The Sweetness of Not Doing Much

I just lost my new job at Il Dolce Far Niente Espresso Bar in Wolfville. I was fired for:
1. inquiring into where the manager bought her produce and meat, and
2. for studying at Just Us Café in Wolfville prior to working at Il Dolce.
Let me elaborate. I recently asked the manager of Il Dolce if her products were local. She responded that she buys both local and non-local, depending on price, distance, and other valid reasons. The manager interpreted my question as an attack on the quality of her products. When firing me, she said that our principles are too different and that she doesn’t feel I can sell her product well. She said that I “challenged her” with this question.

This does not make sense to me. Of course I care about eating and supporting local. However, I was not asking to pass judgment on her or disagree with her business model. I was asking to be better informed about the business so I could respond to customer inquiries. Secondly, the manager’s “biggest problem” with me is that I study at Just Us! Café on Main Street, Wolfville. She told me on my final shift that she doesn’t like her employees to go to Just Us! or T.A.N. cafés. In her words, she said “I can’t do anything to stop you from going there.” She then asked me why I go to Just Us! I responded by telling her that I like the atmosphere, that a lot of my friends and peers go there, and that they have free wi-fi (Il Dolce doesn’t offer wi-fi). She said that it’s a free country and I can do whatever I want, but it looks bad on her business if her employees go to other local cafés.

To repeat, this does not make sense to me. In fact, it’s pretty unreasonable. I understand holding similar principles as your place of work, but I have gone to Il Dolce many times before being offered a job there; it’s a lovely café with a peaceful environment and delicious food and drink. Their logo is “the sweetness of doing nothing.” That’s a great logo! I totally agree with that. I totally love what they serve. The quality and service is good. I loved my shifts working there. It’s a smart business model that offers a different experience than other local establishments.

Just Us! is also a lovely café. So is T.A.N.. So is the Rolled Oat. So is Front Street. So is Slow Dough Bakery. Wolfville has a lot of great businesses that offer different experiences and atmospheres. I feel lucky to live in a small town that has such a variety of options to choose from! Except I am apparently not so lucky to have supported these businesses, because that’s how I lost my job.

I had a total of two shifts at Il Dolce. I was offered the position on August 26th. My first shift was September 8. My second shift was September 9. I was fired on September 11. I turned down another job offer to accept this job. I bought $120 worth of clothing for the uniform (one pair of pants, two shirts, and a pair of shoes). I worked 8.5 hours; not even enough hours to pay back what I spent on the work uniform clothing. As many other students can sympathize, I have a very small budget. Losing this job is a blow to me financially.

Unfortunately, under Nova Scotia Labour Laws, the manager of Il Dolce did not do anything wrong either. I was not discriminated against. Because it was such a short period of employment, she was not required to give me notice or reason. Except she did give me reasons, and the reasons she gave were completely unfair. Even though her actions are legally right, I believe that what she did was unethical.

To fire me for going to another café is explicitly manipulative and unquestionably wrong. I was fired for exercising my right to choose where I spend my time and money, and I wasn’t spending my time or money on something unethical. I am asking the readers of this article to reconsider whether or not they want to support Il Dolce Far Niente Espresso Bar. Not because the produce isn’t 100% local. But because they fire their employees for asking simple questions and for exercising their right to study wherever the fuck they want.

Rebekah Hutten

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