding 28 years she had never had cause to file any complaint against any boss in any company, anywhere, ever. The thought had never entered her mind. Her complaint was focusing Cloke's foul language in front of customers and employees. She was told by Sarah in the office that they were "working with Chad on those issues and others." Chad toned down his behavior for about four days, then reverted back to his obnoxious core from then onward. Rhonda complained again in December, and again in January, and lastly in February of 2011. Each time she was told the office staff was "working with Chad" on these and "other issues". Each time Cloke calmed down for a few days, then went back to his inappropriate and unacceptable behavior. Rhonda finally realized that Cloke's behavior could not be changed and she filed no further complaints.
Let's think about this logically for a moment -- here you have a 32 year old "man" who cannot and will not control his behavior, or modify it in any way that allows him to interact in mixed company. Do you really WANT such an individual in your workforce, dealing daily with the public, and impressionable young employees in a "G" -rated eating establishment? I would have fired him the second time I had to speak to him about this. I would not have considered it a good investment to "work with Chad" at all. If a 32 year old man can't figure out how to behave properly in public, he never will figure it out, and I would consider that such a man was mentally handicapped and I would relegate him to a task he could perform in favor of someone who had learned by age five to act appropriately. If he could perform no task at all, he'd be let go -- as he should have been years ago. What kind of folks were this man's parents? Amazingly, Chad's superiors are so enamored with this slab of garbage that they think he's worth the trouble to work with. I say, go for it. I WANT Cloke to be employed by Emerald City Pizza Hut forever.
One of Rhonda's complaints about Cloke included the fact that he had been "on her" at the Ballard store regarding uniform conformity. Yet when he transferred her to the West Seattle store, where uniforms were essentially non-existent, he expressly forbade her from enforcing uniform policies. Why? She was never to know. "I" think it is because many of the employees at the West Seattle store were rude, crude, loud, and boasted often about their escapades while drunk -- in other words, Chad's kind of people precisely, and Chad's kind of people can do no wrong.
As soon as Rhonda's complaints about Cloke's bad behavior started, Cloke's written warnings to Rhonda began. In the preceding 28 years, Rhonda had received one (1) written warning for a technical mistake, back in the mid 1980's. In five months through late 2010 and early 2011 she received five (5) from Cloke, all of which included multiple infractions of the MOST anal kind. YOU tell ME this wasn't tit for tat.
At this time Rhonda was working 64 hours per week ($10.70 per hour after 29 years on the job -- and ECP had the gall to complain ad nauseam about this poor woman's salary?), meticulously adhering to every single policy and instruction from Cloke, no matter how illogical, no matter how anti-Pizza Hut or anti-business or anti-good sense it was, determined to wait this asshole out until ECP could finally, finally see through him and purge him out. Surely they would HAVE to grow some brain cells and see this individual for what he was, a jerk, a man bent on gutting the very structure of this company and its stores, bent on replacing every single straight management employee with the loud, the drunk, the obnoxious, the "pretty" (effeminate males where possible), the gay, and those he felt were most like him.
MARCH 30, 2011 (a play-by-play)
10:04 a.m. Pacific time (Seattle)
Rhonda arrived at work about four minutes late due to traffic snarls caused by construction and closures on the Alaskan Way viaduct, and then clocked in. Normally another employee would have been at work since 9:15 a.m., doing prep work and setup to open the restaurant, but Chad Cloke had explicitly denied an opening cook for this particular store. Rhonda would be alone to do the prep work until the first driver was allowed by Chad to come on duty at 10:30a.m.. Managers were REQUIRED to work ALL DAYS until at least 8 p.m.,and were often required to work straight through to closing and beyond; therefore managers traditionally came in at ten in the morning lest they be reduced to just sleeping in the back and NEVER going home. Pizza Hut Inc. policy had been that no employee was allowed to be in the store alone, but this was apparently not Emerald City Pizza Hut's policy.
First order of business was to set the safe for a 15 minute open (its timer would open it in 15 minutes).
While waiting for the safe Rhonda starts getting dough ready to go into the proofer -- this requires going through the dough to make sure no dough has expired. Next is make-table prep, which involves filling and topping about 15 holes with pepperoni, cheeses, tomatoes, etc. Since the crew at West Seattle traditionally had very poor or non-existent closing habits, extra work was needed in all areas.
By now the safe has opened; remove all monies, organize it, and then bring up the computer program that allows you to count and prepare the deposit. During this procedure Rhonda was interrupted by a call from a shift manager who was at a management class and that class was requesting certain documents from the restaurant that she didn't have with her. Rhonda spent 5 to 10 minutes collecting the required documents and faxing them to the employee at the meeting.
It's now 10:35. Rhonda is behind because of the call and is struggling to catch up. Her other employee has shown up though, and is working on various other prep tasks.
Rhonda returns to money counting and deposit prep. It's now about quarter to to eleven. She must finish EVERYTHING by 11, which is the time the store opens.
Now she counted the money again. Again? Why? --Because part of the computer program requires a second count. The amount is about five hundred dollars, in mostly small bills and change. This is what goes into the cash drawer to be used for change and operating cash to start the day.
It is now 10:51 a.m. exactly.
Rhonda now logged in the driver (who had been doing other prep tasks) and made him officially available to take deliveries. She also counts out and gives him his "driver's bank", which is what he'll need to make change in case a customer pays in cash.
That driver was logged in at 10:53 a.m. exactly.
Rhonda placed the deposit on the counter and the deposit log on the counter and instructs the driver to take the deposit to the bank. It has been ECP policy that only a manager can take the deposit to the bank, but Chad Cloke has given express and explicit permission to Rhonda, to Tara Spear, to Justine Ford, and we believe to many other managers and management people, if not ALL managers and management people, that it was permissible to allow the driver and the driver alone to take deposits to the bank. This is a fact. We are prepared to prove this in court. Let's reiterate so there is no misunderstanding. Chad Cloke gave express permission to at least three management people, and almost certainly many more or ALL of them, to allow a driver to take deposits to the bank by him/herself. This is done in most or all ECP restaurants and has been done for YEARS. This explicit instruction was given to Rhonda on October 5, 2010, in the afternoon, in her restaurant, by Chad M. Cloke, and to other management people on other dates. This has been SOP for many or all restaurants for many years, with or without Chad's permission. That is a fact.
The driver then immediately left for the bank with the deposit. Rhonda has marked in the deposit log that the driver left at 10:50 a.m. -- the computer says it is 10:53 a.m.. There is a three minute discrepancy between the computer and the old battery-powered, wall-hanging clock.
At this time the customer phone is ringing with multiple callers. Rhonda is alone to answer them all. Rhonda is on the phone with customers until 11:00 a.m. or possibly as late as 11:01 a.m. At this point the store is officially open.
Immediately, orders begin rolling off the printer from Internet sales. This is a problem, because even though these orders may have been placed through the Internet minutes or hours before, they do not roll off the printers until exactly 11:00 a.m. This is a problem because a manager would like to know if a morning rush was going to be heavy or light, so that manager could plan accordingly. The orders SHOULD roll off the printer either at the moment they're placed, or at any time before open, but someone, and know one knows who, has set up the system at least in this store, so that no orders will be printed until 11:00 a.m. Has Inc. done this? Or is it the stupidity of Emerald City Pizza and Terry Hopkins? No one seems to know. It's a piss-poor system and I cannot imagine that ANY competent business owner or CEO would allow this procedure to continue. But this is how it works at Emerald City Pizza Hut at West Seattle and probably always will.
It's even more confounding than this: The orders which were placed by Internet MIGHT show up on a terminal at the customer area at the time they're placed, thereby notifying the manager of those orders. But this will only happen if the terminal in question is set to "order mode", as opposed to "dispatch mode", and there is no audible alert. If the manager is dispatching at that time, the order will not be seen. If the manager is in any other part of the restaurant, the order will not be seen. There is no audible alert on the terminal to signal that an order has come in before the printers start printing at 11 sharp. Typically, the only time anyone is aware of an order is when it prints, and this will not happen until exactly 11:00 a.m.
As it happens, Rhonda is in the back finishing up her dough duties because of the time she lost searching for and faxing documents to her employee at the management meeting. The driver is still at the bank; Rhonda is alone in the restaurant. She will hear the phone if it rings, and she will hear a tone if a customer enters the store.
A minute or two after 11:
All order tickets are now printed; Rhonda pulls them and scans them and notes that some are due at eleven thirty and some are due at noon. It's already a few minutes after eleven, so it now becomes an all-out race to prep, cook, and deliver the orders that printed at 11:00 a.m. for 11:30 deliveries. She is still alone because Chad has disallowed any opening cooks. Rhonda realizes that while she can get some of the orders out to the customers by their due-times of 11:30, she cannot get them ALL out for on-time deliveries. She calls the customers whose orders will be late and makes arrangements with them. All customers she can contact whose orders will be late are ok with the arrangements. The most tardy order will be 15 minutes late. All of this could have been avoided had the system printed the order tickets WHEN THEY CAME IN, and not saved them all until 11:00 a.m.
The driver returned from the bank at approximately 11:15 to 11:25 a.m., and was immediately dispatched out with deliveries.
At 11:30 everyone's life is graced by the appearance of Chad Cloke.
Chad literally throws his briefcase and whatnot onto the counter in the customer area and is clearly in a foul mood. Chad instantly demands to know what's going on. Rhonda is still scrambling to take care of orders and dough but she cheerfully answers, "Hi, how are you?" (I've seen her do this amazing thing on any number of occasions. She will start every single conversation with Chad as the picture of cheerfulness and optimism, and he will beat her down and down and down with negativity and bitching and complaining and foul language and yelling and cussing and insolence and insults -- and I would watch her struggle against the tidal wave of his hatred and each response to his outrageous and counterproductive ranting would become less and less cheerful until she was literally hanging her head and could barely answer. So it was on this occasion. Chad ranted; Rhonda tried to stay upbeat, and Chad was determined to beat her to the ground verbally.
Chad: Where's the driver?
Rhonda: He's on a delivery.
Chad (already raising his voice): Well things don't seem to be very set up yet this morning.
Rhonda: We've had a little bit of a busy morning. We've gotten lots of calls and we've been taking care of those.
Rhonda continues to work quickly as she replies; Cloke merely follows her from task to task, never once helping.
Chad: Why isn't the parking lot cleaned, and what has the driver been doing?
Rhonda: The parking lot was on the bottom of the priority list this morning.
Rhonda has to take new calls and make orders and she continues with that.
The driver returns and is immediately asked by Chad if he signed the deposit log this morning. The driver said no, and is immediately dispatched with more deliveries.
Chad's demeanor is such that it is crystal clear to Rhonda that Chad has come into the store submerged in a mind-set that is absolutely determined to find some reason, any reason, to fire her. It's clear he has been up to this for some time; he has boasted to other management people that it is his intention to fire her "soon"; we believe Chad has been telling her employees he's going to fire her soon, and we believe that Chad has simply chosen this day to get 'er done, whether there is cause or not. He is clearly struggling to work himself up into a frenzy, but he can't really find much to focus on..
Chad then goes into the office, even though the store is struggling to catch up for the morning and he should be helping. The morning continued in this fashion, with Rhonda out front literally scrambling to get orders out, and Chad sitting in the office alone. Rhonda did not have one minute to spare -- not even four seconds, literally.
Roughly one hour later Chad emerged from the office and announced that he had something to take care of and would return later in the afternoon.
Two hours later Chad returned alone and said: Are we going to get the parking lot done sometime today?
Rhonda: Yes, just as soon as I have a few minutes we'll get it done.
At this point it's about 3 p.m.
Tony, the driver, MUST leave at 3 p.m. sharp for his second job because he cannot make enough to live, working for Emerald City Pizza Hut. 3 p.m. is Tony's regularly scheduled time off, and he barely has time to make it to his second job if he leaves at 3 sharp. Tony departs.
Chad: Why did you let Tony leave when the FUCKING parking lot isn't done?
Rhonda: I will do the parking lot right now but I had to let Tony leave for his second job.
Chad: It's not our problem if Tony has a second job.
Rhonda did not respond; she grabbed a broom and went outside to clean Pizza Hut's section of the shared parking lot.
By this time a cook had come on duty, who could take care of phones and orders, though barely-- a good thing he was there at all, because Cloke would NOT be bothered to do this lowly work, and it was the first opportunity so far in the day in which Rhonda, or anyone else, had been able to spare even twenty seconds for the parking lot. Of course Chad could have taken care of the parking lot instead of sitting in the office, or Chad could have taken over any other duty in the store if he was allergic to parking lot work, so that someone else could have done the parking lot, but GETTING THE JOB DONE is not how Chad seems to think. Ask around: Cloke prefers to bitch.
Rhonda returns inside and Chad says: I thought you were going out to clean up the parking lot (and now he lapses into his usual yelling, cursing and screaming antics): ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME!
Rhonda: No, why?
Chad, still yelling: THERE'S ALL KINDS OF SHIT OUT THERE! (these are verbatim quotes, remember)
Rhonda: Please come here and show me what you see (they both then went to the window).
Chad: LOOK AT ALL THAT SHIT OVER THERE! (pointing to the apartment building across the shared lot).
The apartment building in question is a low-income building which owns a small portion of the back parking lot adjacent to Pizza Hut's lot. Bits of trash lay against the apartment building's fence, where it has been since before Rhonda transferred to West Seattle.
Rhonda: You want me to clean up the trash at the apartment complex?
Chad, yelling: YES! A CUSTOMER COULD SEE THAT AS PART OF OUR PARKING LOT!
Rhonda: That trash has been there since the day I got here and no one has ever suggested that it was this store's duty to clean it up.
Chad: I DON'T GIVE A SHIT!
Rhonda: Ok, anything else out there?
Chad pointed to the bus stop in front of the apartment complex.
Rhonda said: Ok, so you're telling me that customers think the bus stop down the block belongs to us?
Chad: WELL, IT WOULD MAKE US LOOK BETTER!
Rhonda: Ok, fine.
Rhonda then cleaned the entire parking lot including all areas that belonged to other businesses, including the bus stop.
Rhonda then came back into the store. The parking lot cleaning had taken 30 minutes and she was now much farther behind in serving customers. She knew beyond all doubt that Cloke was consciously attempting to abuse her to such an extent that she would quit on the spot. After all, virtually anyone would have. Remember that Terry Hopkins seemed to Rhonda to be pretty close to the same mentality as Cloke, so there was no recourse whatsoever for this deteriorating situation.
All of these duties were normally carried out by drivers or other hourly employees. All of Rhonda's trained employees were capable of performing all of these tasks in a timely manner. However, Chad had transferred her to West Seattle, and the employees at West Seattle were 1/3 useful, and 2/3 extremely poorly trained (read: useless - my words, not Rhonda's), and it would take Rhonda 6 to 12 months to bring them up to par, and half would have quit during that time because they weren't accustomed to working. Parking lot cleaning was beyond the capabilities (and interest) of most of this crew, yet the man who had hired this crew was publicly pronounced by Chad to be his "best manager in the area". I believe Chad did not and does not know a good store from a bad store -- he only knows that he likes some people, and dislikes others, and the ones he likes can do no wrong regardless of the depth of their incompetence and ineptitude. Chad is like the Beach Boys' first manager, jerking all the switches and sliders back and forth in the studio's sound mixing booth, just as fast and dramatically as he can, all the while having not the slightest monkey-brained clue which does what and frankly not giving a damn either way and never suspecting that the slides and switches have all been disabled by the real techs months before. He just thrives on the drama of jerking the levers.
Rhonda to Chad: Is that ok? (inquiring of the condition of the parking lot)
Chad: Shrugged and said, "It's better", as though it was not yet quite acceptable.
Rhonda returned to her regular duties of making pizzas and taking orders. Several minutes later Chad's boss, Mike Beecher arrived.
Beecher and Cloke go into the office alone to talk.
Since Beecher has arrived Chad's demeanor has changed diametrically; he is now quiet, reserved and polite, and he has stopped cursing and yelling completely. This is probably how Beecher thinks he acts all the time.
Chad emerges and asks Rhonda to join them.
In the office, Mike says to Rhonda, "Rhonda, did you send a driver to the bank this morning?"
Beecher: Did you sign the driver's name on the deposit log?
Beecher: Why would you think it's ok to send the driver to the bank?
Rhonda: Chad told me it was ok.
Chad: I DID!?
Rhonda: Yes, you did, in October. Your words were, 'It's ok to send the driver to the bank as long as his name is on the deposit log.'
Chad blushed, glanced at Rhonda, then looked straight at the floor and said: Oh, I only meant in EXTREME circumstances if you HAD to.
Rhonda: Those were NOT your words.
Chad didn't reply.
Beecher: That's not our policy. Why would you not just follow the policy?
Rhonda: Because we're always stressed for time and labor.
Beecher: Why did you sign the driver's name to the log?
Rhonda: Because the driver had already left and I wanted to get it done; I was swamped.
Beecher: That's manipulation.
Rhonda: I wasn't trying to cover up the fact that I sent the driver to the bank, obviously, if I put his name on the log. Whose name was I supposed to put on the log? Chad told me in October that the driver's name had to be on the log.
Beecher: We are suspending you pending an investigation and we will contact you within 48 hours to set up our next meeting.
Rhonda: Chad, are you denying that you told me it was ok to send the driver to the bank with the deposit and to put the driver's name on the log?
Chad didn't answer.
Chad: Give me your keys (Rhonda did). Do you have any other Pizza Hut property (she said no).
Rhonda then departed the building and never returned.
The following day Rhonda was called into the Ballard Pizza Hut, which she had managed for 5 or 6 years. Cloke and Beecher were again present and they asked her into her old office.
Beecher: We're letting you go for sending the driver to the bank instead of you going yourself and for manipulating the deposit log.
Rhonda to Chad: Are you STILL denying, to my face, that you gave me permission to let the driver go to the bank?
Chad again refused to answer.
Beecher: We're terminating you as of today. Here's your termination form.
Chad: Sign the termination form.
Rhonda refused, saying that her attorney had already been brought into the case and she had been advised not to sign anything.
Beecher signed as witness.
Rhonda asked when she could pick up her personal possessions from the West Seattle store.
Chad said he would send them to her.
Chad: I'm really sorry to have to terminate you, Rhonda.
Rhonda: I don't believe that for one second.
Chad: I'm really sorry.
Rhonda: No, you're not. You've been planning this for awhile. Google your name in a week or so. I'm posting a website about you.
Rhonda then departed. As she was leaving she turned and looked at Chad. Chad was smirking.
This ended the 29 year career of one of Pizza Hut's most honest, most faithful, most hardworking employees..
In any logical company, given the same situation, upper management would have come into the store, found that a driver had taken a deposit to the bank, and asked who had authorized that. Rhonda would have replied that her boss had authorized it. Upper management would have asked her boss about it, and, being an honest human being, her boss would have replied that, yes, he had indeed authorized that. Upper management would have said, "That's against the policy", and Rhonda's boss would have said, "Oh, sorry, I thought it would be more expedient, but I'll have Rhonda not send the driver to the bank anymore."
Rhonda would have said, "Sure, no problem." And that would have been that. Problem solved.
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Rhonda received boxes upon boxes of awards of all shapes and sizes throughout her 35 years with Pizza Hut Inc and franchises too numerous to list. The most recent award she received from her last Pizza Hut employer is below:
Rhonda's new employer (also Pizza Hut) presented her with the award shown below after 18 months of
solid good work -- the same solid good work she gave to Emerald City Pizza, for which she was fired.
Pizza Huts in California, Oregon and Nevada now have a new award, to be awarded annually to the store manager who best "turns around" a difficult Hut. It is called the "Rhonda Neil Turnaround Award", so named because Rhonda, the career manager and area coach who was fired by Emerald City Pizza Hut (Chad Cloke, screw-up and imbecile extraordinaire, and idiot side-kick Mike Beecher) was famous throughout Pizza Hut inc. and reputable franchises as the one manager who could take on any badly abused unit and turn it around more completely and more quickly than any other Pizza Hut employee. She did it over and over and over and over, in three states. It's well documented. Emerald City Pizza was the ONLY franchise that ever treated her with anything but the utmost dignity and reverence, and ECP's treatment of her was literally unbelievable to all who knew her and had employed her over 35 years. Recently, Terry Hopkins of Emerald City Pizza (aka Disco-Man), told the owner of another franchise chain,
"You know, I had serious reservations about the firing of Rhonda..."
Then why did you not only allow it to happen, but encourage and work to orchestrate it? It's fair to say the stupid sentiment was received poorly by its recipient.
In any case, an award probably similar to the one shown above will be used by the owner of hundreds of Huts in this region to reward those managers who turn around bad restaurants as Rhonda had so faithfully and successfully done throughout her 35+ year career with Pizza Huts across the western US. Finally, this shows Emerald City Pizza for the unfathomably incompetent and unprofessional fools they actually are, for treating this faithful employee as they did. It was reprehensible beyond any writer's ability to comprehend or describe. There are truly no worse bosses on God's Green Earth than the dolts at Emerald City Pizza in Seattle (Edmonds) Washington. Management does not GET any worse, not even in Third World countries. Not even down the proverbial rabbit hole. Not even in fictional story-book accounts. They just don't get any worse.
Franchise owner and management work to install permanent memorial plaque on Rhonda's last restaurant.