While the author, Pete Cottell, is certainly a good writer and captured the spirit of Old Town (the homeless, street kids and junkies), I was very disappointed by the lies and what amounts to slander I found sprinkled throughout the story.
I’m not going to pretend that we aren’t gimmicky and immature. I just have to say that Cottell fabricated most of his interesting “facts” about the “truth” of Voodoo. My biggest concern is the way he portrayed my co-workers and managers, who may have been, at worst, dismissive of him because they don’t know him, but were most likely gracious and friendly.
He makes the employees out to be holier-than-thou hipsters, though I’ve never met a nicer or more close-knit group of nonjudgmental individuals in any workplace, and he paints our managers as capitalist scum who only care about the bottom line. None of this is true. Voodoo is a very positive environment.
Managers never elevate themselves above employees; they are decent people who occasionally have to correct mistakes we make to meet policy, which is admittedly pretty lax. Hell, I play Dungeons & Dragons with several of my managers weekly, as we are all friends, and I share a rented music space with five Voodoo workers.
The crew is made up of very hard workers who have a fun time while doing a job that is essentially fast-paced monotony. People do occasionally get fired, but in my time at Voodoo, that has only been due to lateness, drunkenness during a shift, or leaving reefer scattered around the bathroom.
Management is not the ax-happy goon squad Cottell makes them out to be. Many new employees quit soon after being hired, unable to keep up with the pace, but it isn’t because management intimidated them into it or even suggested it.
In my nine months working here, Voodoo Doughnut has given me two 50-cent raises, already more than I received in the 2½ years I spent at my last job. I can count on another 50-cent raise soon.
Last holiday season, the owners gave all the workers a $1 raise to thank them for their hard work. Every year, the owners close up the shop and fund an extravagant party for their workers. It’s coming up soon; perhaps you’d like to send someone to attend and get the truth behind the people you don’t seem to mind libeling. We also receive decent health benefits and are often reminded to take our mandatory breaks, which I have never had at previous jobs.
Basically, Cottell doesn’t work at Voodoo anymore because he didn’t want to keep up and couldn’t get along with his co-workers, which seems par for the course, considering he admits to having cycled through 20 different jobs since he started working. I hate to see him painting my co-workers as despicable airheads and my managers as slave drivers just because he has a negative worldview.
William V. Horton
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