I worked for CommuniTech from early summer of 2000 until the spring of 2001, and if they thought employee morale tanked after the sale to Interland, they should have witnessed it when I was there: a newly fired employee every 30 to 45 days; department managers who routinely snubbed customer phone calls; and a frighteningly schizophrenic office mentality, alternately Hitleresque and staggeringly sophomoric, as illustrated by Ryan Elledge's assessment of "Rat Face."
With or without outside interference from Interland, CommuniTech.Net was ultimately doomed by its utter lack of concern for anything but its bottom line and its contingent of "original" hometown employees, which numbered fewer than ten. Everyone else, including the customer, was completely expendable.
Without knowing the criteria by which the Chamber of Commerce judges its Small Business of the Year, I'm hard-pressed to imagine why a group of money-grubbing thugs like CommuniTech.Net would receive such an award. Joe Miller's article seemed to place the blame for CommuniTech's downfall squarely on Interland's shoulders; a view from the inside would tell quite a different story.
It was a love/hate relationship for sure, due to the easy and plentiful cash and colorful but fickle nature of the industry. I knew bouncers who were going to culinary school, "cock-tailers" who were going to med school, etc. I was one of the immature ones, however, and for various reasons ended up back in KC (and I have to tell you, it felt a bit like the end of Goodfellas). At one point, I had the freezer (and closet) full of Camels, as one Camel rep would slide me half or full cartons every night I worked (apparently on the basis of being fellow musicians), which was only three nights a week or so, but when that is all you have to work and you're making anywhere from $600 to $1,200 a week (did I mention it was fickle?), life is good. Now, not so much....
First and foremost, I did NOT write the column; I simply served as Research Assistant to Night Ranger. (And I had a blast, FYI.) Like any journalist, Jen Chen reported what she witnessed. Second, I did not lead Ms. Chen to the now-famous nook o' knob slob. It was LEON (whom you may recall from the article) who led her crotchside into the dark corner's center chanting "Fresh meat!" Not me. And to be quite honest, I rather loathe public displays of affection by anyone.
Regardless, I do apologize (I suppose) to the Dixie Belle for any/all scrutiny this has caused; and maybe more specifically, I apologize to the customers whose latter-day dark corner has become a radiant and now-vacant orb of golden light where no soul dare to swallow.
Hopefully, this will all blow over soon.
David Wayne Reed
Kansas City, Missouri
Tour of duty: Jen Chen was absolutely right -- the mojito at the Cheesecake Factory is out of this world (Night Ranger, December 12, 2002). I felt like I was on vacation in the Caribbean while sipping it. Much to my dismay, other places in town can't compare.
Jen inspired us to start a mojito tour of Kansas City, and so far neither the Grand Street Café nor La Bodega comes close. (Both made their drinks with too much lime.)
Jen, keep up the good drinkin'!
AFI is a great band and a great group of people who have helped us through our hard times by sharing theirs. We appreciate that and love them for it. It's one big family that won't be lost or broken. Thank you for showing that.
Kansas City, Kansas