From the “You’re A Total Douche” section of this week’s metro news we present to you Peter Ciarrocchi Jr., the owner of the famous local sports bar and eatery Chickie’s & Pete’s. Ciarrocchi has agreed to pay $8.52 million in back wages and damages to employees for illegally docking a portion of their tips and failing to properly pay minimum wage, overtime and other required income.
According to the story, servers alleged that they were routinely docked 2 percent to 4 percent of total table sales, a practice employees routinely called “Pete’s Tax.” How nice!
The investigation found that the practice was an established part of the business’ operations and that servers were expected to pay at the end of their shifts even when tips were not in cash but on credit card charges. As a result, servers sometimes had to borrow money from coworkers or take cash from ATMs to make their payments. “These just weren’t violations,” Brian Johnson, a regional director of enforcement for the Labor Department said. “This was part of [Ciarrocchi's] business model.”
Ciarrocchi Jr. called the settlement “the right thing to do.”
What Pete did was disgraceful and embarrassing to any business owner (like me) who employs people. It gives fuel to those who hate the “1 percent” and makes business people look evil in a political environment where businesses are not currently considered to be heroes.
I say that Pete is not being punished enough. He needs to really pay. And I’ve got a few suggestions to add to his sentence. Your honor, do we still have time to make a few adjustments? If so, I’d also require Pete to....
- Stand in line at Citizens Bank Park for 45 minutes to get an order of his shitty, over-hyped crab fries. And then be forced to go back to his seat and suffer through another Phillies game.
- Replace his current staff with members of the local Ironworkers’ Union. I’m sure these guys have learned a valuable lesson and want to be better people. Let’s give them a chance, shall we?
- Endure the typical overpriced meal with bad service at the overcrowded and under-staffed Chickie's & Pete's in Terminal A-West of the airport, along with an order of those shitty crab fries, and then endure a six-hour flight to London without being allowed to use the bathroom.
- Require him to pay the President’s proposed minimum wage to all employees — like all other businesses.
- Hire Don Tollefson as his accounting manager.
- Open a Chickie & Pete’s at New York’s Citi Field — might as well make Mets fans stand in line for those shitty crab fries, too.
- Pay for my kids’ college tuition (OK, OK… just thought I’d just try to slip that one through).
- Employ Buzz Bizzinger and Johnny Weir to buy new uniforms for his staff and let them spend whatever they desire.
- Be forced to provide healthcare to anyone working an average of 30 hours a week or more, regardless of the cost. I know that sounds outrageous, but we have to get tough on these guys.
- In a show of good faith, allow him to start up a Chickie & Pete’s somewhere in England, the only country in the world where his shitty crab fries would be considered better than average food.
- Become a major sponsor of the Sixers and attend every home game without falling asleep.
- Donate $1 to the Philadelphia School System every time one of his regular customers sports a tattoo, a Jaworski Eagles jersey or says "youse" instead of "you" or "axes" instead of "asks." That’ll fix your budget problems, Mr. Hite.
- Offer free Pepto to all customers. They will need it. Particularly the ones who eat his shitty crab fries.
- Become a sponsor of the USA Curling Organization and be forced to show one curling match alongside a football game every Sunday. Hey, he runs a sports bar, right?
- Force him to commute to work for a month using a Philadelphia-based taxi service.
- Replace those shitty crab fries with something better… like Hot Pockets.
Harsh? I think not. This guy deserves a tougher punishment. Not just for how he treated his employees. But for how he’s duped us into paying for his shitty crab fries all these years.
Follow @GeneMarks on Twitter.