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Laziness Is A Business Extinguisher

, , , , , , , , , | Working | January 19, 2023

I work in a small restaurant in South Dakota. The place is profitable — barely — but the building is old and in poor repair.

One day, the fire extinguisher falls out of its designated slot in the wall overnight. We find it on the floor in the morning. The manager grumbles and puts it back in place, only for it to immediately fall out again.

Inspection shows that the bits that are supposed to hold the extinguisher in place are bent and broken. Grumbling some more, the manager fetches some duct tape and tapes it back into place.

I attempt to point out that’s probably a bad idea and almost certainly is not compliant with local safety regulations, but the manager says it’s just temporary until he can get someone out to fix it.

As you can probably predict, no one ever comes out to fix it. Eventually, the tape wears out, and the extinguisher falls again. The manager replaces the tape.

Over the course of about five years, this happens three times. Finally, during a business rush, a waiter accidentally bumps the extinguisher, knocking it down, and it explodes.

White powder goes flying everywhere. It fills up the kitchen. It fills up the dining area. We’re all coughing and choking on the powder. One of the cooks steadies himself against the grill, burning the skin on his hand badly. I’m not entirely sure how he is able to hold on to the grill for such a long period of time while in so much pain, but he basically burns completely through the skin on the palm of his hand.

We have to shut down for the day to clean up, which becomes three days, which becomes a week. Then, the owners announce that they are closing for good.

All because of one idiot decision about a fire extinguisher.

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