Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Popcorn Monster and Paid Sick Days

It was a rainy day. The popcorn monster was sitting at the kitchen table with a bag of cheddar cheese popcorn. She rubbed her tummy. She felt good.

The popcorn monster's cell phone beeped. She looked at her cell phone. It had the following text message:

Emergency: Popcorn workers are sick. They need your help at the store.

The popcorn monster jumped into her car and drove to the popcorn store. When the popcorn monster arrived, the store manager greeted her.

"You're a monster," said the manager. "We can't let you in here."

"Sir, I am one of your biggest customers," said the popcorn monster. "I eat your cheddar cheese popcorn every single hour of the week. I have thousands of bags at my house."

"I've never heard of a monster that eats popcorn," said the manager. "I thought you guys were into scaring people and doing bad things."

"That's just bad press that we've gotten over the centuries," said the popcorn monster. "In reality, we are very caring and gentle. We just hired a new PR firm. Next month, we'll be running ads to promote the virtues of monsters on the Internet, TV and radio."

"What's your campaign slogan?" asked the manager.

"Monsters are good for workers," replied the popcorn monster.

"Why are you here?" asked the manager.

"I received a message that the workers needed my help," replied the popcorn monster. "They apparently are sick."

"Susan must have sent you the message," said the manager. "She has been circulating a petition for paid sick days for the workers."

"What's wrong with that?" asked the popcorn monster.

"Ma'am, we can't afford it, " replied the manager.

"What happens when your workers get sick?" asked the popcorn monster.

"A lot of them come to work," said the manager. "I tell them not to sneeze in the popcorn but sometimes they do."

"That's just nasty," said the popcorn monster in a disgusted tone. "Do your customers complain?"

"Oh my goodness, we've gotten a lot of customer complaints," replied the manager. "Some of our best customers have stopped coming to the store."

"Hasn't that hurt your business?" asked the popcorn monster.

"Yeah, they now are patronizing a popcorn store in San Francisco that has paid sick days for its workers," replied the manager.

"So couldn't you win back some of your customers if you had paid sick days for workers?" asked the popcorn monster.

"Yes," said the manager.

"And with more customers, you would make more money, right?" asked the popcorn monster.

"Yes," replied the manager.

"So doesn't it make sense to provide paid sick days?" asked the popcorn monster.

"You're right," replied the manager. "If our workplace is healthy, customers will want to patronize our store. So it makes sense."

"Good," said the popcorn monster. "So what are you going to do?"

"I will send an e-mail to our workers along with our current customers and customers who've left us about our new policy on paid sick days," replied the manager.

"That's great," said the popcorn monster. "There's one more thing you can do."

"What's that?" asked the manager.

"Tell everyone you know to sign the petition for paid sick days for California workers," replied the popcorn manager.

"I will," said the manager.

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