Letters from the week of May 10, 2001

Letters 

Letters from the week of May 10, 2001

Card Sharks
Getting carded: Thank you to the Pitch for Deb Hipp's excellent article on the benefits discrimination against gay and lesbian employees at Hallmark ("Doubting the Benefits," April 26). It takes guts to shine the light on the unfair behavior of one of our area's largest employers. Hopefully, Hallmark will soon realize that "diversity" doesn't just mean the repetition of a few pat slogans by management, but rather it means treating everyone, employees and customers, with dignity and equality.

As a Hallmark stockholder, I am displeased with management's refusing to implement a benefit designed to attract good employees. As a member of the community, I am disappointed in Hallmark's lack of respect for equality and diversity. As a human being, I am appalled that Hallmark discriminates against good people because they happen to be gay or lesbian.
Mike Silverman
Lawrence


Halls of shame: I just finished reading "Doubting the Benefits," and I fell out of my chair laughing at the naive comments by Mr. Don Hall Jr. The comments by Ralph Christensen are typical corporate smoke, sent from the non-revenue-producing world of the human resources department. Since one of these gentlemen steers the ship while the other stirs things up, it's no wonder all of the people who create and physically produce the products are tossed off the ship if they make too many waves.

Be careful, all of you diversified people. My wife worked for the Halls for 24 years. She was forced into resigning by the corporate conspiracy to reduce the number of employees with the most benefits, the most vacation days and, last but not least, dependents covered by insurance, especially if there were any long-term health risks.

My wife is not angry or bitter. All she misses are the friends whom she worked with for half of her life. She only regrets that she did not get to attend the reception the company gives any employee lucky to survive corporate layoffs, downsizing, furloughs and discrimination for 25 years. She just wanted the cake! The excuse the powers that be rationalized for her to resign ("She was just too diversified") does not take the cake.

No one in my entire family buys any Hallmark products. Hallmark does not use the "experienced personnel" as anything but targets for human resource headhunting. Hallmark no longer seems to care about keeping the very best. I wish them lukewarm wishes.
Paul G. Smith
Kansas City, Missouri


Casting Call
It's a small world, after all: Regarding Casey Logan's article "Cast System" (March 29): I have been a seasonal cast member with Disney Direct Marketing since September. Never have I worked for a company that is as purely fun as Disney.

We are taught that for a lot of people, the differentiation between Disney Catalog and Disney World is not made. We are Disney, plain and simple. Disney is not just a company. For thousands of people worldwide, Disney is a way of life, a fond childhood memory or a legacy passed on to grandchildren. As with any large company, the employees share in that magic, but it is also our duty to keep the magic alive for the guests.

So someone works for the call center (NOT telemarketing!) and doesn't like it. In that regard, Disney Direct Marketing is no different from any other call center. When there is multimillion-dollar business to do, there is "grunt work." The question here isn't whether Disney makes the work hokey, corny or mundane. It's whether the person doing the work believes in it.

We're Disney. We're the happiest place on earth. Forget the fact that we're in Overland Park and not Orlando or Anaheim. Guests don't know the difference. We're here to do what Disney does best: provide quality customer service and quality merchandise for people who love Disney.

I, for one, go home every night thankful that in some small way I was able to hand a guest a little Disney magic accompanied with bountiful pixie dust. We are, after all, Disney, regardless of what job we perform.
Cathina Johnson
Kansas City, Kansas


Holy Terror
The grape leaves of wrath: Charles Ferruzza's recent review of the Holy Land Cafe certainly was misguided ("Mideast Piece," April 12).

First, just who was doing the review, Ferruzza or his friends? When reading Roger Ebert's movie reviews, for example, I don't ever recall seeing him write, "I thought Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was pretty good. But my drinking buddy Jimbo, who doesn't watch foreign language films, hated it." Did the Pitch pay Jeanne, Bob and Phil for their expertise too? (I especially valued the opinion of Jeanne, the "cosmopolitan eater" who'd never before seen falafel.)

Second, I have to question why the following quote was highlighted: "One of the cooks is Syrian. We are Palestinian. It creates a little tension in the kitchen." Was the Pitch suggesting a Balkanized dining atmosphere where unknowing patrons could face danger? Or was the Pitch merely playing to negative stereotypes to add a sense of drama to a restaurant review that's trying to imitate a travel narrative?

Either way, Ferruzza performed a real disservice to Pitch readers and to the Holy Land Cafe. Contrary to the panel of experts who wrote the review, the food there is excellent.
Greg Melvin
Kansas City, Missouri

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