Letter to the Editor: Considering the Life and Death of Spiffy’s

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My friends on the right celebrated when Spiffy’s stood up against COVID-19 safety precautions enforced by the state while, on the left, they celebrated Spiffy’s closure this past week — seeing it as a retributive atonement for past sins. Friends, we’ve all been scammed.

When Spiffy’s, depending on your perspective, either refused to follow safety guidelines or stood up for its rights, the owners applied for and received two Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP) loans (COVID money) for a total of $374,000. Was that money used to pay employees? I doubt it. Spiffy’s stayed open! Instead, the money meant to help Spiffy’s employees during COVID could have went straight to the owner’s pocket, with the restaurant remaining open. Caught up in the middle of our crazy culture wars, profits shot through the roof as supporters visited the establishment for some delicious pie. (I love Spiffy’s pie, full disclosure. Perhaps that’s why I write this piece. I’m mourning my loss.) During this time, Spiffy’s claimed they were staying open for their employees’ benefit. Fair enough.

Yet, today, where is this consideration for its employees? Spiffy’s doesn’t have to pay back their loan that was supposed to be given to employees. Pure profit.

All the revenue from patrons supporting them staying open? Profit. All the fines that would go to the taxpayers of Washington State? Gone. The employees? Unemployed.

And the worst part? Spiffy’s is blaming their closure on the employees, claiming in a Facebook post they can’t find anyone to work! How about this Spiffy’s: treat your employees better. Offer wages and benefits that are actually competitive. But this excuse isn’t the truth. The real reason is accidentally exposed in the same Facebook post: “At age 81, (the owner) Samuelson says he’ll divest what’s inside the restaurant.” That is, he’s cashing out.

To my liberal friends, we’ve been duped. Spiffy’s closing isn’t a retributive atonement, but the final act of The Spiffy’s Scam. To my conservative friends, we’ve been duped. Spiffy’s argued it was fighting for our rights, but really only cared about their profits. (Typical!) If they truly cared, they’d stay open, keep fighting the good fight, and — most importantly — take care of their employees who are now left unemployed — and blamed for its closure — as the owner enters retirement.

I’m calling it The Spiffy’s Scam.

My sources:

• bit.ly/3jCRjdJ

• on.today.com/3iAF7v0

 

Caleb Huffman

Centralia