Tuesday, November 5, 2013

#page462 OK, we won't kill you, but you had better not make any sandwiches

In an earlier post about the company that will eventually replace Walmart (and Amazon) at the top of the business heap, I included my proposed letter to Vizio, enticing them to participate in my planned store, the Empoprisesorium. A portion of the letter read as follows:

Within your little space, you have complete freedom to sell the stuff any way you want - well, except for a few little rules that we'll impose on how you sell things. If you're a franchise operation yourself, you'll recognize some of the things that you'll see in our 1,000 page guide that we provide to sellers.

Which reminds me - on about page 383 of the guide, you'll see that all sales that you conduct in our store have to pass through our cash registers. None of this booking sales on the floor that go some other way.
If we catch you making sales that don't go through our cash registers, we will kill you. Literally. See page 462.

Of course, this is ridiculous. Outside of criminal activity, no one would kill someone else in a business dispute.

But there's a lot that business can put into an agreement.

Rick Holman, who has shared stuff with me in the past after I wrote about former WAAY reporter Shea Allen, has shared something with me again - and this one involves a franchise that I recently visited (well, not the Michigan location in this article).

A woman is fighting to work at another sandwich shop after Subway enforced her non-compete contract, which she regrets not fully understanding when she was young and signed it....

Several weeks later [Leah] Benene got a job at another sandwich shop. But then she got a letter which contained a copy of the non-compete contract she signed back in December of 2009....

It's a document - she signed - saying she can't work at a competing business within one hundred miles for a full year after leaving Subway. Benene also received this letter from the company attorney telling her she must honor the contract, and the lawyer contacted her new employer as well.

"They also sent the non-compete letter and the lawyer letter directly to that franchise, and, since then, I've been terminated from there," says Benene.

This is just part of the story - the whole thing is here.

I'm not sure how lawyers define "competing business." Is a McDonald's a competing business? An Outback steakhouse? The Swedish meatball area at an Ikea? Of course, the broader the definition of "competing business," the less likely that Leah Benene will be able to find work, meaning that she could theoretically starve to death.

See page 462.

P.S. I was curious to know whether The Wrath of the Internet had struck the Yelp page for Benene's former employer, but as of now it has not.

P.P.S. Not sure what Shea Allen is doing these days. She may (or may not) be writing a book.
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